Best known for his hyperviolent films like “Sin City” and “From Dusk Till Dawn”, “ Robert Rodriguez may seem like an odd choice for directing a children’s film. But in reality, he’s just the man for the job. Rodriguez made these other films by tapping into everything he was obsessed with as a teenager – all he had to do to keep things back was to go back a few years back.
This process has resulted in something unique: the “Spy Kids” movies give the impression that they could have been made by real children. They don’t just have cool spy gadgets – the gadgets look like literal toys, with bright colors, soft curves, and plastic finishes. Many of them also operate on pure childish logic: A communications watch works by unfolding a flip phone, just like a child living in the pre-Apple Watch era would imagine.
This kid-centric design goes beyond gadgets. The “Spy Kids” world is full of the kind of weird creatures that kids jot down in their notebooks, especially Thumb Thumbs. In fact, Rodriguez in fact made imagine Thumb Thumbs at the age of 13 (via Creative Screenwriting). The OSS headquarters is shaped like a giant and impractical “OSS”. The children’s division looks like a playground, while the adults’ division is full of towering platforms. An adult might call it impractical, but “Spy Kids” knows that imagination trumps pragmatism when it comes to children’s entertainment.