Say what you will about the films of Robert Rodriguez, which have varied in quality pretty drastically since El Mariachi put him on the map in the early 1990s, but the guy obviously has a boundless passion for making movies. He also has a passion for pulling back the curtain to reveal the process of filmmaking, which results in the experience being demystified and younger generations being presented with practical knowledge they may not have been able to easily access otherwise.
Netflix recently released a new Robert Rodriguez superhero film called We Can Be Heroes that’s aimed squarely at children, and the streamer has since released a featurette with the director describing how the visual effects were accomplished. Behind the scenes featurettes are commonplace, but this one’s different – it isn’t explicitly stated in the video, but this one seems specifically designed so kids can learn some of the secrets about how filmmaking works.
We Can Be Heroes Featurette
Most making-of featurettes are aimed at adults and assume those viewers already have a foundational understanding of the basics of filmmaking. This one appears to be aimed at the generation of kids who’ve grown up making movies with phones in their hands and who may be inspired to make something bigger and more complicated. Rodriguez narrates the video, explaining his thoughts and methodology behind each of these big moments in his movie in a way that does not sound condescending – he’s meeting younger audiences on their level, and imparting knowledge that could help them unlock new levels of creativity.
It’s the same thing he did with Rebel Without a Crew, his 1995 nonfiction book which chronicled in great detail how Rodriguez made El Mariachi and how he raised the money to get the project off the ground (he participated in medical studies and sold his own plasma). This video has that same generous spirit to it, that same “I made it through the door, and now I’m going to hold it open for you to follow me instead of slamming it shut again” vibe that flows through his Ten Minute Film School series of bonus features that are found on many of his movies.
Again, I’m not saying Rodriguez is the best director in the world. But he clearly had an influence on the generation of independent filmmakers who came after him, and it’s cool to know that he’s still interested in passing on what he’s learned to an even younger generation that’s coming up now.
We Can Be Heroes is streaming on Netflix.
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