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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.54%
Worth A Look: 23.08%
Pretty Bad: 7.69%
Total Crap: 23.08%

2 reviews, 40 user ratings

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Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams
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by Collin Souter

"Occasionally brilliant, but lacks the heart of the original"
3 stars

I remember the first time I saw the first “Spy Kids” and the incredible feeling I had upon leaving the theater. I dreaded the release of that movie, but I came out of it completely surprised by its sheer inventiveness, its fun characters, its bizarre sense of humor and its satire on kids shows. The movie came on the screen blazing and never let up. The final frame with young Carmen looking right at the screen and saying the movie’s message left me with a little lump in my throat. This movie not only dazzled me in ways I never expected, but it also knew what it was really about: The importance of family. This movie had heart.

“Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams” has only traces of it. The movie opens with the President’s daughter being trapped on a death-defying amusement park ride that juggles human beings in round balls. The Secret Service call upon the Spy Kids, Carmen and Juni (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara), to rescue her. But two other Spy Kids, the snotty Gary and Gerti Giggles (Matt O’Leary and Emily Osment), also get called in, whom Carmen and Juni look at as competition. For the past year, these kids have been a part of a new Spy Kids organization, and have been doing “small jobs” such as this. This opener never really takes flight and it ends up setting the tone for the rest of the movie.

I don’t mean to say that “Spy Kids 2” lacks imagination or brilliance. It has too much of the former and only moments of the latter. It tries harder to dazzle the viewer with its gadgetry and outlandishness than it does to actually connect with an audience. The original “Spy Kids” dealt with the day-to-day issues of being a kid. It had a great Harry Potter element to it where one day you’re an awkward kid, an outsider. The next, you’re a super-spy saving the world. “Spy Kids 2” opens with the Spy Kids already in spy gear and they pretty much stay that way throughout the movie. This time, I didn’t feel as though writer/director Robert Rodriguez let me in on the magic and adventure. This time, I had become merely a spectator.

The Island of Lost Dreams in itself contains most of the magic. Carmen and Juni take over an assignment meant for Gary and Gerti (They get sent to the Gobi desert). They must try to find an island that has never appeared on radar or maps of any kind and retrieve an object called the Transmooker before the corrupt President of the Spy Kids Organization, Donnegan Giggles (Mike Judge), does. This object can wipe out all the electricity on the planet.

Inhabiting this island all by his lonesome is Romero (a hilarious Steve Buscemi), a scientist who once had it in his head to make up miniature zoos for children. His experiments went awry and now he lives in fear of being eaten by a giant sea serpent or who-knows-what. Meanwhile, Carmen and Juni’s parents, Gregorio and Ingrid (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino), search for their children using a tracking device wired in the children’s mouths. Ingrid’s parents (Ricardo Montalban and Holland Taylor), also spies, tag along to do some backseat driving.

The Island, I suspect, will look cheesy to those who have grown used to the pristine special effects of our current entertainment climate. Rodriguez achieves something quite heroic here. Rather then just trying for a seamless “Jurassic Park” feel, he instead goes for a look that brings us back to special effects of yesteryear. Yes, the skeletons and sea serpents do look cheesy, but in a great Ray Harryhausen sort of way. If you’re a fan of movies such as “Jason and the Argonauts,” “Mysterious Island” or “Clash of the Titans,” you will find much to enjoy here.

The rest of “Spy Kids 2” feels a bit constrained. The two new Spy Kids, Gary and Gerti Giggles, exhibit no charm and come off as merely annoying. I realize that we’re not meant to root for them, but I can’t honestly think of when I ever found children to be good villains. It’s not that I rooted against the two, I just wanted them off screen. Every time they appeared, I felt as though the movie turned into a made-for-TV/straight-to-video sequel to a “Spy Kids” movie and they couldn’t get the original actors.

The movie tries to be about the independence the kids want away from their parents. Ingrid’s parents tag along in order to show where the parents’ over-protection comes from. But why would the over-protective parents teach their kids so much about how ever single gadget works? Why not also encourage them to still be just kids? In the end, of course, they learn that a family must stick together, but one gets the feeling that the message had gotten lost amongst the eye candy.

Believe me, I walked into “Spy Kids 2” incredibly excited. I didn’t have a trace of curmudgeon in me at all that evening. I had heard people say they liked “Spy Kids 2” more than the original, but I don’t know. I felt incredibly detached. Rodriguez has said that he will most likely make a “Spy Kids 3” very soon because, again, he had so many ideas that he didn’t have a chance to use them all this time around. I realize these two kids will be teenagers soon and he wants to move quickly rather than call the third installment “Spy Teens” (yuk!), but I think Rodriguez would do his series a great service by seriously thinking about the story he needs to tell, rather than just the story he wants to show.

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originally posted: 08/09/02 14:06:28
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User Comments

7/27/09 SC A disappointing sequel with a weak plot and unecessary co-stars 2 stars
1/30/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
8/19/06 Beau Best Spy Kids!! on-going action and a great imaginative film 4 stars
6/28/06 joe koski not as good 3 stars
4/01/06 coolgirl i for 1, would rather clean a freshly used toilet than watch this horrible, messed up crap! 1 stars
4/01/06 Mary Clare I would rather clean my toilet than watch this crap! 1 stars
3/31/06 Anthony Feor Terrible 1 stars
9/14/05 Jonathon Holmes lacks the magic of the first film 3 stars
8/06/05 Zack Robert Rodriguez is better than this film. 1 stars
6/14/05 Agent Sands A buried treasure. 4 stars
1/04/05 Steve Michaud A breezy, fast-paced ride, and a worthy follow-up to the first installment 4 stars
12/10/04 Kristina Williams the first one was more fresh than this. 3 stars
9/28/04 tatum Fun and imaginative 4 stars
1/26/04 HorrorScribbler Some good sight gags, lots of cameos. 4 stars
8/28/03 Mr. Hat Lots of fun & GREAT GREAT talent. Yes, Double G does suck a lot of things, doesn't he... 4 stars
8/23/03 Philline carmin's guy was cute!who is he?by the way... 5 stars
8/12/03 Double G this is a piece of kiddie shit. i this is the suckiest thing i ever sucked! Panjabi Mc FUN 1 stars
7/18/03 EZE i pull shits outta my ass with more character than this movie 1 stars
7/17/03 Katie Roberts Bloody awful!!!!! But then again most sequals are!!! 1 stars
6/20/03 jim jay is the biggest fucking faggot i hav ever seen, that cocksmoker 1 stars
3/17/03 Demidenko Stanislav Worth to look. Higly reccomend it to everyone. 4 stars
2/21/03 scott SO BETTER THEN THE FIRST ONE 5 stars
2/07/03 The Lavender and Chartreuse Polka-dotted Unicorn Never a good sign when most memorable line is "You're so full of shiitake mushrooms!" 2 stars
1/31/03 Her Royal Heinie Looses charm of 1st; too muddled and several of the kids are too smartass. 2 stars
1/27/03 alex jay why you gotta suck andrews dick so hard? 1 stars
9/26/02 movie guy A GREAT FILM 5 stars
9/20/02 Timothy Woerner For ages 7 to 10 only, if anyone at all. 2 stars
9/17/02 Jay go to F***** hell Turkish what kinda name is that 4 stars
9/11/02 jessica A GRREAT FILM 5 stars
8/25/02 Turkish burn in hell spy kids, and andrew patrick 1 stars
8/18/02 blakers GREAT 5 stars
8/18/02 Rampage This was worse than watching a episode of Galidor... ugh! 1 stars
8/17/02 Andrew Patrick Spy Kids 2 RUELS ALL SEQUELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
8/17/02 AJ Not quite on the level of the first, but definitely worth while 4 stars
8/16/02 scott YOU ARE ALL WRONF THIS FILM ROCKS 5 stars
8/16/02 Dada This one's too caught up in the gimmicks, with not enough STORY 3 stars
8/11/02 Cibeus My four-year-old was riveted. It's fun seeing it with the kids! 4 stars
8/11/02 J I think I'm going to go with Jim the Movie Freak on this 1, better than the first. 4 stars
8/11/02 spencer worse than the first (and thats pretty hard to do) 1 stars
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  07-Aug-2002 (PG)



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