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Bams' review of
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams


Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
Rated PG-13; running time 90 minutes
Studio: Dimension Films
Genre: Family/Adventure
Seen at: Lowes Star Southfield (Detroit, Michigan)
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Robert Rodriguez
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Daryl Sabara, Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Mike Judge, Matt O'Leary, Emily Osment, Steve Buscemi, Ricardo Montalban, Holland Taylor, Danny Trejo, Taylor Momsen, Bill Paxton, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002

(click here to skip to this movie's rating)

I don't mean to sound sacrilegious, but if there was ever a world made in the creator's own image, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams certainly fits that bill. Now if I'd only seen Spy Kids 1: The Explanation...

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
The Spy Kids family is back, along with a few new characters - including sibling spies Juni (Daryl Sabara) and Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega), their spy parents Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino), and their retired spy parents Grandpa (Ricardo Montalban) and Grandma Cortez (Holland Taylor). As if trying to avoid the politicking of new OSS chief Donnagon Giggles (Mike Judge) wasn't enough, the Cortez family has to rescue a secret weapon from a remote island inhabited by mad scientist Romero (Steve Buchemi). But first, the Spy Kids have to get gadget man Uncle Machete (Danny Trejo) to hook them up with better gadgets than he made for rival Spy Kids Gary (Matt O'Leary) and Gerti Giggles (Emily Osment).

Though it took me a few minutes to get acclimated, I managed to enjoy this somewhat silly movie, once I let its campy nature wash over me. On the acting front, as Cortez siblings Juni and Alexa, Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega thankfully failed to exhibit the brattiness that ruins many a kid-oriented flick for me. Steve Buscemi once again delivered as a quirky character with a God complex, though I would've liked his philosophical question to have been explored further. As a thrill rides enthusiast, Bill Paxton's theme park owner made me wish I could find his park ["The Juggler"? "The Vomiter"? Woohoo, where do I line up!?]. And though she threatened to put my teeth on edge a couple times, Emily Osment's striking resemblance to her brother Haley Joel - physically as well as theatrically - was eerie.

Plot-wise, the aspect of this film I found most enjoyable was its running family theme, and its sly way of actually teaching kids a lesson on the value of self-sufficiency. To wit: when the Spy Kids can't use their neat-o gadgets on the island, they have to make do and improvise, using their wits as their sharpest tool. I wonder if that message will be lost on our increasingly computer and gadget-dependent youth.

I had the same initial problem with Spy Kids 2 that I had with Men In Black II: namely, that I hadn't seen the original, and thus spent a lot of time trying to figure out who's who. In the case of MIB II, word is that it was just like MIB but with the main character's stories switched. No such luck with regards to Spy Kids 2; I had to ask my adorable, and very young, niece about the unexplained characters that obviously had come from the first movie. Bless her heart, she tried, but I think I'll have to rent the original Spy Kids in order to get caught up.

That doing so is not a pressing issue for me, leads me to my flashing yellowlight rating for this sequel; I'm not sure that I was hooked enough by the second outing, to make the effort to see the first one. Still, I enjoyed the time I spent watching Spy Kids 2 with my older sister and her two grandkids. The overall message of this movie - that family is very important, no matter your age - is best realized with ones own family; especially when the younger set is around.

THE "ETHNIC FACTOR"    [ObDisclaimer: They Are Not A Monolith]

I would imagine that one of the most rewarding benefits of Robert Rodriguez's having such control over his creation - after all, he not only wrote and directed this movie, he was also its Producer, Director Of Photography, Production Designer, Editor, Visual Effects Supervisor, Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer, and Composer (probably all using a Macintosh!) - is that he was able to make his creation in his own image. And since this is a production with an emphasis on family and family values, it is heartening to see that that image included a wide variety of Latino and Latina actors. That this was all done matter-of-factly, without fanfare, was all the more rewarding to me as a noticer of Things Ethnic. Maybe I'll live to see the day when my Black and other Ethnic Factor section of my reviews, can finally be retired.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is a cute romp that's a bit deeper than at first glance, with an interesting philosophical question thrown into the mix. This is a family flick that families with younger children may especially appreciate...though it probably helps if you've seen the first movie.


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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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Bams' reviews:
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

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