a critiQal film review Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)

Plot: Juni (Sabara) and Carmen Cortez (Vega) set out for a mysterious island where they meet a mad scientist (Buscemi), a bizarre menagerie of creatures - and 2 rival Spy Kids. On this bizarre island, none of the Cortez's gadgets work and they must rely on their wits - and each other - to survive and save the day.

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  • ...the whole family should enjoy this second film.

With the success of Spy Kids (2001), a sequel was inevitable. Now, with a third film coming out soon (Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)), I was interested in seeing if Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams could keep the series alive enough for a third film. Could it keep the inventiveness of the original, or would the idea start showing a bit of wear and tear?

The actors were all decently acted, a big plus with so many child actors. There are a few actors that aren’t that good (the president’s daughter, for example), but the filmmakers seem to recognize that, and tried to minimize those roles.

Antonio Banderas seems to have slipped more comfortably into the role the second time as well, showing he does have a comedic side to his acting ability.

Ricardo Montalban was an interesting choice as the grandfather, but he seemed to be okay. Still, I couldn’t help hearing “De Plane, De Plane!” in the background. But, maybe that was just me.

The plot of Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams was a good one. It took the main points of the first, and added a few interesting new ones. The change of scenery was a good touch, since it probably would have gotten old if they had gone back to battle the same villain. They kept all of the characters from the first and added a few new ones, usually a good idea.

It was a nice touch to have Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams give them some Spy Kid competition also. Gary and Gerdi will most likely be around for the third installment as well, and will most likely keep the rivalry going. They also referenced the first film a few times, a nice flashback for those who saw the original. If you didn’t see it, don’t worry. Knowing they are references to the first film isn’t required to understand this film. But it’s still a nice touch.

The special effects are, for the most part, very impressive. The monsters of the island look pretty realistic, for fairy-tale creatures. The gadgets are also very impressive, from the new watches to R.A.L.P.H., a computer “bug” who’s fun to watch. There are a few spots were the wires / computer graphics are somewhat noticeable, especially in the dinner scene, but you’re expecting over-the-top so it’s not that bad. And trust me, R.A.L.P.H. is worth the cost of the rental, all by himself.

All in all, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is a great continuation of the series. It’s enjoyable for pretty much everyone, from kids to adults. Don’t expect realism. After all, remember it’s supposed to be a kid’s movie. But, don’t be afraid to rent it, even if you don’t have kids. You’ll have fun.

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