Spy Kids 2 - Island of Lost Dreams review by The Grim Ringler

Spy Kids 2 - Island of Lost Dreams

Its hard not to admire Robert Rodriguez. To a degree, he can do whatever kind of film he wishes he is a very good, very smart, very economically sound director yet he decided to make kids movies, and not just any kids movies, but neat ones. Cause lets face it, a lot of the movies that come out for kids are just crap. They are pandering, stupid, juvenile things that were thought up by suits. Rodriguez movies are fun, silly, neat kids movies that are a throw back to the fun adventure movies they made for kids in the earlier days of Hollywood. The kinds of things that Lucas emulates and to a great degree to his own peril but never quite re-invents. Rodriguez has with his Spy Kids films. Yes, they are far from movies for everyone, I mean, they are kids movies, but they are done with so much joy and are so silly and fun, its hard not to at least appreciate them for what they are.

Island of Dreams picks up not long after the first Spy Kids film, with the kids on the title Juni and Carmen fighting it out with the Giggles, a young spy twosome that are always competing with J and C to get all the glory. Now shortly after the Spy Kids save the presidents daughter there is a meeting of the OSS the spy organization everyone works for where it is thought that Daddy Cortez Antonio Banderas will be named the chief of the OSS but during the presentation (in which old pops is passed over, doh!) all of the adult spies are knocked out with spiked adult beverages and its up to the Spy Kids about twenty of them to save a mysterious device called the Transmooker. During the melee the bandits get away with the odd device and Juni is blamed for its loss, thus getting him fired from the OSS. Knowing Juni was set up, he and his sister Carmen head off secretly to find out where the Transmooker is and who stole it. In so doing the kids wind up on a strange island that seems isnt on any map and that seems to be inhabited by strange, hybrid creatures. But as Juni and Carmen are searching the island for the Transmooker, their rivals arrive on the scene looking to find the device first, and to get rid of the Cortez kids once and for all. What all four kids find though is that the island itself is far more dangerous than they are to each other, as it has become a geneticists private zoo of hybrid monsters that have gotten loose and are stalking the island and protecting the Transmooker. When Juni and Carmen realize just what the Transmooker can do though, and who is after it, they have no choice but to find it and stop the people bent on world domination. If they can get there first

Sadly, I didnt like the second Spy Kids movie as well as I liked the first, but I think that it was just that it wasnt as fresh to me. And maybe cause they were trying to do SO much with the film that you lose the pure wonder that the first film had. And while Rodriguez did some wonderful things with a very meager budget, the films special effects, while not bad, are not so good that you buy into everything, thus leaving you a bit cold to some sequences. It all just makes you wish theyd had a little bit more money and a bit more time to make everything feel a lot smoother. What DOES work though is the heart of the film, which is really why the film works as a whole. There is such a love of film, and of the films of stop-motion master Ray Harryhausen that its hard not to get a little nostalgic watching scenes such as when Juni and Carmen battle a horde of skeletons, or when two giant creatures battle each other with two of the children on their backs. Its a shame they didnt really use stop-motion for these scenes, but the spirit of them is still there and makes them really fun to watch. And its neat to see so many really good actors just having a ball with this film, and that, sadly, seems to be a rare thing these days.

This DVD edition is much better than that of the first and features a commentary by Rodriguez, deleted scenes, a couple documentaries, and some other odds and ends. Its always fun to hear a Rodriguez commentary because he really cares about his movies and hearing him is like taking a filmmaking class, and the rest of the disc, while not exhaustive, is pretty well put together.

The disc looks good and generally the sounds pretty good, though the sound is far from overwhelming. The biggest distraction would be that some of the digital effects look JUST like what they are- digital effects. But if you buy into the movie, you wont quibble too much over that.

All in all this is a really fun, if not perfect, movie. If I were a kid Id like to think I would love it, but heck, I am an adult and still think its pretty nifty so that says something. Its corny, its silly, its odd, and it is far from highbrow or high-tech, but what it really is is sincere and fun. A very good popcorn kind of movie.


7 out of 10 Jackasses

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