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Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Rated: PG
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: August 2002
Genres: Action, Kids, Comedy

*Also starring: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Steve Buscemi, Mike Judge, Cheech Marin, Ricardo Montalban, Matthew O'Leary, Emily Osment, Bill Paxton

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1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
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Review by Harvey Karten
2½ stars out of 4

If you have $100,000 of discretional income lying around and you love to travel, would you use it to finance a ticket to the moon–a journey now being advertised in sections for sophisticated travelers? Here is another option. You could spend less that traveling to the Island of Lost Dreams which, contrary to its name would be quite an adventurous place to be. As shown in Robert Rodriguez's sequel to "Spy Kids," now called not surprisingly "Spy Kids 2," a quartet of prodigious young folks have gone to this place ahead of their parents; in fact, they want to prove that they can solve some mysteries without the help of their elders and find, Hollywood style, that despite the technology at their command, good, old-fashioned closeness to your roots is preferable even to cell phones.

These kids have access to quite a few more gadgets than the ubiquitous cell phones, however, and why wouldn't they? A picture that cost Dimension Films some $37 million to produce features an array of technology that just about any gadget-crazed American could love, making the movie presumably accessible to those over the age of thirty who are taken by their small fry to this event. While the kids in the audience are bound to be exited by all the cartoonist behavior they see on the big screen, there isn't much in Rodriguez's script to draw in the older people. Like the first feature a flimsy tale, this one will be considered a by-the-numbers follow-up by those who have reached the age of maturity, but who cares? "Spy Kids 2" stars a 13-year-old girl and her nine-year-old brother and those are about the limits of the targeted audience.

The story opens on a madman's theme park created by Dinky Winks (Bill Paxton), who treats the U.S. President's spunky daughter to a ride on the kind of vomitorium that used to be found in Coney Island's Steeplechase Park. Apparently the young lass (Taylor Momsen) has pilfered a gadget that the Unabomber would love; a circular contraption with which the world's electricity could be shut down with the touch of a button. Rouge OSS director Donnagon (Mike Judge), whose children are Gary and Gerti Giggles (Matt O'Leary & Emily Osment), opts to retrieve the circular thing in the title island and use it to take over the world. But he hadn't counted on the expertise and enthusiasm of young Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega) and her kid brother Juni (Daryl Sabara) or on their parents Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino). Nor had he imagined fighting off the cloned creatures produced by mad scientist Romero (Steve Buscemi), who oddly does not steal the show.

The movie contains a few obvious in-law jokes, with Gregorio horrified by the sight of his mom-in-law (Holland Taylor) and the kids' granddaddy (Ricardo Montalban). In the end they all get together and realize the importance of family, but not before writer-director-producer Rodriguez, who made his first movie for $7,000, proves that he can't top "El Mariachi" despite the expense of Hover-Shoes (which enable the young spies to fly), Watches (which, Bond-style, can do everything but tell time), R.A.L.P.H (a tiny robot which is improvement over the spiders in "Minority Report"), and a Dragon Spy Ship which can do everything the other gadgets cannot.

The technology used by the spies and villains up the James Bond ante by some exponent or other, at least that of "From Russia With Love," but absent the charm and wit and Pierce Brosnan, this one is strictly for the kiddies. And for them the pic is recommended.

Copyright © 2002 Harvey Karten

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