HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
   
 
  Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams More Spy-Jinks from the Diminutive Dynamos
Year: 2002
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Steve Buscemi, Mike Judge, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Matt O'Leary, Emily Osment, Ricardo Montalban, Holland Taylor, Alan Cumming, Taylor Momsen, Christopher McDonald, Bill Paxton
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: On a visit to Dinky Winks' famous Troublemaker Amusement Park, Alexandra (Taylor Momsen), daughter of the President of the United States, ends up imperiled atop the Juggler Ride. Spy Kids Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) spring into action only to end up upstaged by rival duo Gary (Matt O'Leary) and Gerti Giggles (Emily Osment). To add insult to injury Gary and Gerti's father Donnagon Giggles (Mike Judge) snags the top job of director at OSS away from Gregorio Cortez (Antonio Banderas). Then when the banquet dinner erupts into a battle between Spy Kids and the mysterious Magnet Men, poor Juni ends up losing the "Transmooker" a highly coveted device that can shut down electronic devices around the world. Juni is promptly demoted but Carmen hacks into the OSS system enabling them to snag a top assignment from Gary and Gerti. So the Cortez kids trace the stolen device to the Island of Lost Dreams where eccentric scientist Romero (Steve Buscemi) lies trapped by his own mad mutant animals.

For the sequel to Spy Kids (2000) one-man-band auteur Robert Rodriguez adopted a throw everything at the screen and see what sticks approach, evidently indulging every crazy idea he had. The results are, perhaps inevitably, hit and miss with the elaborate plot boasting bucket loads of clever concepts but still largely secondary to the spectacle. Though the sequel is more interested in wowing the kids with gadgets and monsters than browbeating the same moral messages from the first film the finale does make a clumsy attempt to revisit those themes. A subplot wherein Gregorio struggles to earn the approval of Ingrid's (Carla Gugino) frankly overbearing parents, played by Holland Taylor and a hi-tech wheelchair-bound Ricardo Montalban, falls flat whilst the film strangely downplays a jarring plot twist where one of the established good guys turns out to be a villain.

An abundance of gadget related digressions render the plot meandering and surprisingly stilted in parts but in those moments when Rodriguez is cooking on all eight cylinders Spy Kids 2 packs enough off-kilter invention, energy and charm to fuel a dozen children's films. The opening scenes at Troublemaker Amusement Park (named after Rodriguez's production company) showcase the kind of death-defying rides kids dream of and parents dread along with a gregarious performance from the great Bill Paxton that really should have been utilized further. Rodriguez crafts an array of amusing comic set-pieces, not least the epic scrap between the Magnet Men and an entire army of Spy Kids, and eye-catching effects sequences notably the scene-stealing antics of R.A.L.P.H., Juni's cute spider-like robo-pet. Once the action hits the Island of Dreams, where Steve Buscemi proves another agreeably eccentric presence, the film turns into an elaborate homage to the stop-motion fantasies of Ray Harryhausen. Aside from the obvious allusions to Mysterious Island (1961), Rodriguez stages a swordfight with skeleton warriors a la Jason and the Argonauts (1963) while the Spider-Monkey recalls the Troglodyte from Harryhausen's Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). Plus there is a genuinely disarming philosophical moment when Buscemi's Dr. Romero ponders whether God hides in fear from his creations much as he now does from his giant monsters.

Ultimately the film what the film lacks in coherence it makes up for with quirky charm even as it stumbles over itself trying to work out what, if anything, the moral of this particular fable is meant to be. Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara remain an engaging double act and future Disney actress and singer Emily Osment puts in an effective turn with her memorable propeller pigtails. Vega was trying to launch a singing career at the time, hence Rodriguez shoehorns a scene over the end credits where Carmen performs a pop song to a crowd of screaming tweens. Speaking of singers, sweet little Taylor Momsen grew up to be the Heavy Metal sex goddess frontwoman of The Pretty Reckless. Hard to believe a decade after this movie she was performing onstage with an upside down crucifix painted on her naked body with an arrow pointing to her crotch, but more power to her.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1648 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Robert Rodriguez  (1968 - )

Hip, hard-working American film maker, a former cartoonist, who directs, produces, writes and edits most of his movies. El Mariachi worked wonders on a tiny budget, and since then he's made Desperado, the only good segment of Four Rooms, gangster/vampire horror From Dusk Till Dawn, teen sci-fi The Faculty, kiddie adventure quartet Spy Kids, Spy Kids 2, Spy Kids 3-D and Spy Kids 4-D, semi-sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Frank Miller adaptation Sin City (which gained a sequel nine years later). He next teamed up with Quentin Tarantino for double feature Grindhouse, and although it flopped it did spur him to beef up the fake trailer Machete, featuring the Danny Trejo character from the Spy Kids movies, a sequel Machete Kills following soon after. James Cameron gave him Alita: Battle Angel to play with, but the results muffled his flair.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: