Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost
Distributor: Dimension - Miramax
MPAA Rating: PG (for "action sequences and brief rude humor")
Mom Rating: 4 out of 5
Kid Rating: 5 out of 5
Cast: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Danny
Trejo, Alan Cumming, Cheech Marin, Mike Judge, Steve Buscemi, Ricardo
Montalban, Matt O'Leary, Emily Osment, Bill Paxton, Holland Taylor, Tony
Writer: Robert Rodriguez
Director: Robert Rodriguez
I used to have a rule regarding any movie title with a numeral in
it: Rent the original. It's kind of like making photocopies: each
subsequent generation gets weaker and weaker.
But as the studios become more and more frightened of creating anything
new, anything that makes a buck is destined to become a series. I guess
the goal is to create a franchise, much the way MGM was able to do 40
years ago with James Bond.
And if the producers are true to the movie we loved in the first place, it
can be almost comforting to see the same thing hashed over again in a
So I was eagerly anticipating Spy Kids 2. After all, the first movie was
my favorite family film of 2001.
But it is, after all, a sequel -- and not as good as the original, which
had a wonderful, romantic setup as sheltered children Carmen and Juni
discover that their seemingly boring parents are international spies - and
were in danger.
Granted, it would be difficult for writer/director Richard Rodriguez to
create the same sense of discovery now that the kids are part of the
secret OSS spy organization themselves. So instead, he borrowed from the
tried and true James Bond formula by opening the movie with a
frenetic caper in which Carmen and Juni are called upon to rescue the
President's daughter from danger at an amusement park. When they are
upstaged by rival Spy Kids Gary and Gerti Giggles, the plot careens into
Don't get me wrong: This very fast-paced, busy movie is entertaining
enough, with loads of cool gadgets and special effects. The relationships
between Juni and Carmen and their parents, Gregorio and Ingrid continue to
delight and introducing Ingrid's parents (also spies!) added some fun
wrinkles to the inter-generational interplay. (The cast is superb, with
Holland Taylor and Ricardo Montalban doing a wonderful turn as the
grandparents who never quite cottoned to Antonio Banderas as a
son-in-law.) There simply wasn't enough of this.
However, while I longed for a little less action and a little more
relationship comedy, my 6-year-old was in movie heaven, giggling
hysterically at sight gags involving "camel poop" and gadgets
that can pick noses. (Yes, the PG rating is for "action and rude
humor.") Juni and Carmen had to deal with some scary looking monsters
(which turned out to be less dangerous than they seemed) and a stunning
battle with some enchanted skeletons - but over all, this movie was a lot
less nightmarish than "Scoobie Doo" - and a lot more fun, too.
So I guess I can bury my old rule about sequels where this film is
concerned... at least, until next year. I understand they have already
started production on "Spy Kids 3."
Donna Schwartz Mills took film classes in college and spent 13 years
working in the entertainment industry before "retiring" to
marry a "non-pro" (Variety's term for anyone in any other
business) and become a mom. Today, she's lucky if she can attend two
"R" rated films per year -- but she feeds her movie habit by
dragging her little girl to every family film that comes out, often on
Donna is Webmaster Mommy of http://www.SocalMoms.com,
a new resource for moms in Southern California. She is also the
work-at-home expert behind http://www.ParentPreneurClub.com
and editor/owner of http://www.Family-Content.com.
This article provided by the Family Content Archives at: http://www.Family-Content.com