"High-Tech Fantasy Mission for Young People"
SPY KIDS 2: THE ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS is a great family action movie with lots of spice.
This SPY KIDS sequel opens with a hilarious scene of a horribly dangerous amusement park, where the owner (Bill Paxton) is proudly giving the president’s daughter a tour. The park includes such rides as “The Juggler,” where riders are strapped into a ball on a scary, multi-armed clown that spins and juggles them in the air. The president’s daughter, who has stolen a secret cloaking device (which could destroy the world, of course) from her father’s office, tries to get her dad’s attention by stranding herself at the top of a ride, but the president does not come to the rescue.
The secret service calls in the help of Juni and Carmen Cortez, who use high-tech gadgets to ascend the ride and rescue the girl. Just as they’re about to succeed, however, two rival spies, Gary and Gertie Giggles, steal the glory for rescuing the girl and the device. The Giggle Kids’ dad, Agent Donnagan (once turned into a Flooglie and saved by the Cortez family), is promoted to become head of the O.S.S., and the Cortez family is demoted. Juni is even stripped of his ranking.
The children are disappointed and have a good talk with their parents about the unfairness of it all and their desire for bigger, better assignments. Insult is added to injury when they find out that the Giggle kids have been assigned to a really big mission of going to a faraway, monster-filled island and retrieving a “bigger and badder” cloaking device (“transmoker”) from some very bad guys. The children decide to hack into the master computer, reinstate Juni as a Level Two spy, and reassign themselves to this dangerous mission.
With inadvertent help from the gadget master of the OSS, Felix, played by Cheech Marin, and two characters from the original SPY KIDS (Floogle and his cohort, Minion), the children set off for the adventure of a lifetime on a scary island filled with many strange monsters, moving skeletons, a fearful, imprisoned scientist, treasures, and bad guys.
SPY KIDS 2 has some truly fun elements. The opening at the theme park is hilarious, and writer/director Rodriguez’s winning humor is evident in many other spots. At one point, the family attends a formal dinner party where a boy asks Mr. Cortez if he can dance with his daughter. Cortez replies, “Can you dance, young man?” The lad answers, “I can.” Cortez asks, louder, “Can you tango?” “Yes.” “Can you Mamba? . . . Can you Cha Cha? . . . Meringue? . . . Samba?” Then, very seriously, “Can you waltz? Then do it!” The poor guy gives it his best as Cortez laughs with his son from the sidelines.
The worldview in SPY KIDS 2 is generally moral and honoring of parents and grandparents, (including Ricardo Montalban in a wheelchair), but there are also elements of disrespect and independent decisions where the children do not consult their parents and even go so far as to illegally hack into the OSS computer. This becomes so prevalent that some viewers might be thinking “spy brats” at certain points in the story.
The scientist in the movie acknowledges God and His creation and wonders wrongly if God is sometimes fearful, like him, to go down and meet with those He’s created . . . afraid of what He’s made on earth. There is talk of getting the parent’s blessing on a marriage, and there is victory that comes with family unity.
The objectionable parts include the scary and usually occult-related elements of moving skeletons and a reference to a mind control class for the spy kids. There is also one room in a cave on the island where only telepathic communication works. However, the friendly mad scientist on the island says that there is no magic, just science, and that he created everything on the island.
The other problem is that the moving skeletons are poorly explained. (Even so, as one perceptive teenager pointed out to our publisher, Dr. Ted Baehr, the skeletons were the scientist’s guards for the “transmoker.”) Even so, these skeletons, as well as some of the monsters, will provide bad dream material for children under the age of seven or eight. Parents should be discerning enough to leave the very little ones at home.
Otherwise, Rodriguez has created a fun, clean movie that promotes the family, portrays the Spanish family in a wonderful light, and excites the senses with every conceivable form of high tech gadgetry while pointing out that it is people, not gadgetry, that solves the problems life presents. The discerning Media-Wise Family™ will enjoy the discussion that SPY KIDS 2 evokes.
The acting in SPY Kids 2 is terrific. Antonio Banderas is very gracious and humble, sometimes humiliated by his children and his in-laws, but always ready to give, forgive, love, and risk his life for his family, even if they reject him. The script, too, is better than the original with more of a story arc and tighter dialogue. The amazing thing about this movie is that writer, director, producer, editor, production designer, director of photography, re-recording mixer, and composer Robert Rodriguez created a bigger, better and bolder movie in his garage – with the help of his family. Rodriguez is a true auteur with a wonderful family vision. His success with digital videography and garage editing opens the door for many others outside the Hollywood system to make great movies.
Best of all, a close friend of MOVIEGUIDE® helped produce the movie and said that every morning the cast and crew assembled for prayer, because many of the key members of the cast and crew are Christian. Thus, in the final analysis, at its heart, SPY KIDS 2: THE ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS presents dreams to grow on – dreams of love, self-sacrifice and family, not wanton selfishness. In fact, at the end of each movie the selfish villains are given another chance! As some of the children noted who saw the screening, in the end there are no bad guys in SPY KIDS.
(BBB, C, Ab, H, O, L, VV, M) Generally redemptive, very strong moral worldview with a high emphasis on the importance of the family (including grandparents) and a few positive as well as humorous references to God and His creation, with some humanist, but rebuked, thoughts about the scientific mind and inventions of man being of greatest importance and some borderline occult elements including a reference to mind control classes for the kid spies balanced with a statement that there is no magic, just science; only three obscenities and some scatological humor such as falling into camel dung, vomiting and a machine picks boy’s nose; violence includes fighting between spies, monsters and spies, monsters, and skeletons created by scientist attack children; and, disrespectfulness and disobedience to parents, lying, betrayal, and illegal computer hacking.
In SPY KIDS 2, some very bad guys are holding a powerful device on a mysterious island, and only young spies can retrieve it. With help from their loving parents and grandparents and two characters from the original SPY KIDS (Floogle and Minion), the children set off for the adventure of a lifetime on a scary island filled with many strange monsters, moving skeletons, an imprisoned mad scientist, lots of treasures, and villains.
SPY KIDS 2 has some truly fun elements. The opening sequence is hilarious. Writer and director Robert Rodriguez’s winning humor is also evident in many other spots. The worldview in SPY KIDS 2 is moral and honoring of parents and grandparents, though there are also elements of independent decisions by the children, which are rebuked. There are also some borderline scary elements in the movie though science, not magic, is the source of the monsters. Otherwise, Rodriguez has created a fun, clean movie that promotes love, self-sacrifice and family, portrays the Spanish family in a wonderful light, and excites the senses with every conceivable form of high tech gadgetry. At its heart, SPY KIDS 2 presents dreams to grow on.