Main cast: Antonio Banderas (Gregorio Cortez), Carla Gugino (Ingrid Cortez), Alexa Vega (Carmen Cortez), Daryl Sabara (Juni Cortez), Steve Buscemi (Dr Romero), Mike Judge (Donnagon Giggles), Danny Trejo (Machete), Cheech Marin (Felix Gumm), Matthew O’Leary (Gary Giggles), Emily Osment (Gerti Giggles), Ricardo Montalbán (Grandfather), Holland Taylor (Grandmother), Taylor Momsen (Alexandra), Christopher McDonald (President of the USA), and Bill Paxton (Dinky Winks)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
One of the best things about this movie is its ability to evoke the sense of wonder in me. Watching this movie, I feel like a child again visiting my first fantasy theme park. In fact, one could argue that Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is a fun and exuberant tour of the best fantasy theme park money can’t buy.
This sequel to (what else?) Spy Kids continues the adventures of our junior spies Carmen and Juni Cortez. This time around, they encounter some rivalry from fellow junior spies Gary and Gerti Giggles. The initial showdown is held in an unbelievably exciting theme park that ends with our Juni and the President’s young daughter Alexandra doing a kiddie version of The Spy Who Loves Me. Cool.
The big adventures arrives when both kiddie teams race each other to a mysterious island to retrieve a device that can… um, distort electromagnetic beams or something. Anyway, with that device in your house, no radar or telecommunication device can detect you. This device is used by one Dr Romero to ensure his own privacy as he experiments with science to create the best theme park ever. Something goes wrong, and the island is now overrun by strange monsters, as the kids will soon find out.
And what a ride this is! I love the scenery, and I love that flying pig. Seriously, I want that flying pig. The whole island is a perfect kiddie paradise – animated skeletons, maze, lost passages, underground caves, dragons, it’s a veritable fantasia in here. The human cast doesn’t disappoint too: the main kids deliver their roles with aplomb, coolness, and ultra pizzaz. But most hilarious is Mom and Dad, who while trying to save their kids, are far from happy when their Mom and Dad tag along. Dad feels imposed upon and Mom feels like a kid all over again. Heh heh heh.
Incidentally, there’s an interesting – if unoriginal – message in this movie regarding God, heaven, and monsters. It’s a surprisingly adult concept, actually, for a movie that seems intent on invoking the inner child in the audience. Not that that’s a bad thing, really. I like that this movie isn’t all fluff. I enjoyed this movie as a kid, and the adult in me also appreciate the James Bond parodies, the in-law jokes, and the whole humorous take on the mad scientist plot. (This scientist isn’t mad, actually – cool.)
Steve Buscemi doesn’t have much to do here but no matter. The kids run the show, as they should, and they run the show perfectly. If Robert Rodriguez opens a theme park, I’m first in line.