Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)

"Huge New Adventure - Slightly Bigger Spies" claims the tagline for writer-director Robert Rodriguez's sequel to last year's "Spy Kids". And for once, the publicity department isn't telling porkies.

Recalling most of the original cast and adding a few new extras, "Spy Kids 2" delivers everything you want from a sequel - familiarity and innovation in equal measure.

When OSS agents Carmen (Vega) and Juni Cortez (Sabara) embark on their first solo mission, everything goes wrong.

Not only is the mysterious island to which they've been sent full of genetic mutations, but none of their high-tech spy gadgets are working.

Even worse, hot on their heels are the OSS's newest recruits, publicity-craving Gary and Gerti Giggles (O'Leary and Osment - sister of Haley Joel).

Can the Cortez kids save the day - and the world - on their own, or will they need the help of mum (Gugino) and dad (Banderas)?

What's really eye-catching about "Spy Kids 2" is the way Rodriguez crams so much imagination into every frame.

There are more gadgets here than an episode of Tomorrow's World hosted by Q, and the Island of Lost Dreams itself is populated by a host of mind-boggling creatures (a catfish made out of a cat and a fish; bullfrogs that are half frog, half bull; spider monkeys that are... well, you get the idea).

The downside of all this visual flair is that the story doesn't make much sense. Rodriguez's hyperactive script rushes from scene to scene, throwing away these clever ideas as if they'd been purchased in bulk, on the cheap.

But then, it doesn't really matter. With its blend of "The Island of Dr Moreau", "Jurassic Park", and some of the best animated skeletons since Ray Harryhausen's soldiers in "Jason and the Argonauts", "Spy Kids 2" will keep kids of all ages happy. And you'll never throw away an elastic band again.

End Credits

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: Robert Rodriguez

Stars: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Steve Buscemi, Matthew O'Leary, Emily Osment, Bill Paxton

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Length: 100 minutes

Cinema: 16 August 2002

Country: USA

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