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Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

from Film Forum, 02/07/02

And Robert Rodriguez turns in the inevitable sequel to last year's most inventive kid flick: Spy Kids. This one, The Island of Lost Dreams, brings back Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino as the undercover parental unit, but adds Steve Buscemi, Mike Judge, and Ricardo Montalban ("Khaaaaan! Khaaaaaaan!") to the list. In this one, the kids end up on an island where none of their gadgets work. What would James Bond do?

from Film Forum, 08/15/02

Disney isn't the only cultural bogeyman turning to more family-friendly films. Roberto Rodriguez, who made a name for himself with hyperviolent action movies like El Mariachi and Desperado and monster movies like The Faculty and From Dusk Till Dawn, has become an unlikely champion of family filmmaking with the success of last year's Spy Kids. Religious media critics are pleased with the return of siblings Carmen and Juni Cortez in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, but a few voice disappointments.

Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) writes, "Spy Kids 2 has the imagination and energy of the earlier film, but not, alas, the heart, or the wit. The creatures are wackier than ever, the gadgets even more over-the-top. But the theme of family togetherness takes a back seat to inter-family rivalry and workplace ambition, and the slapdash story includes whole subplots … that have no explanation or even plot relevance." Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) offers similar complaints: "The freshness is gone and the sibling rivalry that was so amusing in the original is almost nonexistent here."

Holly McClure (Crosswalk) disagrees: "This movie is a safe bet to please both kids and parents, and it has some redeeming family values to talk about afterward. I like that the family unit is reinforced (especially with the grandparents) and no one gets seriously hurt or injured. It's people like Rodriguez who are changing Hollywood for the better." Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family), Lisa Rice and Ted Baehr (Movieguide), Paul Bicking (Preview), Phil Boatwright (Movie Reporter) Anne Navarro (Catholic News), and Dick Staub offer similar recommendations "for youngsters and grown-ups alike."

Mainstream critics generally praised the film for being solid family entertainment. Few were enthusiastic. Mary Ann Johanson (Flick Filosopher) says, "It's bigger, it's dumber, it's more obvious, it's less fun. It's a sequel. There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes."