Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (known in-film as Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams) is a 2002 American spy adventure comedy film written, edited, and directed by Robert Rodriguez, produced by Elizabeth Avellán, and Rodriguez, and starring Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Mike Judge, Ricardo Montalbán, Holland Taylor, Christopher McDonald, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Steve Buscemi, Taylor Momsen, Matt O'Leary, and Emily Osment.
The second installment in the Spy Kids film series, which began with 2001's Spy Kids, the film was theatrically released on August 7, 2002 by Dimension Films. Upon release, Spy Kids 2 received mostly positive reviews from critics and grossed over $119 million worldwide.
The OSS now has a full child spy section, of which 13-year-old Carmen Cortez and 10-year-old Juni Cortez have become agents. They face particularly difficult competition with Gary and Gerti Giggles, the children of double-dealing agent Donnagon Giggles, whom Carmen and Juni helped to rescue in the previous film. It is shown that Carmen defends Gary, and has a crush on him, which strains her relationship with Juni.
After an incident at a local amusement park owned by Dinky Winks where the President's daughter Alexandra deliberately sabotages a thrill ride which juggles its passengers, forcing the Giggles and the Cortez kids to compete in the rescue. Donnagon, who has somehow hacked into the teleprompter which the President was reading from, is named the director of the OSS. Juni is fired after being framed by Gary (who was actually to blame) for losing the "Transmooker," a highly coveted device which can shut off all electronic devices. In his new position as director, Donnagon can carry on with his plan to steal the Transmooker, so he can rule the world.
Carmen manages to hack into the database, and reinstates Juni's level as an agent. She and Juni use some hints from Alexander Minion, and follow the trail to a mysterious island near Madagascar, which is home to Dr. Romero, a lunatic scientist. Romero has been attempting to create genetically-miniaturized animals, so he can make a profit by selling the animals to kids in "miniature zoos." He had an experiment go wrong after accidentally pouring growth concoction onto the mutated set of animals, as a result, he is unwilling to leave his lab, out of fear of being eaten. When Carmen is captured by a Spork, a breed of flying pigs, she meets Gerti, who reveals to her that Gary is not what he seems to be. Carmen changes her feelings for Gary after he tries to kill Juni, and she sides with her brother. Meanwhile, Romero finds out that his creatures are much friendlier than he thought. After fighting pirate skeletons (that came alive after Juni stole a necklace from them), Carmen and Juni, along with the help of their family (who came to the island when they heard their kids were missing), Gerti, Romero and his creatures, destroy the Transmooker, and defeat Donnagon and Gary. Afterwards, Gregorio and Donnagon fight each other, as Gregorio put it, "the old-fashioned way."
Donnagon is fired by the President and his daughter; Gary is temporarily disavowed, and Gregorio is appointed director of the OSS by Alexandra on her father's behalf, while Juni resigns due to the impersonal treatment he had received by agents of the OSS, after being framed. As the Cortez family leaves the island, Romero gives Juni a miniature spider-monkey as a gift, and all the island's inhabitants bid farewell to the Cortez family.
During the credits, Machete has Carmen sing as an undercover pop star in a concert. Carmen says she can't sing so Machete gives her a mic which auto-tunes her voice, and a belt that helps her dance. He also gives Juni a guitar that plays itself. After the performance, Carmen asks Machete, "What, are you surprised your gadgets work?" Machete then tells Carmen, "I just realized, I never put any batteries in this." Carmen is shocked to find out she can, in fact, sing without auto-tune. As the credits come to a close, Dinky Winks paddles to Romero's island to strike up a business deal.
- Alexa PenaVega as Carmen Cortez
- Daryl Sabara as Juni Cortez
- Antonio Banderas as Gregorio Cortez
- Carla Gugino as Ingrid Cortez
- Matt O'Leary as Gary Giggles
- Emily Osment as Gerti Giggles
- Steve Buscemi as Dr. Romero
- Mike Judge as Donnagon Giggles
- Ricardo Montalbán as Valentin Avellan
- Holland Taylor as Helga Avellan
- Cheech Marin as Felix Gumm
- Danny Trejo as Isador "Machete" Cortez
- Taylor Momsen as Alexandra
- Christopher McDonald as the President of the United States
- Alan Cumming as Fegan Floop
- Tony Shalhoub as Alexander Minion
- Bill Paxton as Dinky Winks
- Angela Lanza as Park Public Relations reporter
- Arenal Lake, Costa Rica
- Austin, Texas, USA
- Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
- Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
- San Antonio, Texas, USA
- Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, Texas, USA
Despite the fact that this film uses over twice the amount of special effects shots than the first film, Rodriguez did not ask the producers for a larger budget; he said "...I told the studio I don't want more money. I just want to be more creative". Rodriguez picked some visual effects companies who were eager and less established, as well as starting up his own Troublemaker Studios, and reemploying Hybride, who had worked with him on the first film. Gregor Punchatz, the film's lead animator, employed a certain technique to make the movements of the computer generated creatures resemble the stop-motion work of filmmaker Ray Harryhausen, who has a cameo in the film. The scene with the army of live skeletons was shot on a real rock formation, with the two young actors on safety wires, and the computer generated skeletons added later to over three dozen shots.
The film score was co-written by Robert Rodriguez and composer John Debney, who had also co-written the score for Spy Kids. The sound is a mix of rock, pop and indie rock, and includes songs performed by Alan Cumming and Alexa PenaVega. Unusually, the orchestral score for the film was recorded in the auditorium of a local high school in Georgetown High School, Austin.
- "The Juggler"
- "Spy Ballet"
- "Magna Men"
- "Floop's Dream"
- "Escape from DragonSpy"
- "Island of Lost Dreams"
- "Donnagon's Big Office"/"The Giggles"
- "Mysterious Volcano Island"
- "Romero's Zoo Too"
- "Magna Racers"
- "Aztec Treasure Room"
- "Creature Battle"
- "Romero's Creatures"/"SpyBeach"
- "SpyDad vs. SpyDad"/"Romero's Gift"
- "Isle of Dreams"
Additional music not on the soundtrack album includes "Oye Como Spy", which is an adaptation of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va", performed by Los Lobos (the song is on the soundtrack album from the first Spy Kids film).
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams opened theatrically on August 7, 2002 in 3,307 venues and earned $16,711,716 in its first weekend, ranking third in the North American box office behind XXX and the second weekend of Signs. The film ended its run on January 12, 2003, having grossed $85,846,429 in the United States and Canada, and $33,876,929 overseas for a worldwide total of $119,723,358.
The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it currently has a 75% "Certified Fresh" approval score based on 133 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Though the concept is no longer fresh, Spy Kids 2 is still an agreeable and energetic romp." Metacritic reports a 66 out of 100 rating based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and commented, "With "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams," the Spy Kids franchise establishes itself as a durable part of the movie landscape: a James Bond series for kids. Kenneth Turan of the New York Times gave it 4 out of 5 stars said, "The movie is a gaudy, noisy thrill ride -- hyperactive, slightly out of control and full of kinetic, mischievous charm." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "The antics are a tad more frantic, and the gizmos work overtime, as if ... Robert Rodriguez felt the hot breath of el diablo on his neck. On the other hand, the inventiveness is still superior and the network of fiends and family is extended." Michael Wilmington of Metromix Chicago, noting how Rodriguez borrows many elements from television and earlier films, stated that, "Rodriguez recycles and refurbishes all these old movie bits with the opportunistic energy of a man looting his old attic toy chest -- but he also puts some personal feeling into the movie. This is a film about families staying together, children asserting themselves and even, to some degree, Latino power".
The film was released on Video and DVD in the United States on February 18, 2003. The film is also available to download on iTunes. A 100-minute Blu-Ray re-release was scheduled for August 2, 2011 to coincide with the fourth film.
- One of the gold items Carmen picks up and tosses away in the treasure chamber is the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Robert Rodriguez didn't ask George Lucas to use the idol because he knows Lucas and knows he won't get too mad.
- According to Rodriguez, the theme park at the beginning of the film was originally going to be Disneyland, but Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington was used instead after Disney refused permission to film in their park.
- The scene where Gregorio has a hard time combing back Juni's hair is very similar to a scene from the 1995 film Four Rooms.
- All the rides in Spy Kids 2 that are mentioned by name are computer animated. The Whippersnapper is the Oil Derrick and the NerveWracker was the Dive Bomber Alley at Six Flags Over Texas with computer animated movements, while the Vomiter and Juggler were both completely animated.
- Spy Kids 2 is the second major motion picture shot entirely on digital video instead of film. The first was Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, both of which were released in the same year. After seeing Lucas using digital video for Star Wars: Episode II, Rodriguez tested the technology during reshoots for the first Spy Kids film.
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- A list of the mistakes and continuity errors in this movie can be found here.
- Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams on Miramax.com
- Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams at the Internet Movie Database