installment in the Spy Kids film series delivers the action and
in the way only a truly good sequel can -- by raising the stakes and
the momentum without losing sight of the most important element (i.e.
a good story). This is one of those rare sequels with almost as much to
audiences as the original outing and that is both a delight and
what could have been a one-hit franchise from the extremely gifted
exciting thing about Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is
that the great
setup established in the first film allows for the action to jumpstart
entire film and things are immediately more thrilling. The first film
establish Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) as spies first.
characters had no idea that their parents (played to perfection by
and Antonio Banderas) used to be spies and go on exciting missions.
around Carmen and Juni are much more proficient spies than before and
scene in the film is used to perfectly demonstrate their skills in
out with the bad-guys. Things become a lot more complicated for the
they wind up traveling to an island overrun with countless zany
were created by a mad scientist named Romero (performed by the amazing
Buscemi). Carmen and Juni are also joined by two new Spy Kids:
(Matt O' Leary) and Gerti (Emily Osment) Giggles. They must try and
but these new spy kids pretty much act as a rival group along the way.
this film works so well is primarily because of the fact it serves as
exciting follow up to an already established plot-line. The creativity
the first Spy Kids film was absolutely stellar, but it is here
Rodriguez seems to be having the most fun with the premise (and The
of Lost Dreams is indeed the most thrilling of the entire series
The CGI landscapes and effects have also shown considerable improvement
this sequel and the atmosphere is greatly improved as a result.
pays respect to the works of Ray Harryhausen with the many creature
effects used in this Spy Kids film.
remains an incredible craftsman with the series. He wisely gave his
at adding new elements to the series by implementing a rival spy kids
introducing the spy grandparents of our lead heroes (Holland Taylor and
Montalban), and by taking us into the foundations of the spy
the mysterious happenings of the island full of wonders. Rodriguez
several aspects as the writer, director, editor, producer, director of
photography, score composer (with John Debney), and as a technical
puts forth a great deal of efforts into the creation of effects. This
astonishing and quite an achievement in and of itself. The fact that
product is actually a well made movie is almost icing on the cake
the amount of effort surely put forth into crafting the film.
and Alexa Vega both continue to carry the series on their young
both actors prove worthy of such a challenge. The characters of Juni
are convincing as siblings (as always) and perhaps equally convincing
spies who are capable of fighting for what is right. That's remarkable.
films in and these are actors who are definitely capable of carrying
to even greater heights.
few glaring issues but does occasionally suffer somewhat from not
as much unpredictability and originality when compared to the original.
won't surprise many as it's a typical issue with many sequels. Once you
established some inkling of what to expect the film has to try twice as
be as surprising. Luckily, this is still an exciting enough adventure
satisfy even the biggest fans of the first film. Spy Kids 2: The
Lost Dreams is as satisfying a sequel as anyone could reasonably
after the delightful Spy Kids.
Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is even more impressive than the
for Spy Kids is on Blu-ray (and that
was a notable upgrade as well). The film is presented in its original
ratio of 1:85:1 and it seems pretty clear this must have been filmed
Definition camera. This is a very impressive release PQ wise with
contrast, strong color reproduction, and the image is clean and clear.
the film could look this good in High Definition? It's the perfect way
experience the special effects (which seem improved over the first
film) and to
marvel in the Harryhausen
inspired creature designs. The 1080p presentation is easily going to
even the most critical eyes.
images featured in this review are
from the DVD release and do not represent the High Definition Blu-ray
are two Blu-ray options for Spy Kids 2:
The Island of Lost Dreams: 1) An
edition with only the Blu-ray disc and 2)
an edition including both the Blu-ray disc and a digital copy disc.
audio is equally impressive on this Blu-ray
release with DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound that brings the film to
life. The sonic sound-stage for the film seems built for the action
the number of sound effects used is remarkable. The score by Robert
and John Denby also sounds as silly and fantastic as one might expect.
is also presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish. Subtitles are included
English, Spanish, and in English for the deaf and hard of hearing.
biggest downside to the extras for Spy Kids 2: The Island
of Lost Dreams on
Blu-ray is that there isn't anything new to excite viewers who already
bonus materials created for the previous DVD release. Owners of said
already be pretty familiar with the included materials. This shouldn't
major draw-back though as the material is quite strong and should even
extra is easily the feature-length audio
commentary with Robert Rodriguez. Anyone who has ever listened to
commentary by him should realize how entertaining and informative he
This commentary was no exception. He gives great insight into his ideas
Spy Kids film and about things related to the shooting process.
Rodriguez Ten-Minute Film School gives
viewers a glimpse into how a large number of the special effects were
and done at a budget-level. It's an insanely informative dosage of
easily understandable film-making tips. Anyone who wants to make movies
already does) should consider it worth a look.
Scenes with Optional Director's Commentary is
as it sounds. These are certainly scenes worth taking a look at (some
nearly finished while others are clearly from early stages in the
but Rodriguez's comments makes it pretty clear why each piece was
the final cut of the film.
at Big Bend National Park is
essentially a mini field-trip
like video where someone educated on the park gives a historical
the kids in the film. This was an OK extra but it was actually kind of
to see that some of the kids seemed a bit, well, bored by their history
At least that's how it seemed to this particular viewer.
Gear: The Gadgets of Spy Kids gives a
rundown on the many different gadgets featured in the film and some of
actors explain what their favorite gadget was and exactly why they
the Scenes montages gives
some brief but interesting footage of the
making of the film.
Access 24/7: A Day in the Life of Spy Kids is an
episode of the television series Total Access 24/7, and gives a glimpse
the lives of Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara, the lead actors in the film.
pretty well-edited episode that proves how these kids lives were
pretty normal despite all the adventures had filming these movies.
are included for Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
and for recent or upcoming releases (including the latest Spy
Kids entry - All the Time
in the World).
an amazing sequel to an excellent family
film. Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost
Dreams solidified the original Spy
Kids as no mere fluke and proved that this could be a franchise
Blu-ray PQ/AQ is pretty stellar and the extras are excellent (even if
aren't any new supplements). If you saw and enjoyed the original Spy Kids make sure to see its equally
entertaining sequel. Highly
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.