Evan's Eyes

Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams

It's like a carnival at dusk; the swirling lights and raucous noise are mesmerizing for the first few minutes, then they're increasingly grating and you realize you've stepped in something nasty. Afterward, as you head for the car, you're pretty sure you had fun, but only vague memories and a slight headache remain. Unless you're a kid, of course, for whom the sugar-inspired carnival pilgrimage is a blissful frenzy to be treasured. This film will inspire a similar parent/child dichotomy.

Before you decide that I'm just going to trash this movie, let me say that it isn't a bad carnival ride. I just choked on accepting the premise differences between "Spy Kids" and "Spy Kids 2". In the first episode, Carmen and Juni learn of their parents' secret-agent identities, so everything's new and really cool. As this movie starts, there's this huge organization of spy kids. Now, I'm often the first to defend the suspension of disbelief, but in what twisted reality does a government officially deploy children for high-risk espionage? If you can't buy into the universe where pre-adolescents get über-James-Bond gadgets (with an apparently unlimited budget), life-and-death responsibility, and adults are borderline incompetents or goofy caricatures, then you're going to struggle with this film. I'm virtually a teetotaler, and my biggest regret is that I didn't tank up with a pint of Jack Daniels® for this. With the rational part of my brain suppressed, I would have been free to fully enjoy the nose-picking and camel dung jokes.

I would never recommend the use of recreational hallucinogens (Don't do drugs! Stay in school!), but if someone were to indulge, they should try to peak about 57 minutes into the movie when they release the stop-motion puppets in the psychic, space-altering mythic temple. Properly altered, one could have a religious experience at the sublime wisdom of this surreal island shrine. But if you're sensitive, there are some freaky creatures that will really harsh your cruise. Don't blame me if they come off the screen to get you.

So you've been warned. This isn't the worst family-fare film you could go see. There were things I liked:

  • Carla Gugino is hot. She needs to have more screen time and more revealing outfits.
  • Mike Judge ("Beavis and Butthead", "King of the Hill") plays the bad guy.
  • Tony Shalhoub is great, but for "Spy Kids 3", lose the drug-induced prosthetics and give him a much bigger role.

Your kids will probably love it, and if you actively suspend disbelief (with chemical help, if needed), you might enjoy it too. (And does anyone else find it creepy that the organization they work for is the OSS?)

If you liked the movies below, you'll probably like this one (and visa versa):

  • Spy Kids
  • Home Alone
  • Inspector Gadget
  • Adventures in Spying
Overall Rating: 5 (where 1=Worthless, 10=Fabulous)

Eight-Facet Info Rating, rated on a scale of 0 (None) to 4 (Lots!)):

Humor: 2
Nudity: 0
Sexual Reference: 0
Sexual Activity: 0
Action: 3
Gore: 1
Violence: 1
Profanity: 0


© 2002 Evan M. Nichols