Set in an era where superheroes are commonly known and accepted, young William Stronghold, the son of the Commander and Jetstream, tries to find a balance between being a normal teenager and an extraordinary being.
Having recovered from wounds received in a failed rescue operation, Navy SEAL Shane Wolfe is handed a new assignment: Protect the five Plummer kids from enemies of their recently deceased father -- a government scientist whose top-secret experiment remains in the kids' house.
Exploring the further adventures of Carmen and Juni Cortez, who have now joined the family spy business as Level 2 OSS agents. Their new mission is to save the world from a mad scientist living on a volcanic island populated by an imaginative menagerie of creatures. On this bizarre island, none of the Cortez's gadgets work and they must rely on their wits--and each other--to survive and save the day. Written by
Anthony Pereyra <email@example.com>
While I maintain the original film wasn't that good, it was still better than this film. Not that 'Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams' is god-awful or anything, it just didn't manage to eliminate the same problems the first film had. That was artificiality! This one felt even more artificial than the first! The visual f/x were fairly were decent in parts but also very fake in others, but the overall artificiality remains in the world of the Spy Kids themselves.
In the sequel, we see an established Spy Kid network which our heroes, Carmen and Juni Cortez (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara), find themselves having some competition from the Giggles children (Matt O'Leary and Emily Osmont) in the field of saving the world. The plot involves the Cortez kids heading to a mysterious island to retrieve a stolen weapon, while encountering genetically mutated (very fake) looking creatures, as well as a scientist named Romero (Steve Buscemi). Now, Romero is falsely advertised as the villain of the film, but from the onset he befriends the pair. Meanwhile, the Spy Kid's parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are looking for them with the grandparents (Ricardo Montalban and Holland Taylor) assisting them in their search.
Now, the problem with sequel is the overall storyline is not as good as the first film. There isn't a moment where I am drawn into this bizarre universe nor am I ever afraid for the characters, or feel they are overcoming major hurdles in the adventure or amongst themselves. It is this sort of artificiality that bothers me about 'Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams'. I've seen plenty of kids movies in my time, and many feel like they are genuinely overcoming a hurdle, or uniting a family rift or having a character reach a point of enlightenment. The sub-plot with the grandparents and Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) just didn't work for me at all, although the outcome was decent, the lead up to it was rather formulaic and uninteresting. Similarly, the father/son rift subplot was extremely tame and bland. 'Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams' also lacked villain power, as if the bad guys were doing their thing for the sake of doing it, rather than establishing some madness behind their methods. The overall plot was generally disappointing.
However, there is some decent moments. The interaction between Alexa Vega and Darly Sambara work very well and they are an extremely likable, but the writing and Robert Rodriguez's direction are just having them going through the motions, and the pacing of the film even seems awkward. Cheech Marin, Alan Cummings, Tony Shaloub and Danny Trejo all return in limited roles to further the plot. Mike Judge, of 'Beavis and Butthead' fame, returns in a bigger role as Donnagon Giggles and their is another decent cameo (which I won't spoil). Overall, for the reasons stated, the film lacks the magic of other kid's films and this is partly due to the artificiality of the story/characters and some of the visual effects.
**½ out of *****!
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