ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  robert rodriguez

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  children

LENGTH  -  99 minutes

RELEASED  -  7 august 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  paramount pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  dimension films

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $30,000,000
spy kids 2 - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from spy kids 2 at

buy the dvd from spy kids 2 at

the spy kids newest mission takes them to a mysterious island with strange animals and a mad scientist.

this is the third film on which antonio banderas and robert rodriguez have worked together.


picture from spy kids 2

picture from spy kids 2

picture from spy kids 2


two out of four possible stars

Robert Rodriguez has a knack for creating a children's film that includes a little bit of humor, a good message for young viewers, and some jokes interesting enough for the older folks. He did it once in the first Spy Kids movie. And he's done it again in Spy Kids 2 - The Island of Lost Dreams. While the title may be long, the picture itself certainly isn't, and with the charm this movie exudes, this film is a nice charming summer-time romp. It's both outright funny and humorously self-deprecating, and is remarkably free of crass humor that inevitably teaches children nasty habits that annoy their parents.

But the comedy in this film isn't childish. It borders on the cheesy sometimes, but that's probably part of its purpose, in making fun of the spy film genre. Indeed, Antonio Banderas's hilarious portrayal as Gregorio Cortez, the Spy Kids' father and all-around super spy is further evidence that he can play such a wide variety of roles. He's acted in many dramas and action films in the past decade, but in Spy Kids he definitely shows that he has a comedic streak. And Carla Guigino, who plays his wife, though she doesn't have as many humorous lines, was cast well in this film. She can play the devoted mother and super-spy with equal ability.

And the title stars of this film, Alexa Vega, playing "Carmen," and Daryl Sabara, playing her little brother "Juni," are quite likeable actors and make their sibling rivalry, and friendship, very real. It is a testament to all these actors' abilities that such improbable situations can become so real, simply because it is easy to believe in these characters. Part of that believability comes from how Rodriguez isn't afraid to put a little mush into his Spy Kids movies. The theme of family is probably the strongest sentiment in this series.

However much the siblings fight, it is nice to see them work together to achieve their goals. This aspect is probably one of the most important in recommending this film to young viewers. Parents would be well advised to take their children to this film, knowing that the lessons learned are important ones. And the idea that family is the most important element in life isn't shoved down the audience's throat either. It's merely the thread that binds together some very funny scenes. Therefore, it's an easy pill to take. The entire film crew should also be complimented here on creating a sequel that, while it probably had a larger budget, included the same sentiments of the first.

And, truth be told, though that first film had more of an intimate feel, with a smaller cast, most of the humor present in that first film has carried over to the second. Which is probably the result of some well cast actors who had a more than competent director at the wheel. The addition of several cast members for this ride, including a white-washed blond duo of rival "Spy Kids," played by
Matthew O'Leary and Emily Osment, makes for more of an ensemble feel. Steve Buscemi makes a hilarious turn as the resident nutcase, the mad scientist bent on making animal creations like spider-monkeys (an animal with the head of a monkey and the body of a spider) for profit.

Something which may be overlooked in this film is the way such an international cast was put together without race being the first thing on the screenwriter's mind. The Cortez family is obviously Spanish, and Carla's roots seem to be Mexican, with Ricardo Montleban playing her father. Ironically, the only line in the film that makes fun of any one ethnicity, is after having heard Antonio's character say something, Ricardo mentions that he can never understand the man anyway. This is ironic, considering Ricardo has an accent himself. The focus on values that affect every type of family, rather than how a Spanish family deals with being Spanish allows this film to be much more innocent than many Latin influenced offerings.

This film seems to be much smarter than the usual mainstream children's flick, though from most reports, Robert Rodriguez puts his scripts together in record time. Something that makes the film entertaining for older viewers is the constant satirizing of spy films and action movies throughout it. For example, one particularly funny scene includes two very obvious references to Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Lord of the Rings. And there are other, more hidden tributes to past films all throughout Spy Kids 2. Overall, this film is a better than average sequel with a great cast and some genuinely funny moments. It is never so childish that parents will dread taking their kids to the film, though it is an exceptional children's movie.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs dimension films 2002
home | archive | ratings | links | photographs | about | contact