SPY KIDS 2: ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS
Spy Kids 2 is slightly the lesser of its predecessor, although is by no means unenjoyable. The first film won through the sheer cuteness of its novelty of seeing kids enacting James Bond-type antics and the charmingly over-the-top gadgetry. The sequel lacks have the same originality value and Robert Rodriguez makes the mistake of stripping all the gadgets out of the film for at least two-thirds of the running time. The plot is fairly much the same as before the kids rush into action to stop a supervillain who wants to get his hands on a device; this time the parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) come to rescue the kids rather than vice versa but still play supporting roles. The sequel also lacks the snappiness of the original the scenes on the island in the middle feel padded with creature encounters, especially the skeleton fight, which looks like it has strayed in from another film. [Robert Rodriguez is clearly a fan of Ray Harryhausens stop-motion animated creature features the hybrid creatures are strongly reminiscent of Mysterious Island (1961), while the battle with the skeletons has clearly been conducted as a cheeky revamping of Jason and the Argonauts (1963)].
Its problems here aside, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams is consistently charming. The Spy Kids series certainly displays more creativity than its contemporaneous rival, the Austin Powers series. The gadgets from the watches that do everything but tell the time and the priceless moment when Emily Osment takes to the air with a device that turns her pigtails into helicopter rotors are a great deal of fun. The real fun is some of Robert Rodriguezs cutely wacky surrealism the hilarious image of Taylor Momsens presidents daughter dancing inside a cordon of stony-faced Secret Service agents and Daryl Sabara inviting her to dance where the only style she knows proves to be ballet; or the image of a cordon of black presidential motorcade vehicles all flying in using helicopter vanes. As before, Alexa Vega gives a good performance she is someone that one can clearly see has a career as a teen, if not adult actress, ahead of her.
Robert Rodriguez and all involved went onto make two further sequels Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011). Rodriguez has also made two further unrelated childrens films with The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (2005) and Shorts (2009).
Robert Rodriguezs other films of genre interest are the vampire/getaway thriller From Dusk Till Dawn (1996); the witty teen body snatchers film The Faculty (1998); the graphic novel adaptation/film noir pastiche Sin City (2005) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014); the childrens film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (2005); the zombie film Planet Terror (2007), half of the Quentin Tarantino collaboration Grindhouse (2007); the childrens film Shorts (2009); and Machete Kills (2013), a sequel to his earlier Mexican-themed action film that frequently enters into science-fiction territory. Rodriguez has also produced From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999), From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangmans Daughter (2000) and Predators (2010), as well as developed the tv series From Dusk Till Dawn (2014 ).