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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's some brief gross-out humor in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (most kids will love it) and some tense peril (no one gets hurt). Everything that appears very scary at first turns out to be friendly and cooperative. As in the first film, the movie is outstanding in showing women and Latinos in key roles.
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What's the story?
Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) are back in SPY KIDS 2: THE ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS, and they're now full-time operatives of the spy organization OSS and its new kids unit. After a close call involving the President's young daughter and their top competition, the Giggles siblings, Gertie (Emily Osment) and Gary (Matt O'Leary), Carmen and Juni get the chance to prove themselves and save the day once again. At a big party, the Giggles kids' father is mysteriously appointed director of the OSS, all of the adults are knocked out by drugged champagne, and the all-important Transmooker device is stolen. The Giggles kids are assigned to get it back, but the Cortez kids substitute themselves and are off to a mysterious island. On the island, they have to keep ahead of all kinds of strange creatures and the Giggles. A mad scientist (Steve Buscemi) has been using the island for genetic experiments, and he has stolen the Transmooker. The Transmooker turns off anything that works with electricity, so the kids have to solve most of their problems with the two things that do work -- their brains and the last gift from their gadget-master uncle Machete, a rubber band. He tells them that it has "999 uses, and you have to figure out which one to use."
Is it any good?
Like the first Spy Kids, this is fresh, funny, exciting, and brilliantly inventive. The OSS party scene is simply marvelous, as a cordon of Secret Service agents move from side to side in perfect formation to allow the President's daughter to have enough space for her ballet dance.
It was sheer inspiration to bring in another generation of spies, with the magnificent Ricardo Montalban and Holland Taylor as Ingrid Cortez's parents, far more terrifying for Gregorio than the most powerful of bad guys. The story sags slightly toward the middle, and the part with Cheech Marin (who has appeared in all of the movies made by screenwriter/director Robert Rodriguez) seems awkward and unfinished, as though some scenes are missing. However, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is still a wonderful family movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the President's daughter's feelings about not getting enough attention from her father in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams. What do you think about Juni's advice to her? What do you think will happen?
We see three different families in the movie. How are they different? How do you think Gary's view that "a good spy makes no binding connections wth family or friends" makes him feel as a son? As a spy? If that is your rule, how do you know who to trust and how do you know what is right?
How have Carmen and Juni changed since the first movie? How do both Carmen and Juni and their parents show their need to be independent?
Why was it hard for Ingrid's parents to accept Gregorio? What should he do about that?
- In theaters: August 7, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: February 18, 2003
- Cast: Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas, Daryl Sabara
- Director: Robert Rodriguez
- Studio: Dimension
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action and mild language
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