Spy Kids II: Island of Lost Dreams

Description: Slightly larger spies Carmen  and Juni go on a mission to save their careers, the world and spread a little more family love.

Many’s the Saturday afternoon I spent watching Creature features: The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonaughts, Clash of the Titans. I just have to applaud Rodriguez for his decision to make the creatures on the Island of Lost Dreams a la’ Ray Harryhausen rather than the smooth gloss of Computer Animation. It lends itself beautifully to the idea that this is a place where computers don’t work. Where being a good spy is about skill and heart rather than stuff.

And this is a movie with a lot of heart. Like Spy Kids I, the emphasis is on family and the emotional ties that bind us together. Especially nice because our spy kids are getting a little bit older.

Carmen, played by Alexa Vega (who will be a real beauty in a few years), is starting to notice boys, particularly bad boy rival spy, Gary Giggles. Hearing a pre-teen spout the words from so many much older movies, “He’s a bad boy, but I can change him.” is really funny.

Although, really the most heart stringing bit is the pre-romance between Juni, played by Daryl Sabara, and  the President’s tiny daughter Alexandra, played by Taylor Momsen. Early in the movie there is a delicious scene where Alexandra stands surrounded by shifting secret agents. They pull back to reveal a little princess in a tutu. A child version of the secret agent asks woman scene ensues. Except here, instead of only dancing Lambada or tango or waltz, she only dances ballet. “What a coincidence.” and they dance ballet. It’s scene that manages to be sweet without being saccharine, and to anyone who has ever overdosed on Bond, really funny.

And seriously getting Ricardo Montalban to play grandfather is just a brilliant stroke. 

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