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Spy Kids 2

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is both a wonderfully imaginative family film and a perfect example of everything that's wrong with modern filmmaking today.

On the plus side, this film is goofy, fun, free-spirited and more than appropriate for kids of pretty much all ages. (Except the twelve year-olds. Eleven, fine. Thirteen, no problem. But those twelve year-olds are nothing but trouble.)

On the negative side is the plot. It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Sadly, the ongoing box office success of flashy films that make no sense is leading Hollywood to a point where there will be no more scripts. Eventually, digital effects artists will pitch new "CGI sequences" that they've come up with.

"I can create an 80-foot Sea Bass that can realistically fly through Witchita."

"Sounds like we've got ourselves a movie!"

The story of Spy Kids 2--well you tell me if this makes much sense:

You've got your Spy Kids. This time, instead of meddling in their parent's world, they're agents themselves, part of the brand new "Spy Kids" section of the OSS. First, they rescue the President's daughter. Then, after a bunch of evil magnetic men steal the all-important transmooker device, (or maybe transmooger, or was it transmorpher? Heck, let's just call it a Thingy.) The Spy Kids go on a mission. Well, no, first they get expelled from the Spy Kids organization, and rival Spy Kids, Gary and Gerti Giggles, are sent on a mission. But our Spy Kids trick the Giggles and go on the mission instead.

What's the mission? To get the Thingy back. It's on an island that doesn't exist. Turns out there's a really big Thingy somewhere on the island, and that's what the evil magnetic men actually want.

Which makes you wonder why they bothered to steal the little Thingy in the first place.

Everybody who was in the first film is in the sequel, including a couple of completely unnecessary cameos from the first film's villains. (I apologize to Tony Shalhoub fans, but as great as he is, he's extraneous window dressing in this.) Add to that the rival Spy Kids, some Spy Grandparents and a mad scientist.

The sad truth is, you could lose just about everyone other than the two sets of Spy Kids and not miss a beat.

For a film as enjoyable as this was, there are way too many things that don't make a hill of beans worth of sense.

The evil magnetic men steal the little Thingy and return to their lair on the island. Their lair is this cool ancient temple. The big Thingy is located in a cool ancient temple. There's only one cool ancient temple on the island. Why can't they find the big Thingy?

The evil magnetic men steal the little Thingy during an OSS banquet. Tons of Spies and Spy Kids in attendance. They manage to do this by drugging the champagne. Which evil magnetic man was the idiot who forgot that all those little Spy Kids wouldn't be drinking champagne?

At one point, the Spy Kids jump onto some random magnet vehicles. What are they doing there? Do they belong to the evil magnetic men? If so, why are they sitting in the middle of nowhere? Do they belong to the mad scientist? If so, what is he doing with magnet ships?

What does any of this have to do with all the silly beasties running around on the island?

It's at about this point when I realize I'm taking this movie way too seriously.

When one of your leads asks, "Can I have my mustache back?" you have to realize that this is a silly, silly film.

From the opening sequence within the world's most extreme amusement park (with rides that whip the riders about as if they are on the end of a bullwhip, spin them around on The Vomiter, and strap them into a ball and juggle them) to it's rather anti-climactic climax (which includes one of the most "Huh?" character reversals in cinema history), Spy Kids 2 is about nifty, imaginative sequences.

Just try not to notice that the sequences don't add up to an entire movie.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams gets 3 Babylons. Doesn't make a lot of sense, but if that doesn't bother you, it's a pretty fun flick.

Editor's Note:

My head is spinning after editing this review--I don't know whether to fire the SMC or take a nap.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Rated: PG
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Steve Buscemi, Mike Judge, Cheech Marin, Ricardo Montalban, Holland Taylor, Christopher McDonald, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Matthew O'Leary and Emily Osment. Yes, she is Haley Joel's little sister. No, there is no God.

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