Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

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Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Rodriguez
Produced by
Written byRobert Rodriguez
Music by
CinematographyRobert Rodriguez
Edited byRobert Rodriguez
Distributed byDimension Films[1]
Release date
  • July 28, 2002 (2002-07-28)
(world premiere)
  • August 7, 2002 (2002-08-07)
(wide release)
Running time
100 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$38 million[3]
Box office$119.7 million[3]

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is a 2002 American spy action comedy adventure film produced, written, shot, edited and directed by Robert Rodriguez, co-produced by Elizabeth Avellán and starring Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Mike Judge, Ricardo Montalbán, Holland Taylor, Christopher McDonald, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Steve Buscemi, Taylor Momsen, Matt O'Leary, and Emily Osment.

The second installment in the Spy Kids film series, which began with 2001's Spy Kids, the film had its world premiere screening on July 28, 2002 at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. Shortly after that, the film was theatrically released on August 7, 2002 by Dimension Films.[1] Upon release, Spy Kids 2 received mostly positive reviews from critics[4] and grossed over $119 million worldwide.[3]


The OSS now has a full child spy section, of which 13-year-old Carmen Cortez and 10-year-old Juni Cortez have become agents. Even though they were the first of the new Spy Kids Division, they are not considered the top spy kids,[5] and soon they face particularly difficult competition from Gary and Gerti Giggles, the children of double-dealing agent Donnagon Giggles, whom Carmen and Juni helped to rescue in the previous film. It is shown that Carmen defends Gary, and has a crush on him, which strains her relationship with Juni.

At a gala event, Donnagon hacks into the teleprompter which the president was reading from, and is named director of the OSS. A fight ensues when a group of Magna Men arrive and render all adults unconscious. They are after the "Transmooker", a highly coveted device which can shut off all electronic devices. Juni recovers it, but drops it when Gary tries to take it from him. Gary then blames Juni for the loss, resulting in Juni being fired. In his new position as director, Donnagon can carry on with his plan to steal the Transmooker, so he can rule the world.

The next morning Carmen hacks into the database and reinstates Juni as an agent. They take a mission meant for Gary and Gerti to recover the Transmooker. She and Juni use some hints from Alexander Minion, and follow the trail to a mysterious island where all electronics refuse to work. Gary and Gerti meanwhile are sent to the Gobi Desert and while trying to pinpoint their position manage to fall into a pit of camel feces, whereupon they swear revenge. Shortly after arriving Carmen and Juni meet Romero, a lunatic scientist. Romero has been attempting to create genetically-miniaturized animals, so he can make a profit by selling the animals to kids in "miniature zoos." He had an experiment go wrong after pouring growth concoction onto the mutated set of animals. As a result, he is unwilling to leave his lab, out of fear of being eaten.

When Carmen is captured by a Spork, a breed of flying pig, she is dropped into its nest with Gerti, who reveals to her that Gary is genuinely evil. Carmen changes her feelings for Gary after he tries to kill Juni, and she sides with her brother. Romero, having been encouraged by Juni, finds out that his creatures are much friendlier than he thought. Carmen and Juni eventually find and recover the Transmooker, and are surprised when they are joined by their family, who were informed of their disappearance. The group is then confronted by Donnagon, who takes the Transmooker and attempts to use it to destroy the Cortez family, but it malfunctions. Gerti reveals she sabotaged it and threatens Donnagon with telling everything to her mother.

The President and his staff arrive on the island. Donnagon is fired by the President and his daughter, Alexandra; Gary is temporarily disavowed, and Gregorio is appointed director of the OSS by Alexandra on her father's behalf. Even though he is offered a promotion, Juni resigns due to the impersonal treatment he had received by the OSS after being framed. As the Cortez family leaves the island, Romero gives Juni a miniature spider-monkey as a gift, and all the island's inhabitants bid farewell to the Cortez family.

During the credits, Machete has Carmen sing as an undercover pop star in a concert. Carmen says she cannot sing so Machete gives her a microphone which auto-tunes her voice, and a belt that helps her dance. He also gives Juni a guitar that plays itself. After a successful performance, Carmen and Juni return to a shocked Machete, who discovered that he never put batteries on the device. They are shocked to find out they have actual musical talent. As the credits come to a close, Dinky Winks, the owner of Troublemakers theme park, paddles to Romero's island to strike up a business deal.



Spy Kids 2 was filmed entirely on High Definition digital video. After seeing George Lucas using digital video for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Rodriguez tested the technology during re shoots for the first Spy Kids film. Rodriguez used the cameras unfiltered.[6]

Filming sites[edit]

Special effects[edit]

Despite the fact that this film uses over twice the amount of special effects that the first film used, Rodriguez did not ask the producers for a larger budget; he said "...I told the studio I don't want more money. I just want to be more creative".[8] Rodriguez picked some visual effects companies who were eager and less established, as well as starting up his own Troublemaker Studios, and reemploying Hybrid, who had worked with him on the first film.[9] Gregor Punchatz, the film's lead animator, employed a certain technique to make the movements of the computer generated creatures resemble the stop-motion work of filmmaker Ray Harryhausen,[8] who has a cameo in the film.[10] The scene with the army of live skeletons was shot on a real rock formation, with the two young actors on safety wires,[11][6] and the computer generated skeletons added later to over three dozen shots.[11]


Box office[edit]

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams opened theatrically on August 7, 2002 in 3,307 venues and earned $16,711,716 in its first weekend, ranking third in the North American box office behind XXX and the second weekend of Signs.[12] The film ended its run on January 12, 2003, having grossed $85,846,429 in the United States and Canada, and $33,876,929 overseas for a worldwide total of $119,723,358.[3]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 75% "Certified Fresh" approval score based on 134 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Though the concept is no longer fresh, Spy Kids 2 is still an agreeable and energetic romp."[4] Metacritic reports a 66 out of 100 rating based on reviews from 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and commented, "With "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams," the Spy Kids franchise establishes itself as a durable part of the movie landscape: a James Bond series for kids.[14] Kenneth Turan of the New York Times gave it 4 out of 5 stars said, "The movie is a gaudy, noisy thrill ride -- hyperactive, slightly out of control and full of kinetic, mischievous charm."[15] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "The antics are a tad more frantic, and the gizmos work overtime, as if ... Robert Rodriguez felt the hot breath of el diablo on his neck. On the other hand, the inventiveness is still superior and the network of fiends [sic] and family is extended."[16] Michael Wilmington of Metro mix Chicago, noting how Rodriguez borrows many elements from television and earlier films, stated that, "Rodriguez recycles and refurbishes all these old movie bits with the opportunistic energy of a man looting his old attic toy chest -- but he also puts some personal feeling into the movie. This is a film about families staying together, children asserting themselves and even, to some degree, Latino power".[17]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS and DVD in the United States on February 18, 2003. The film is also available to download on iTunes. A Blu-ray re-release was scheduled for August 2, 2011 to coincide with the fourth film.


Music from the Dimension Motion Picture Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedAugust 6, 2002
GenreSoundtrack, rock, pop
LabelMilan Records
Robert Rodriguez film soundtrack chronology
Spy Kids
Music from the Dimension Motion Picture Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars Link
Filmtracks3/5 stars link

The film score was co-written by director Robert Rodriguez and composer John Debney, who had also co-written the score for Spy Kids. The sound is a mix of rock, pop, and indie rock, and includes songs performed by Alan Cumming and Alexa Vega. Unusually, the orchestral score was recorded in the auditorium of a local high school in Austin, Georgetown High School.[18]

All tracks composed by Debney and Rodriguez, and performed by the Texas Philharmonic Orchestra.

  1. "The ball Juggler"
  2. "Spy Ballet"
  3. "Magna Men"
  4. "Treehouse"
  5. "R.A.L.P.H."
  6. "Floop's Dream" (performed by Alan Cumming)
  7. "Escape from Dragon-spy"
  8. "Spy-parents"
  9. "Island of Lost Dreams"
  10. "Donnagon's Big Office"/"The Giggles"
  11. "Mysterious Volcano Island"
  12. "Romero's Zoo Too"
  13. "Mothership"/"SpyGrandparents"
  14. "Magna Racers"
  15. "Aztec Treasure Room"
  16. "Skeletons"
  17. "Creature Battle"
  18. "Romero's Creatures"/"SpyBeach"
  19. "SpyDad vs. SpyDad"/"Romero's Gift"
  20. "Isle of Dreams" (performed by Alexa Vega)

Additional music not on the soundtrack album includes "Aye Como Spy", which is an adaptation of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va", performed by Los Lobos (the song is on the soundtrack album from the first Spy Kids film).


It was followed up in 2003 by a third film in the series, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.


  1. ^ a b "Spy Kids 2 (2002)". American Film Institute. American Film Institute. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "SPY KIDS 2 (U) (CUT)". British Board of Film Classification. August 6, 2002. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. January 13, 2003. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  5. ^ Ingle, Z. (2012). Robert Rodriguez: Interviews. Conversations with Filmmakers Series. University Press of Mississippi. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-61703-273-8. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Fred Topel (August 2002). "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams". Cinefantastique. Vol. 34 no. 5. pp. 46–49. Rodriguez shot SPY KIDS 2 entirely with High Definition digital cameras
  7. ^ http://www.dallasfilmcommission.com/film-tourism/?doing_wp_cron=1498558564.5050749778747558593750
  8. ^ a b Lee, Patrick. "Interview: Robert Rodriguez' spies on the stars of his Spy Kids sequel". Science Fiction Weekly. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  9. ^ Savlov, Marc (August 9, 2002). "Gadgets and Gizmos". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved September 13, 2008.
  10. ^ Soloman, Charles (May 16, 2004). "The man who made the monsters move". SFGate: Home of the San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 13, 2008.
  11. ^ a b "ComputerCafe Tackles 3D Challenges for Spy Kids 2". Digital Media FX. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  12. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for August 9-11, 2002". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. August 12, 2002. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  13. ^ "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  14. ^ "Review by Roger Ebert". Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  15. ^ "Review (New York Times)". Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  16. ^ "Review (Entertainment Weekly)". Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  17. ^ Wilmington, Michael (August 7, 2002). "Movie review, 'Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams'". Metromix Chicago. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  18. ^ Savlov, Marc (September 9, 2002). "Auditorium Scores: The Sound of 'Spy Kids 2'". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved September 14, 2008.

External links[edit]