Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)

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Released 16-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-10 Minute Film School
Featurette-A new kind of stunt kid
Audio Commentary-director
Deleted Scenes-8
Music Video-Isle of Dreams
Featurette-School at Big Bend National Park
Featurette-Essential Gear
Featurette-Behind-the-scenes Montages
Featurette-Total Access 24/7
Gallery-Stills
Gallery-Art
Teaser Trailer-1:32
Game-Transmooker Trouble
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 95:49
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (85:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Rodriguez
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Antonio Banderas
Carla Gugino
Alexa Vega
Daryl Sabara
Mike Judge
Ricardo Montalban
Holland Taylor
Christopher McDonald
Danny Trejo
Steve Buscemi
Emily Osment
Matt O'Leary
Taylor Momsen
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Robert Rodriguez
John Debney


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, lots! Keep watching...

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams is the movie that Robert Rodriguez wanted to make (he claims) when he made the original Spy Kids. I don't know if that's really true, but it sounds good.

I kinda liked the first film, but it did take a while setting up the situation. That's something this film doesn't have to do. It hits the ground running, and never stops. It's emphatically targeted at an audience of children (so how come the PG rating?), but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy it (it appeals to my childish nature).

All the characters from the first film return, which is good, and there are plenty of additions, including another generation to the Spy Kids family. Now, as well as Juni (Daryl Sabara) and Carmen (Alexa Vega) having their parents Gregorio (Antonia Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino) around, they have to contend with their grandparents (Ingrid's parents), Grandpa (Ricardo Montalban) and Grandma (Holland Taylor).

The biggest change from the first film is that Juni and Carmen are no longer the only spy kids. Now there's a whole Spy Kids organisation. Juni and Carmen are top agents, but they have competition: Gary (Matt O'Leary) and Gerti (Emily Osment yes, she's Haley Joel's sister, and there's a strong family resemblance) Giggles, the children of Donagon Giggles (Mike Judge), who is Gregorio's big rival for head of the OSS.

This movie is filled with gadgets it makes James Bond look completely gadget-free. I don't think there's a single scene without CGI somewhere. It's done really well, but with an ever-present self-deprecating humour. That's one of the best aspects. It gently sends up a number of other films, including Jurassic Park.

One term you should know before seeing this film is 'chimera', meaning a fantasy creature comprised of parts of different animals, such as a combination of a spider and monkey. I was amused to see an island filled with animals created by Dr Romero (Steve Buscemi). Do you think that's supposed to suggest Dr Moreau, perchance? There are a number of jokes in the chimerical animals (try describing them aloud) the only one I don't get is the kangaroo combined with a tortoise.

Robert Rodriguez would have to qualify as a true auteur. In this film he takes credits as director, director of digital photography, writer, editor, and producer, but he is also responsible for most of the composition (John Debney helped out), as well as production design. I'm sure he took other roles, too.

This is an excellent example of a sequel that surpasses the original. This movie is a lot of silly fun recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

This movie was shot on high definition video (1080p24). It looks fabulous it certainly doesn't look shot-on-video. Robert Rodriguez explains (repeatedly) several of the advantages of shooting on video during his commentary.

The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical ratio was 1.85:1 when screened from film, and 1.9:1 when screened digitally. I don't know if it was ever screened commercially using digital projection.

The picture is fairly sharp and clear. Shadow detail is excellent. There's no significant grain. There's no low level noise.

Colour is excellent, and plentiful many of the gadgets are vividly coloured in intense solid colours. There's no colour bleed or over-saturation.

There are no film artefacts (no film, remember?). However, there's an odd red patch at 71:12 that lasts for a number of frames it could be an optical effect.

The only subtitles are English and English for the Hearing Impaired I watched the latter. They are close to word-perfect, well-timed, and easy to read.

The disc is single sided, RSDL; the layer change is at 85:05. It is in the middle of a scene, and horribly obvious a shame to spoil what is mostly a very good transfer with a lousy layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

There is only one soundtrack, in English Dolby Digital 5.1. This is a good example of surround sound mixing.

The dialogue is clear and comprehensible throughout. There are no obvious audio sync glitches.

The score was written by Robert Rodriguez (where have I heard that name before?) he wrote all the themes, and much of the music, with John Debney stepping in to handle some of the most complex scenes.

The surrounds are frequently active with directional sound, and fill in at other times with some decent ambience and some score. The subwoofer is not neglected either there's plenty of scope for it to shine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

The menu is animated with transitions and sound. There's one transition (of skeletons applauding) that we get to see far too often.

Featurette 10 Minute Film School (9:57)

This is subtitled Big Movies Made Cheap. It's a quick guide to making block-buster level movies on a tight budget. Rather interesting, even if you don't intend to be the next independent film maker to win Cannes. This is not the first DVD Robert Rodriguez has put such a featurette on he included one (with the same name) on El Mariachi. This time, however, he manages to stick within his self-imposed ten minutes.

Featurette a new kind of stunt kid (6:43)

Another of those brief featurettes made to show the stars doing their own stunts.

Audio Commentary director Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez is very keen to encourage people to make films. He has a heap of material to get through, so he starts during the opening logo, and continues without pause. Fortunately he's an entertaining commentator. This is an excellent commentary very much recommended if you're interested in the process of making a movie like this one.

Deleted Scenes

We get eight deleted scenes, with your choice of original dialogue or director's commentary it is well worth watching them both ways. One of them, Gary and Gerti return, is shown in a fairly early stage, without all the CGI it's interesting to see what it looks like at that point. You can play all of the scenes in a row using Play All, and that is recommended, because the same transition shows before each scene, and it rapidly starts to grate. If you use Play All, you get a single segment 7:58 long.

Music Video Isle of Dreams Alexa Vega (3:34)

This is the sequence that appears under the closing credits, but without credits rolling over it.

Featurette School at Big Bend National Park (5:00)

A park ranger giving a fair bit of information about the park they used for filming some of the cliff scenes.

Featurette Essential Gear: the Gadgets of Spy Kids (3:16)

A quick look at some of the gadgets that appear in the movie very little in the way of new information.

Montages Behind-the-Scenes

Quick sequences shot at various locations; technically not montages, because there is some footage of people talking to the camera. Another case where you'd want to use Play All the same transition appears before each one of these, too.

Featurette Total Access 24/7 (21:40)

Total Access 24/7 is a US programme that shows behind-the-scenes footage. This is the episode that looked at this film. It's a different kind of making-of, looking more at the kids, and watching them being kids, much more than the usual self-congratulatory stuff.

Gallery Stills

Almost 50 still shots.

Gallery Art

More than 70 still images of conceptual / production design artwork probably by Robert Rodriguez. Very colourful.

Teaser Trailer (1:32)

A fairly typical trailer.

Set-top Game Transmooker Trouble

This is rather silly, but nicely done. It's a trivia game, asking questions about the film. Your mission is to save the world from the transmooker by answering the questions correctly. Mildly entertaing, once.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

This film is available in R1 as a Collector's Edition. Some listings show it as a two disc set (it's not). It has almost exactly the same list of features, and a similarly very good transfer. As far as I can tell, the two versions are essentially the same, and you would do equally well with either.

Summary

An entertaining film that the entire family can watch, presented very well on DVD.

The video quality is very good.

The audio quality is excellent, with very good use of directional sound.

There are plenty of extras, including more advice from Robert Rodriguez on how to make a film with today's technology.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, June 21, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
Poor CGI - Simon O'Connor (I wouldn't suggest reading my bio)