Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Presented in 1.85:1 AR
Presented in MPEG-4 AVC
DTS-MA 5.1 Audio for the main track,
Spanish 5.1 DD Audio Secondary Track
100 Minute Runtime
If you’ve already read my review of Spy Kids (1), you know I’m a big fan of that film. It was original, innovative, fun and a great family film. So, when Spy Kids 2 came out, I was eager to catch it with my kids in the theater. Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams however, really struggles to hold up to the standards set by Spy Kids 1. Everything seems a bit second hand. The focus on a family dynamic is switched and moved to become really a movie about “cool gadgets” and stop-motion type effects.
The shift to focus on gadgetry seems to suck some of the heart out of the film that was so obvious from the first. It doesn’t make Spy Kids 2 a bad film, but it means that it just isn’t quite as good. My kids still enjoy it; the effects are original, some of the jokes are funny, and the characters are still fun to be around. But seeing it again years later you realize how often the film struggles to add “just one more thing”. This effort to continuously one up itself and to add wild effects at times reminded me of “Naked Lunch”. I know, that’s such a strange comparison, but it’s hard for me to look at Spy Kids 2 with all the effects and moments and have it not come across a bit like a strange acid trip.
The Video 4 / 5
The video quality on Spy Kids 2 is about equal to that on Spy Kids 1 Bluray, the looks are about the same; but I’m rating this one a bit lower. Why do that? The Spy Kids 1 BD managed to make the special effects seamlessly fit in, and the upgrade to HD really worked. Here, several of the effects show some serious strain at making the transition.. at times, they look cut out and placed into scenes, which they were. This is a bit distracting, at least for me. My kids did not notice, and the rest of the film is very good.
The Audio 4.5 / 5
The audio on Spy Kids 2 is very good; the special effects sound great, the audio track has a great sound, the soundtrack is fun to listen to and the dialog is crisp and clear. It’s hard to ask for more from a soundtrack.
The Extras: 2 / 5
Here is where I have to say I am VERY unhappy with this presentation. The disc for Spy Kids (1) provided us several new featurettes, in full HD, behind the scenes and more. On the Spy Kids 2 disc, every title is presented in SD 480I. Every one, except for trailers which are the same as the SK1 disc. This is especially disappointing because the Music Video is presented in HD in the film and has existed elsewhere in HD, and almost all of this content is repeated from the DVD.
The Special features are:
10 Minute Film School: Big Movies Made Cheap (10) 480I, MPEG2
A New Kind of Stunt Kid 6:41, 480I, MPEG2
Lost Scenes w/Optional Commentary 480I, MPEG2
Isle of Dreams Music Video 3:30, 480I MPEG2
School at Big Bend 4:58 MPEG2, 480I
Essential Gear: The Gadgets of Spy Kids, 3:30, 480I, MPEG2
Behind the Scenes Montages 12 Minutes, 480I, MPEG2
Total Access 24/7: A Day in the Life of Spy Kids 21:41, 480I, MPEG2, this was the press kit
Teaser Trailer: 1:30 SD 480I MPEG
Theatrical Trailer: 1:16 SD 480I MPEG
Also included are the trailer for the new film and the same trailers from the first disc.
Final Score: 3.75 / 5
I kept thinking: this should be a 4/5, but I can’t put it there. It would over reward the effort. While this is a decent release and definitely a buy for those that loved the Spy Kids films, the problem is that it seems to sell the audience short. At the price you’ll find it at, that’s probably fine. But it is disappointing that the extras on this disc seem to have been thrown together so poorly and with such little attention. The film itself can’t live up to the first film, but it’s still fun. If you had fun – and there are some great laughs in the film – it’s worth the cost, but this is a release that seems to just throw things on the disc to round it out.