Spy Kids: The Island of Lost Dreams

Rated 3.0 Junior James Bond-like spies Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) Cortez return to recover a stolen “Transmooker” device that saps the world of all electronic energy in this alternately fun and disappointing sequel. Their mission pits them against rival kid agents and takes them to an island populated by a genetic scientist (Steve Buscemi) and his mutant creatures, which include a wondrous flying pig and a “spider monkey” that is a sort of eight-legged arachnid centaur. Writer-director Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, El Mariachi) reunites all the key players from the original (including Carla Gugino and Antonio Banderas as parent spies). He surrounds them with plenty of entertaining digital effects that includes a homage to Ray Harryhausen’s stop-action, sword-fighting skeletons. But the story feels thinner and less organic than the first, is propelled by editing that camouflages lapses in continuity and never fully develops its main idea of people having to resort to their own ingenuity when all their high-tech gadgets fail.