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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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'Spy Kids 2' is a must-see

Sign us all up for the OSS, if it's as fun as this movie that opens Wednesday.

Billy photo
Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published August 5, 2002

Movie: Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

  • Rating: PG
[Photo: Miramax]
Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega get to try out more cool gadgets in their return as Juni and Carmen in Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams.

Summary: Carmen and Juni Cortez (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) return as two of the best agents in a large organization of other young spies called the OSS. But, they have some competition in Gary and Gerti Giggles (Matthew O'Leary and Emily Osment), whose father has just become the director of the OSS. The two teams of kids end up on the same mission, but with different intentions. Their objective is to recover a device that can make even an object the size of a large island invisible to radar and satellites. Carmen and Juni convince Romero (Steve Buscemi), the scientist who created the device, to aid them in their search. Gary and Gerti are hot on their trail, and if the device falls into their hands, who knows what their father will use it for.

My view: In a summer jam-packed with blockbuster movies for all ages, this is a successful sequel that should be added to every kid's "must see" list. With amusingly choreographed fight scenes, and cool gadgets such as a small bug-shaped robot that acts as a personal assistant, it is sure to entertain many ages. The jokes are goofy, but they definitely cracked me up. Spy Kids 2 has that Mission: Impossible thriller aspect, and that James Bond flair, but with kids playing the lead roles.

Favorite part: Buscemi's character invented a miniature zoo intended to be the ultimate kids' toy. It is a little bit larger than a lunch box and full of live, miniature animals. I thought that was creative enough, but when he accidentally cross-bred some of them, and came up with animals like a spider monkey that was half spider and half monkey, things get terribly out of control!

Recommendations: Once again, kids 12 and under will love it, and anyone taking the younger kids to see it will be entertained, too. (Be sure to stay in your seats while the credits are rolling to catch the clever music video at the end.)

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Grade: B+

-- Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is former member of the Times X-Team.

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