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Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Composed and Produced by:
Robert Rodriguez
John Debney

Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Orchestrated by:
Brad Dechter
Frank Benett
Jon Kull
Don Nemitz
Chris Klatman

Performed by:
The Texas Philharmonic Orchestra

Milan Records

Release Date:
August 6th, 2002

Also See:
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Inspector Gadget

Audio Clips:
3. Magna Men (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

5. R.A.L.P.H. (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

16. Skeletons (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

20. Isle of Dreams (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Regular U.S. release.


Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

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Buy it... only if your kid is an enthusiast of the Spy Kids concept, because the generic children's movie fantasy material heard here offers nothing new to seasoned veterans of film music.

Avoid it... even if you are a John Debney completist if you believe, like many others, that most of his action scores between 1999 and 2004 strike the same anonymous tone.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams: (Robert Rodriguez/John Debney) Once again an extension of Robert Rodriguez's "dream come true," the Spy Kids franchise moved effortlessly into its second installment. Flaunting many of the same parody traits as its predecessor, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams was hailed as a worthy follow-up and yet another plug in the general void of Hispanic heroes on screen. Almost the entire cast and crew from the 2001 film returned for this 2003 sequel, and Rodriguez once again saved money in his rather slim $40 million budget by serving as producer, writer, director, editor, special effects supervisor and composer for the production. The first Spy Kids score was a truly collaborative effort, built upon a foundation laid by Rodriguez and Danny Elfman, with several composers from under the roof of Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures business filling out the majority of the score. At the last minute, action and children's film veteran John Debney was brought in to flesh out some of the orchestrations, expand upon Elfman's material, and write some of his own additional flair for that score. The result was campy but serviceable music for the genre. While it functions well enough in its pieces, its weakness exists in its fragmented lack of focus. The tone is different for Spy Kids 2, which, as Rodriguez states, is a Ray Harryhausen kind of flick full odd monsters and grand, ancient settings. Unfortunately, most of the thematic and instrumental devices from the previous film are absent in the subsequent scores. In fact, this project is such a turn in a different direction that it marked the first ever performance of the newly assembled Texas Philharmonic, consisting of musicians from around the state assembled for this recording. With the Media Ventures artists and Elfman out of the equation for Spy Kids 2, Rodriguez set out to write the majority of music for the picture himself, though as before, he asked John Debney to score the remaining, arguably more complicated portions of the film. The resulting combined score mirrors the attitude of the film with ease; because the Spy Kids concept is aimed at the fantasies of kids, the score thus plays to several cliches in action and thriller music that the two writers figured would appeal to kids. That leaves adults at something of a disadvantage, though seasoned film score collectors aren't the primary target of this album anyway.

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While the appeal of the first Spy Kids score rested in the clear diversity of the various talents involved in perpetuating the spirit of funky adventure, Spy Kids 2 has the feeling of a stock action/adventure work that one would expect from John Debney himself, with the unpredictable elements thrown in by Rodriguez. It is not difficult to see why Rodriguez originally approached Danny Elfman for the franchise, given that Rodriguez's own cues pay great tribute to Elfman's now classic The Nightmare Before Christmas sound. Thankfully, though, the Alan Cumming performance of "Floop's Dream" on this soundtrack isn't as offensively derivative. Sadly absent from this score is Harry Gregson-Williams' robust and melodic family theme from the first score, replaced by themes written by Rodriguez that are consistently employed but not orchestrated or performed in a way that would make them memorable. While Rodriguez provides the light-hearted personality for Spy Kids 2 (such as in the spoof tracks "R.A.L.P.H." and "Floop's Dream" and the song, "Isle of Dreams"), Debney's action music features the brawn of the score. The highlights of the score are roughly five to ten minutes of Debney's material, but collectors of the composer's works will recognize these sounds from Inspector Gadget and many of his other comedy-oriented scores from the mid-1990's. The interesting aspect of Spy Kids 2 is that Rodriguez's cues, while not possessing the same complexity of sound as Debney's music, are structurally very similar to Debney's style. It's difficult to say if that is because Rodriguez's talents in composition are particularly strong or if Debney's adaptation and expansion of Rodriguez's ideas is that precise. Their combined efforts to mimic the style of Bernard Herrmann (a professed goal) are slightly evident in "Romero's Creatures/SpyBeach" but otherwise fail. In any event, the teenage buyers targeted by both this film and soundtrack will mostly likely appreciate the James Bond-style song with actress Alexa Vega's vocals at the end. For film score fans, you will have heard this Debney music before (countless times), and if you value creativity in your children's adventure scores, the first Spy Kids score is the better choice. The soundtracks in the franchise became increasingly less engaging as each film rolled along, and Rodriguez's solo effort for Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over the next year loses the remaining coherency in the series' music. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Debney reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.23 (in 49 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 2.97 (in 43,790 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings: Total Time: 44:04

• 1. The Juggler (Rodriguez) (2:08)
• 2. Spy Ballet (Rodriguez) (3:51)
• 3. Magna Men (Debney) (1:49)
• 4. Treehouse (Debney/Rodriguez) (2:03)
• 5. R.A.L.P.H. (Rodriguez) (1:07)
• 6. Floop's Dream (Rodriguez - performed by Alan Cumming) (1:11)
• 7. Escape From DragonSpy (Debney) (1:58)
• 8. SpyParents (Debney/Rodriguez) (0:57)
• 9. Island of Lost Dreams (Rodriguez) (1:04)
• 10. Donnagon's Big Office/The Giggles (Rodriguez) (2:35)
• 11. Mysterious Volcano Island (Debney) (2:03)
• 12. Romero's Zoo Too (Debney/Rodriguez) (2:47)
• 13. Mothership/Spy Grandparents (Rodriguez) (3:06)
• 14. Magna Racers (Debney/Rodriguez) (1:42)
• 15. Azetec Treasure Room (Rodriguez) (2:09)
• 16. Skeletons (Debney) (3:40)
• 17. Creature Battle (Debney) (1:48)
• 18. Romero's Creatures/Spy Beach (Rodriguez) (1:19)
• 19. Spy Dad vs. Spy Dad/Romero's Gift (Rodriguez) (2:24)
• 20. Isle of Dreams (Rodriguez - performed by Alexa Vega) (4:13)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a note from Rodriguez about the score and film, as well as extensive credits.

  All artwork and sound clips from Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams are Copyright © 2002, Milan Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/26/03 and last updated 1/21/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.