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Special Gadgets
Robert Rodriguez prepared for SPY KIDS 2 by going back to his intensely creative drawing board and coming up with a whole new assortment of wildly inventive spy gadgets – the kind that use playful smarts and savvy strategy to outwit villains, rather than violence. Using his own childhood dreams of super-spy paraphernalia and hiring his own kids as test-pilots, he updated every part of the Spy Kids gear – from their modes of transportation to their means of surveillance, using the latest technology and his own facile brand of future-think. As Danny Trejo says: "This guy has that kind of mind that could have been a rocket scientist but instead he makes movies for families. That's pretty lucky for kids."

Among the items on every spies must-have list from ISLAND OF LOST DREAMS are:

    • Hover-Shoes – a rocket-powered pair that never let your feet touch the ground
    • Nanotechnology Spy Watches – with satellite and internet uplinks, does everything but tell time
    • R.A.L.P.H. – a multi-legged personal robot that's as cute and cuddly as it is useful
    • The Dragon Spy Ship – a fully automated, do-it-all, morphing underwater speed machine that buzzes around like a dragonfly
    • OSS Jr. Headquarters – a tricked-out tree house with super-computers, satellite dishes and a helicopter landing pad

Rodriguez says that he dreams up most of his wild ideas while driving in his truck. "I find my most creative time is spent driving. I live a good distance from Austin, so while driving I tend to zone out on the Texas Highway. I'll get an idea and can't write it down, so I phone myself and leave a message. There's nothing more fun than coming home and hearing a bunch of cryptic, static filled messages that I don't even remember leaving! Finding the FLOOP SONG being sung into my answering machine was a special thrill this time out. I ended up getting a lot of mileage out of that one theme, which also became the single that Alexa Vega sings at the end of the movie."

The very best ideas then become realities on the set. It's a process that fuels Rodriguez's passion for pure creativity. "I love to create challenges for myself to solve creatively, to put my imagination on overdrive," he says. "Sometimes creativity and imagination is more important than skill. If you confront every challenge with a creative solution, you can get very far very fast. So usually the wilder the idea, the more fun I have with it. And with SPY KIDS 2, I really wanted to up the drool factor. I wanted to create the kind of gadgets that make kids say ‘I want that' even though it might be 20 or 200 years before these things exist. It sparks their dreams and imaginations."

"I also wanted to make their new watches twice as cool as the previous ones with the twice the gadgetry. The whole idea is that kids always want the very, very latest, updated, coolest gadgets, but the minute you get them, there's something new. That's what happens to Carmen and Juni when they think they have the very latest watches, but then the Giggles get the even newer nanotechnology watches."

As for the Dragon Spy Ship, Rodriguez got his inspiration from nature. "I like to design my gadgets the way a kid would and kids love bugs so this time their ship looks just like a dragonfly – and each Cortez kid sits in their own little glass eyeball. It even makes a buzzing

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