Spy Kids 2: Island Of Lost Dreams | 2002
Robert Rodriguez maintains the level of invention in this sequel, including an homage to animator Ray Harryhausen (reprising the sword-swinging skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts).
The ‘Troublemaker Theme Park’ (named after Rodriguez’s studio, and invented when Disneyland refused permission to film in their park), where Juni (Daryl Sabara) rescues the President’s daughter from the Juggler, is Six Flags Over Texas, in Arlington, at the intersection of I-30 and Highway 360 between Dallas and Fort Worth. Disappointingly – but perhaps not surprisingly – you won’t find the ‘Whippersnapper’, the ‘Vomiter’ or the ‘Juggler’, which were CGI creations.
The capitol building, where the kids meet the President, is naturally, the State Capitol Building, Congress Avenue between 11th and 14th Streets, Austin. It’s no stranger to the screen, having previously featured in (though not 'as') The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the 1988 remake of D.O.A.. The capitol’s design is based on that of the US State Capitol in Washington DC, but being Texas, of course, it’s just that little bit bigger.
It’s claimed to be 14 feet taller, though it's generously admitted that the Louisiana Capitol is even taller.
The brightly coloured ‘OSS Junior Building’, which you might assume is a set, is the amazing San Antonio Public Library, 600 Soledad Street, downtown San Antonio. Opened 1995, the striking design is by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.
Once again, the ‘ocean’ is Lake Travis, Austin, with the shoreline digitally removed. The beach of Romero’s (Steve Buscemi) island is, briefly, Costa Rica, but quickly reverts to the shore of Lake Travis for the rest of the action.
The ‘hotdog’ rock formation and the barren landscape is the wild and spectacular Big Bend National Park, probably the least visited of the USA’s national parks. It’s in the west of the state, where the Rio Grande is diverted around the Chisos Mountains, taking a huge bite out of Mexico.
It’s barren but spectacular landscapes can be seen in Paris, Texas, Barbarosa and All The Pretty Horses.
The end credits rock concert is in the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Avenue, between 7th and 8th Streets, Austin.