Prayer Focus
Movie Review

THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY and LAVA GIRL in 3-D

MPAA Rating: PG for mild action and some rude humor

Reviewed by: Rosemarie Hoffman
CONTRIBUTOR

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids
Genre:
Action/Adventure, Kids Family
Year of Release:
2005
Featuring: Taylor Lautner, Taylor Dooley, Cayden Boyd, George Lopez, David Arquette
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Producer: Elizabeth Avellan
Distributor: Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
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From the director of “Spy Kids”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A 10-year-old outcast is shunned by classmates and forced to spend summer vacation alone. With his two imaginary friends (Shark Boy and Lava Girl) he goes on a mission to prove dreams can become reality.”

“The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D” is an imaginative movie that depicts how a young boy’s dreams help him overcome his fear of a common adolescent issue—fitting in when you are different.

The director, Robert Rodriguez (“Spy Kids”), adapted this film from stories of his son’s imaginary world. As a father, he set out to tell a story affirming that children’s dreams are important, empowering, and can become reality. All were accomplished. However, the screen prompting of wearing and removal of the paper 3D glasses should have been avoided at any cost. The 3D technology deducted from, rather than adding, to the movie experience. The diluted colors are sure to make you second-guess your eyesight.

Max (Cayden Boyd) a ten-year-old boy is attending school and is finding it difficult to fit in. After sharing through a work assignment from his teacher (George Lopez), Max is dubbed “Dream Boy” by Linus (Jacob Davich) who is his rival. Max’s openness to share his fairy tale characters and all their adventures leaves him a sure target. Linus, or Minus as the teacher likes to call him, is determined to ruin Max and does make some headway. Max’s wish is to escape from this looser world called reality to his more familiar world of dreamland, Planet Drool, where kids are cool.

In the beginning, Max’s parents (David Arquette and Kristin Davis) do not give the impression that they are too happy. While Max’s father realizes that kids need their dreams, his mother disagrees and thinks that all kids need to do, is grow up. In the end, they confess their love and commitment to each other.

Reluctantly, Max goes to a school, which is conveniently placed across the street from his home, en route he is disappointed that his heroes Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner) and Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley) were unable to rescue him from another humdrum day. During class a severe thunderstorm is brooding. In an instant, the glass shatters and the youngsters take cover under their desks. Fortunately, Max’s favorite imaginary heroes rescue him to revive Planet Drool.

Upon arrival, Max is mystified because his dream world is unrecognizable. There he must find his own power within. He discovers that daydreaming—dreaming with his eyes open is his only defense to the menacing Mr. Electric (a robotic George Lopez) and Minus (Linus’ alter ego).

In this children’s tale, Sharkboy is equipped with a shark fin, gills, and pointed shark teeth. His powers are impressive, along with his appetite for raw fish. In attempting to put Max to sleep on Planet Drool, Sharkboy does a song and dance with twists and a downbeat line referring to his fist. Then there is Lavagirl who is equipped with inferno flames, molten rock, and bright colored hair to complete her look. While helping Max, Lavagirl finds herself on a quest to belong as well. She is disappointed when her fiery powers only seem to bring destruction. But, somewhere within herself she feels that she can be a force for good. She realizes her potential to do more when, alas, she finds her true potential—her energy is light.

Mr. Electric was once a contented electrician on Planet Drool. He eventually becomes disgruntled and takes over, ordering the Plugz at will. Mr. Electric’s strategy is keeping kids busy and keeping their rest at bay. Also, he blurts out a disturbing thought that for every dream that was dreamt up for the “good” Mr. Electric, one was then dreamt up of for the Atomic Bomb. It is a line only adults will understand; still, it is an alarming one nonetheless.

There are a few goodies on Planet Drool that most adults will find humorous: a train of thought, a stream of consciousness, a brain storm, a brain freeze, and of course, the brain fart.

Max’s adventures and imagination lead him to realize lessons that most adults are still working on later on in life. He discovers that when dreams are destroyed, he can create a better dream, an unselfish one, and if he works hard at it, it will become reality.

The follower of Christ who lives by faith, rather than in doubt and disbelief, finds that all things are possible with God!

Mark 10:27 “.With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

2 Corinthians 5:7-8 “For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

Year of Release—2005 / USA release date: June 10, 2005 (wide)

Viewer Comments
Positive—I took my 6 year-old son to see this movie, and the only thing I didn’t like was in the very beginning when they prompt you to put your 3D-glasses on… and Sharkboy put his shark-blue glasses on, Lavagirl put on her pink lava glasses on, and they handed one for Max, and it was the girls’ pink glasses… telling him those were the only one left (so they made him wear girls’ glasses…)—I didn’t like that. But overall, it was an enjoyable movie for my son and he wants to go see it again! I liked the fact that it makes emphasis on believing in your dreams because they may come true, kind of like Joseph.
My Ratings: Good/3
—Karen from Dallas, TX, age 29
Positive—I have to agree that the 3-D distracted from the movie. We took our 4 and 6 year old and they loved the movie. My only objection was that Shark Boy has a bit of an attitude problem and some anger issues he might need to deal with. We loved the Spy Kid movies, so I was disappointed with this movie. It seemed much darker than the Spy Kids movies. I thought Lava Girl was very sweet and brought some much needed “light” to the movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average/3½
—Ann-Marie Miller, age 34
Neutral—I took my 8 year old to see this movie and he really liked it. The movie was OK just a copy of Spy Kids only with no parent spies. I thought the acting was poor (especially Lava Girl) by the children and the 3D effects were not very good. The plot was boring and sets were a little dark for a boy that has a vivid imagination. The parents did not seem to be very smart, as with most movies, they were made to seem out of touch and selfish. Once again, Hollywood tries to push divorce, don’t trust parents and search within yourself theme.

If your child must see this movie wait for the DVD and watch it with them to let them know you do care and that you can control your dreams through prayer. Through salvation Jesus lives on the inside of a believer. Solid families (both mom and dad) do still exist!
My Ratings: Better than Average/3½
—Michael S., Columbia, SC, age 35
Positive—My husband and I took our 7 year old twin boys to see this movie. The movie did nothing for us. BUT… for weeks the boys kept telling us “Shark Boy and Lave Girl” will be at the theater on June 10. We knew how excited they were to go to see the movie. On June 12, we took them. While my husband and I were not impressed, once the movie ended, all [children], gave a standing ovation. Conclusion—there are not many movies anymore where you may have a family outing at the theater—i.e. violence, nudity, bad language, etc. It is worth the money to spend family time with your child participating in something that they truly enjoy. Every child in that theater seemed to truly enjoy the movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average/1
—Angela, age 38
Positive—My whole family liked this movie. I heard some negative reviews about the story and acting so my husband did not want to see it, but we went anyway and were glad we did. I think some of those reviews are made by critics who don’t see stories from the perspective of the intended audience—children. The fact that the story was initally the creation of Racer Rodriguez (the director’s little boy) is really inspiring (and cute). But I’m the mom who hangs my children’s pictures on my living room wall, so I’m kind of into kid art.
My Ratings: Good/3
—M.D., age 36
Positive—A Good Movie for kids. I went with a wide range of children, my daugthers 6, 7, my nephew 4, their friends 5, and 9. Only missing was the 8 year old, and they all loved it. It had a good story behind it. Don’t smash someone elses dreams because someone smashed yours, have a better dream. all the girls left the movie wanting to be Lava Girl and the boys wanting to be Shark Boy.

There was nothing offensive in the movie either. The only part that probably did not belong was the part about the girl glasses for Max. His dreamed up charachters were making fun of him. But beyond that okay viewing.

Also, don’t expect oscar performances when watching this movie, it was made for the 3D effects and my kids all thought it was cool.
My Ratings: Good/3
—Erick, age 30
Negative—This is a very bad movie! …Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think kids and action movies mix well. The acting in this movie is bad and so is the 3D. The plot is very weak. Even my 7 year old thought it was dumb.
My Ratings: Offensive/1
—AW, age 40
Negative—I took my children to see this film since the marketers pounded them for weeks. At 5 and 6 they actually said liked the movie. If at all possible don’t see this film. The quality is not very good as far as children’s features go and I have/get to see them all. There is nothing morally wrong that I could see, just poorly done for what the amount of money Hollyweird wants for a movie these days. I suppose the dollar theater would be OK, but then you still have to consider the time you’re wasting. The message is good, but the method is not.
My Ratings: Better than Average/1½
—Bob C, age 41
Negative—Terrible! My kids had been looking forward to this movie for so long, and they even had Shark Boy and Lava Girl T shirts, but once the movie was over they stopped talking about it. The acting was horrible, and the 3-D gave me a headache (I had to take Advil with my daughter’s sippy-cup half-way through the film). We loved the Spy Kids movies, so I was very disappointed in this one. I guess Rodriguez devoted most of his energy to “Sin City”. The only part I enjoyed was that it was filmed in my hometown of Austin, as were the Spy Kids films, and it was fun seeing snippets of the city. See Herbie instead.
My Ratings: Better than Average/1½
—Shelly, age 33

Comments from young people
Positive—This movie was great!! It had lots of moral values that should most definatly be encoraged. Such as putting others before yourself, making friends with others, being nice, going after your dreams if it’s right, completing what you’ve started. Sure, the 3D wasn’t good. But, the moral values were what made this movie an A+ type.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Kitty, age 13
Neutral—I thought this movie was terribly boring; one because it was in 3D and two because it was a pointless plot that wasn’t really going anywhere. Me, my friend and her little brother went to see it and her little brother (age 5) was staring fixed at the screen the whole time. So, I guess if you had a family with a bunch of little kids they would enjoy it but for anyone over 8 it wouldn’t be all that interesting.
My Ratings: Good/1½
—Liz, age 13
Positive—This is a good, clean, fun movie. Nothing objectionable, either, besides Sharkboy calling Max a “bleep” (he wasn’t exactly angry, just making a song up off the top of his head). The part with the glasses… whatever. I personally can’t see how anyone could find that offensive. I thought it was funny. The acting could be a bit horrendous, the song “Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream” was ridiculous… but it was still a fun movie. I’m a teen. and it didn’t get on my nerves, and my father liked it too. Wish there had been a different title—the title sounds cheesy—but that and the acting are my only complaints.
My Ratings: Good/3½
—Christa, age 14
Positive—…a great movie! I saw it with 3 younger siblings (ages 8, 5, and 3) and we LOVED IT! The only part I thought was bad was the teacher’s one comment (“I know everything, you know nothing…”) All in all, a wonderful movie!
My Ratings: Good/4
—Elizabeth, age 11
Neutral—This is a tough one for me. I hated, absolutely loathed all of the “Spy Kids” movies, I felt like kids deserved better, they don’t need to be pandered to. Give them something decent. Even though I expected to feel much the same about Shark Boy and Lava Girl, I actually (although the quality was the same), appreciated it rather more. It was just as annoying for just the same reasons. The kids were given terrible lines, lines that sounded like they were written for Sylvester Stallone or anyone over the age of 20. The romance was cheesy. The evil bully was cliched (except for the end). But despite all that, I actually rather liked the film because, unlike Spy Kids, it was saying, “Hey, don’t take me seriously, this is what a little kid’s imagination is like.” And I felt it, I know how the protagonist felt, i’ve had fantasies like he has, I know what it’s like to be a little kid and to imagine. And on that level it made everything almost work. When you’re little you don’t think about sense or reason, you think about what looks cool, what sounds cool, and it sounds cool to talk tough like a “big person.”

All in all the film annoyed me while I was watching it, but as long as I don’t have to ever watch it again, I rather liked the ideas behind it.
My Ratings: Good/3
—Logan M. Giannini, age 17
Positive—The 3-D part was very bad. If it wasn’t, …I would have given two thumbs up. It has a great message!! Max learns that he should not be selfish. He should be more considerate of others, and he makes friends with the bad-guy, finds out why he’s bad, and learns that everyone should try to have a good dream and try to fufill it, and share your joy with others. In real life, “Shark Boy” is a black belt. He does some cool black belt stuff in the movie. I was a little scared of the sharks in the beginning, but nothing happened. It was soo good!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 2½
—Kitty, age 13
Movie Critics
…a stinker… is that rare film that can cause actual physical pain while watching it… the movie is unbelievably ugly. The garish colors Rodriguez loves so much wash out in 3-D. The kids aren’t very good actors, and gadgets and cool sets are not enough to hold our interest…
—Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
…mostly innocuous folly while at the same time becoming a serious test of patience for anyone over the legal driving age…
—Christopher Lyon, Plugged In
…most of the movie’s child actors are weak performers, and Rodriguez seems too preoccupied with his digital 3-D effects to help them out; they speak their lines in a flat and perfunctory monotone, like Bible verses they were forced to learn for Sunday school but don’t really understand…
—Jim Lane, Sacramento News and Review
…revels in surreal silliness… rimming with the kind of funky, anything-can-happen creativity…
—Bob Strauss, L.A. Daily News