THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY and LAVA GIRL in 3-D
Reviewed by: Rosemarie Hoffman
Action/Adventure, Kids Family
Year of Release:
From the director of “Spy Kids”
Producer’s synopsis: “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!
Year of Release—2005 / USA release date: June 10, 2005 (wide)