|The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D(2005)
Starring: George Lopez, Cayden Boyd, Taylor Dooley, Taylor Lautner, David Arquette
Director: Robert Rodriguez
By now the world knows that there are two Robert Rodriguezes. There is the Rodriguez that only months ago brought us the ultra-violent, ultra-sexist, neo-noir of “Sin City,” and there is the Rodriguez that gave us the family-friendly “Spy Kids” franchise. And so as if to quickly repent for the sins of the former, the latter director returns again with “The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D,” the ultimate in sugarcoated cheese-o-tainment.
The movie centers on Max, a boy who finds himself caught between his dreams and his reality--a situation Rodriguez himself seems to be found in. Picked on at school and fought over by his parents, Max finds his escape in writing down his dreams in his journal. When Max’s journal is stolen by the class bully, two of Max’s creations, a boy raised by sharks and a girl made of lava, tell him that their home (Max’s dream world) is being destroyed and that only Max can save it.
Credit for the story is given to Rodriguez’s son, Racer (yes, that’s his actual name), which explains a lot. Only the mind of a child, or perhaps an adult popping mushrooms, could think of characters like these. Indeed Planet Drool, Max’s dream world, has all the characteristics of a child creation, or at least an artificially induced hallucination, especially when viewed through the psychedelia-enhancing 3-D glasses. Treated to things like giant roller coasters, robots, castles, and even The Land of Milk and Cookies, it’s clear that if you are over twelve-years-old, a little self-medication may be in order for viewing this film. Viewed clean and sober, the only thing one is left with is a massive headache and crossed eyes from the 3-D specs.
“The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D”, despite the atrocious acting by every single actor in the movie, is good clean family entertainment--to an almost sickening degree. Rodriguez, to his credit, manages to cram a message in the film for kids--something about dreaming a better dream and finding a way to make it a reality, blah blah blah. So in the end, if your son or daughter, or niece or nephew is screaming to see this movie, by all means take them, but if your plan isn’t to sneak into “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” while they’re busy cramming popcorn into their mouths, consider yourself warned.