Urban Cinefile
"In reality, people defy consistency. "  -- Director Peter Duncan, on his Percy Grainger biopic, Passion
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL IN 3-D, THE

SYNOPSIS:
When Max (Cayden Boyd) delivers his school report detailing his holiday adventures with the superheroes of his dreams – Shark Boy (Taylor Lautner) and Lava Girl (Taylor Dooley) – he’s mocked by his classmates and reprimanded by his well-meaning teacher, Mr Electrodad (George Lopez). That’s until Shark Boy and Lava Girl burst into the classroom, and spirit him away on a fantastic adventure to save their home planet, Drool.

Review by Jake Wilson:
Plenty of Hollywood films celebrate childhood fantasy (or claim to) but Robert Rodriguez’s The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl takes the idea a step further, being based on characters dreamed up – literally – by the director’s young son Racer. Besides putting into practice the “family values” ethic outlined in Rodriguez’s previous Spy Kids trilogy, the film offers an explicit lesson about the uses and dangers of imagination: the hero escapes from the mundane real world to the magical 3D planet inside his own head, where he and his companions float down the Stream of Consciousness and ride the Train of Thought.

While there’s nothing wrong with encouraging children to be creative, inevitably it’s easier for filmmakers to endorse this message than to practice what they preach. Sadly, Rodriguez is no exception. The allegorical plot of Shark Boy and Lava Girl is tediously familiar yet confusing, while the digital special effects and backdrops are as murky and shoddy-looking as in the last Spy Kids movie (also partially in 3D). The technical flair of Rodriguez’s early work is largely absent, though an early chase sequence in a playground manages to replay action-movie cliches in pleasingly small-scale terms.

At his best Rodriguez has a knack for genuinely childlike concepts and images (a roller-coaster that never slows down, a “brain storm” where brains literally fall from the sky) but like many children he also suffers from a short attention span and little critical judgment. It’s probably no coincidence that Shark Boy and Lava Girl lacks not only a strong central premise to hold it together, but also the kind of ambiguous adult presence who might serve as a stand-in for the real artist behind the scenes - like Floop (Alan Cumming) in the first Spy Kids movie, as well as the Wizard of Oz, David Bowie’s Goblin King in Labyrinth, or Willy Wonka. Children don’t normally get to make movies till they turn into grown-ups, and there’s a reason why.
 

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL IN 3-D, THE (G)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Taylor Lautner, Taylor Dooley, Cayden Boyd, George Lopez, David Arquette, Kristin Davis, Jacob Davich, Sasha Pieterse, Rico Torrez

PRODUCER: Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan

DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez

SCRIPT: Robert Rodriguez

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Rodriguez

EDITOR: Robert Rodriguez

MUSIC: Robert Rodriguez, Graeme Revell, John Debney

PRODUCTION DESIGN: uncredited

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Qland: September 8; Vic: September 15; September 22; NSW, WA, SA

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: January 11, 2006







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017