A WALK DOWN NOSTALGIA LANE REVIEW: “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D” stars Cayden Boyd (Mystic River, X-Men: The Last Stand), Taylor Lautner (Twilight, The Ridiculous 6), Taylor Dooley (We Can Be Heroes, House [TV series]), George Lopez (Rio, George Lopez [TV series]), Kristin Davis (Sex and the City [TV series], The Shaggy Dog ), David Arquette (Scream , Never Been Kissed), Jacob Davich (The Aviator, Mr. Woodcock), and Sasha Pieterse (Inherent Vice, Pretty Little Liars [TV series]). It is directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Machete), who also wrote it with Marcel Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series [TV series], Machete Kills).
When Max (Boyd) is visited by his dream creations Sharkboy (Lautner) and Lavagirl (Dooley), he realizes that he must save his dream world – the Land of Drool – from a corrupt power.
Way back when I started this Nostalgia Lane series, there was always the desire to review “Sharkboy and Lavagirl.” Well… I guess more so a desire to torture myself by revisiting a movie I clearly knew wouldn’t live up to my child affection towards it. Now I’ve finally subjected myself to this garbage flick, and have quite a bit to report.
For those who grew up in the early 2000’s, I’m sure you clamored to see the 3-D spectacle that was “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” in theaters. It had a look that all kids would fall in love with, showcasing CGI landscapes and a sprawling original tale that focused on the wild imagination children (and dreams) possessed. My dad took my brother and I to see this on the big screen back in 2005. I was blown away, and jazzed to see objects jump out at us. It was an instant favorite, and all I can do now is apologize to my dad for putting him through such a cringey, silly feature.
Clearly, “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” is for kids. Not to mention that it is now severely outdated. The visual effects are that of a Playstation 2 video game and because they shot it to incorporate 3-D elements (many things jumping at the screen) many sequences are laughable. I wish I still had my paper 3-D glasses to make the experience more enjoyable, but c’est la vie; it surely wouldn’t mask the other issues that litter the storyline.
The director Robert Rodriguez is a self-made filmmaker. His story of how he ended up in this industry is amazing and deserves a film in and of itself. I respect him for his perseverance and work ethic, though I never found his movies all that good. Sure, “Spy Kids” has a place in my heart, but his styling doesn’t fit my tastes. It’s sophomoric, the effects being as clunky as the dialogue that characters speak. As a kid, you don’t notice these things. Rodriguez is the master of crafting imaginative adventures that engage the child psyche, but as you grow older (as soon as a pre-teen) the veil disappears, leaving you with a film that looks like a kid actually made it. All power to him, for he wears a lot of hats in all the movies he makes, but what he pushes out just isn’t that good.
I could go into the nitty gritty of what doesn’t make “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” good, but there’s so much out there already that makes it common knowledge (I mean, just look at the trailer). It’s a story with plenty of laughable scenes because of rough dialogue and effects. The actors seem to be having fun (who wouldn’t enjoy being in a big CGI movie as a kiddo?) and the world-building Rodriguez has is creative, but that doesn’t make up for what it is lacking. Watching it over again, I recognized what gripped me as a kid, both the fun and sad moments the story holds. However, the demographic for this picture is clearly small. Growing up, it didn’t take long for me to find this movie lame.
“The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” was huge back in the day. Much credit to Rodriguez for formulating an original idea and look. It’s aged horribly as I’ve grown older, and in looking back on it, I realized it wasn’t really good to begin with. I admit that it was better than I anticipated (I was very scared to dip back into this pool), but more so in the fact that I enjoyed laughing at its crudeness than anything. Unless you find pleasure in watching poorly made movies (or have a kid and want something different to distract them), it’s best to skip this one. FINAL SCORE: 30%= Burnt Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Burnt Hall of Shame.
Here is the trailer: