Publicity Stills of
"Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Family/Adventure/Action
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: David Arquette, Kristin Davis
RunTime: -
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 25 August 2005


A boy's imaginary superhero friends come to life and join him on a series of adventures.

Movie Review:

Robert Rodriguez has found success in both types of movies he's done; the violent adult fare of the El Mariachi series, and more recently, Sin City, and the childrens' fantasy offering of the Spy Kids series. In The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, he has taken on the latter type and is back in familiar 3D territory.

The storyline, conceptualized by Robert's son Racer, tells the tale of an imaginative young boy Max, who keeps his dreams written in a journal. His best dream-world creation is that of Sharkboy, whose origins opens the movie - being raised by adoptive animals like The Jungle Book's Mowgli, in this case, sharks, and Lavagirl, whose origin and purpose remains
a mystery and serves as a subplot.

It's quite a cliche storyline you might add - being the dreamer of the class, Max is the class nerd constantly picked on by the resident bully Linus. His parents are not getting on well with each other, and he's lonely and has imaginative friends as company. But is Max really imagining things, or are his encounters real, or perhaps his dream-world has come alive?

It is not long before Max gets whisked off to the planet Drool by Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and begins his adventures in saving his dream-world, which has been threatened by clouds of darkness. Here, we visit various fantasy locations like the Stream of Consciousness, the junkyard for bad dreams, and even taken on a ride in the Train of Thought. Sounds like a
visit to Neverland? Yes, with villains included too. Drawing characters from his own "real life", Max's world Drool includes unpopular characters like his schoolteacher taking on the pun-spewing baddie role Mr Electric.

Then it's up to our superheros Sharkboy and Lavagirl to boast their prowess - with Sharkboy's shark like reflexes and "Shark Rage", to Lavagirl's shooting of lava from her fists, and leaving burnt footprints on the path she treads. Look out for the supporting villains like the "plug-hounds" and electric eels, which I thought were unconventional ideas.

No less than six visual effects company, including Industrial Light and Magic, brought planet Drool and its inhabitants to life, and they've done a great job at that. However, the 3D effects somehow let their good work down. 3D films are viewed through blue-red lenses, but that doesn't mean the colours in the final product would be less vibrant, which I felt was an anti-climax. The entire film was not in 3D mode though, you'll be asked to put on or take off the glasses by flashing subtitles, but most of the time it's put on for the entire duration on planet Drool.

For the adult accompanying their children to this movie, you might be relieved that besides the kiddy narrative, there are slightly more adult themes worked into the movie, themes like working on your dreams to making it reality, and friendship worth sacrificing for.

As with most of Rodriguez's movies, he has a hand in almost all departments, from scriptwriting, to producing, directing and writing the music to the songs. The songs are extremely cheesy though, esepcially the one in which Sharkboy sings a lullaby while passing off his kung-fu as breakdancing.

Conceptualized by a kid and meant for children, the little ones will probably have an enjoyable time, and would be in a treat with the 3D on display.

Movie Rating:

(For the imaginative kid in every one of us, go 3D with Sharkboy and Lavagirl!)

Review by Stefan Shih

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