Kenneth's Review of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D
This may sound shocking, but I found this odd-titled film half enjoyable, despite the overall feel like it was rushed through production, with no care whatsoever in the creation of numerous poke-you-in-the-eye 3D effects. As with the superior "Spy Kids" several years before, "Sharkboy and Lavagirl" works because of its INTENTIONAL cheesiness, its fun stab at interpreting children's intricate imaginations, and the inherent, humorous mockery of director Robert Rodriguez. Our main hero is a young boy who wants the simplest thing possible, the permission to dream and use his imagination, (which also happens to be the singular thing society and the educational system seeks to squash from the youngest age demographics.) Max is no loud-mouth, no smart-aleck, no "see-I-told-you-my-dreams-were-real-now-say-sorry" type of brat, but a quiet, "artsy" type who we've all met before. (Maybe we WERE him, long ago.) His two prized creations of Sharkboy and Lavagirl are always there to help despite their occasional quarrelling, and their quirky appearances and actions are, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. If they were anything else, I would have been sorely disappointed in the film. Characters become frozen into ice blocks and used as bobsleds to escape enemies; characters are attacked by electric eels and hunted down by giant electrical outlets; characters sleepwalk on queue, stop moving rollercoaster cars with their legs, shoot butterflies into each other's faces, sing rap-lullabies, and float downstream on giant chocolate-chip cookies. Childishly imaginative, unaboundedly silly. This is the type of fantasy "The Never Ending Story" wishes it was. However, despite a great start and even greater potential to be a classic, "Sharkboy and Lavagirl" ultimately is disjointed, its message of pro-imagination never fully-realized. All loose plot-threads are neatly tied by the final scene, but there is no sensible logic as to how they have been tied. In addition, as stated in the beginning of this review, much of the fanciful world of Planet Drool had been created within a computer, and the generally-bad quality of special effects detract from the fish boy and molten girl's antics. I believe the film could have been more successful if it had followed closer in the footsteps of Spy Kids: less visual blare, less moving around, less focus on getting the job done, and MORE absurd interactions between featuring flesh-and-blood actors and physical props.