7 October 2005 | ryan_kuhn
"But when Max snoozes, he wins."
A colorful and occasionally imaginative film, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (In 3-D!!!) is an overall disappointment, a movie that had good intentions at the beginning, but devolved into a cheesy "message for our youth." The movie revolves around Max (Cayden Boyd), the picked-on grade school student who would rather create his own world rather than live in the real one. Of course he's picked on by class bully Linus (Jacob Davich), of course his parents are always fighting (David Arquette and Kristin Davis), and of course Max lives life as a miserable school student who has very little going for him. Writer/director Robert Rodriguez formulated the entire movie, from story to special effects, based on inspirations provided by his children. There are reasons that most movies, even the bad ones, are not made by children. The movie is well meaning, but relies on too many familiar story devices: class bullies, mean teachers, quiet kids who save the day. We've seen this movie before, but the colorful, Super Mario-Mushroom Kingdom-like worlds that inhabit the movie does add some to the entertainment value. Max is taken to his dream world, known as Planet Drool, by Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner) and Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley), the two superheroes of the world. Each superhero contains some depth, not as much as the superheroes in The Incredibles, but the nice little subplot of each character trying to find their place in the world was a nice touch. For instance, after one difficult scene to watch, we now know Sharkboy cannot rap well at all. Otherwise, the characters are each have one note. George Lopez hams it up, most likely intentionally to offer a cheese element to this movie, but I found his characters to be annoying. The movie's plot lacks any imagination, and the world of Planet Drool does feature some creativity, but not enough to save an otherwise pedestrian family feature. This movie is Rodriguez's second foray into the 3-D genre, and though I did not use the 3-D glasses while viewing the movie, the scenes accenting the technology are pretty obvious to the casual observer and distract from the overall viewing experience. I really enjoyed the visual style Robert Rodriguez employed in Sin City, and that movie may have even been enhanced with a few 3-D moments, but Sharkboy and Lava girl was a move in the opposite direction for the maverick director.