THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVAGIRL
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
MOVIE (from a child’s perspective): ***** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Taylor Lautner as SHARKBOY
Taylor Dooley as LAVAGIRL
Cayden Boyd as MAX
David Arquette as DAD
Kristen Davis as MOM
George Lopez as MR. ELECTRIC
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
BY KEVIN CARR
As an adult, I give “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” a measly two stars. I just can’t bring myself to give it any more. I appreciated what Rodriguez was trying to do in terms of achieving a pure story from the mind of a child. But the story just became a massive reminder of why six-year-old kids aren’t commissioned by studios to write major motion pictures.
The DVD comes with a behind-the-scenes documentary of how Rodriguez worked with his kids to develop the story – from character development to dialogue. That’s really sweet, but it’s really out of place. I think it’s great that he made a family project out of it. But come on! Why does he need to make it a $20 million family project.
Here are some choice lines of dialogue you’ll have to suffer through:
“A banana split? Still hungry, Max? How about a knuckle sandwich?” – Sharkboy
“He’s not making any friends with these cookies!” – Dad
“Normally when you snooze, you lose. But with Max, if you snooze, you win.” – Sharkboy
“Stop that racket, Sharkboy! You’re giving him nightmares!” – Lavagirl
Exactly… it’s giving me nightmares, too.
If you can get past all the bad dialogue, weak plot, cheesy special effects and outlandishly hideous acting by David Arquette and Kristen Davis, you might just love this movie. It’ll also help if you can make yourself an eight-year-old boy. This is, of course, the target market.
And in that aspect, the film is a success. If I were a child, I’d give this movie five stars. I remember having similar ideas when I was young, and if I saw someone make them into a movie, I’d flip out. From a kid’s perspective, “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” is Oscar material.
Case in point, my four-year-old son thought this was an incredible film. He loves this DVD. Keep in mind that his frame of reference is Power Rangers and anything with dinosaurs in it. He’s not known for his discriminating tastes. Still, if you have the young child at home – especially a boy with an overactive imagination – than “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” should be at the top of your gift list.
The DVD comes with the aforementioned making-of documentary as well as a commentary track by Robert Rodriguez. I don’t know why the studio didn’t give his son Racer Max (the creator of the characters and co-writer of the film) his own commentary track. That would have proved to be an interesting feature.
Much like he did in the “Spy Kids 3-D” DVD commentary, Rodriguez spends too much time whining that the anaglyph format (the familiar red/blue glasses) of 3-D effects aren’t as cool as how it was originally conceived. Whine all you want, buddy. But until you can present this on an IMAX 3-D screen with polarized glasses, no one’s gonna care.
The special features are still a bit thin for Robert Rodriguez, but that’s okay. I’m not sure too many would-be filmmakers are going to snatch up this film for a new installment of Rodriguez’s “Ten Minute Film School.”
The package includes four pairs of 3-D glasses to view the 3-D version of the film. It’s a nice gesture, but a bit hard on the eyes since it’s still presented in the color-killing anaglyph fashion. Once you get past the novelty of 3-D at home, you’ll probably want to switch to the 2-D version.
Specifications: 3-D and 2-D versions. Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1), enhanced for 16×9 televisions. Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.