The Adventures of Shark Boy And Lava Girl
Taking a departure from Rodriguez’ dark Sin City, The Adventures of Shark Boy And Lava Girl In 3D follows a lonely daydreamer named Max (Cayden Boyd) whose fantasized characters Shark Boy (Taylor Lautner) and Lava Girl (Taylor Dooley) drop into real life at Max’ school and whisk him off to Planet Drool. Together they must stop the evil Mr. Electric (George Lopez) and his partner Minus (Jacob Davich) in their dastardly plans to destroy dreams.
Any similarity between the storyline and a grade-schooler’s imagination is purely intentional; Rodriguez’ seven-year-old son Racer Max co-wrote the script with his dad. Not to exclude the rest of the Rodriguez’ clan, wife Elizabeth Avellan produced the film which includes roles for Racer and his brothers, Rebel and Rocket.
Making movies with the family is nothing new to Robert Rodriguez. As a San Antonio teenager he enlisted his nine siblings to star in his first films. So, it was a natural progression to include his wife and kids in his newest feature.
“Family’s a big thing to me,” said Rodriguez at the film’s premiere in his hometown of Austin where he also filmed the popular Spy Kids movies. “I like to make things they can watch. I also do it for that child inside me.”
“Child” is the definitive word in judging the film’s merit. Planet Drool may lack the richness of the volcano planet of Mustafar in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and the film’s 3D effects can’t match the depth of wonderment in Polar Express 3D. But from a child’s viewpoint, the film has everything an eight-year-old could love—like the non-stop thrill ride of the Mount Neverest roller coaster, or the Land of Milk And Cookies where you can ride the rapids on a river of chocolate. And there’s just enough excitement and danger to put a small scare into little ones.
In addition, Rodriguez slips in some sage advice, beginning with the theme “Everything that is or was started with a dream.” The film’s characters inspire and motivate each other through difficult times as they learn that dreams can become reality if they stay on track while riding the Train of Thought.
It may not be Plato or Emerson, or even Dr. Seuss, but building dreams and inspiring hope while having a little fun sure beats sitting at home watching the cartoon channel.