We all remember being eight years old and begging our parents to let us stay up past 10 p.m. to finish watching “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D” (2005). Rewatching the film recently evoked such nostalgia of days past. The clock neared 9:47 p.m. and the characters had only just made it to Planet Drool,when I was transported back to the time I cried to my mom because she was being totally unfair by not letting me stay up past my bedtime. Well, joke’s on you, Mom, because I stayed up until almost 11 p.m. to finish this movie yesterday.
Besides the nostalgia the movie provides, it also is a genuine work of art. Robert Rodriguez, the director of both “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” and every “Spy Kids” movie ever, crafts a beautiful cinematic jewel consisting of a hard-hitting narrative and colorful, yet tasteful, cinematography. No other director could capture a river made of milk and a motorcycle made of lava in the same film! Rodriguez also explores the depths of the human psyche, as he teaches his audience that if you dream hard enough, your dreams will become a reality. So, watch out Vassar, tomorrow I will be walking around with no pants on. And to whoever dreamt of “Fleabag” winning so many Emmys, thank you for your incredible service.
Throughout the film, we are rooting for Sharkboy, Lavagirl and Max as they try to defeat Mr. Electric and Minus to save Planet Drool. As for the details of the plot—like how exactly everything happens and why it’s happening—it’s not quite clear. This is a choice that I’m sure is intentional, as children aren’t supposed to understand movies anyway. Only sophisticated and well-educated reviewers like myself are intelligent enough to understand the labyrinth that is “Sharkboy and Lavagirl.” But really though, if someone knows what is happening when they go to Planet Drool and secure the ice crystal, could you let me know?
For a movie presumably made for children, but still obviously watched by adults, it has fantastic character development. Throughout the film, Lavagirl tries to “find herself,” as she is used to being only a destructive force. At the end, however, Max explains that she is more than just destruction and pain; she is light. The character arc that Lavagirl endures is heartwarming and dare I say…iconic. I shed at least three tears when she emerged from the volcano after almost dying at the hands of Mr. Electric. Seeing her fiery pink hair is reminiscent of Max’s speech: “Fire doesn’t always cause pain; it is also a source of light.” The film does an outstanding job of representing the four elements: fire, air, earth and shark. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” wishes it had the representation this movie has.
The tremendous character development is only punctuated by the all-star cast consisting entirely of George Lopez. Really, contrary to popular belief, he actually plays every character. Lavagirl is just George in a pink wig and Sharkboy is just George with some pointy teeth and a fin (in fact, Taylor Lautner’s entire filmography is performed by George Lopez in an elaborate disguise). The protagonist, Max, is just George Lopez pretending to be a dorky fourth grader with a dream journal. Like, c’mon Max, you’re about nine years old now, so grow up and internalize your weirdest dreams like the rest of us. I’m not saying that little douche Linus had any right to steal Max’s dream journal at the beginning of the movie, I’m just saying it was quite funny when Max dropped the journal right into Linus’ hand because he had his nuts rang on a jungle gym.
If you love high-action films that feature a stellar cast and fewer than seven plot holes, this is the movie for you! “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” has something for everyone! It has giant cookies, bubbles that sing a little tune, and for you particularly freaky people out there, a whole lot of George Lopez.
This film is, unfortunately, not on Netflix or any other streaming platform really—unless you have a Starz subscription, which I know you don’t. Only nine people actually do, and one of them is my mom because she got the free trial to watch “Outlander” and forgot to cancel it. Despite that, I give this movie a solid 6.5 out of 7 plot holes. The only reason it doesn’t get a 7 is because there may not be enough George Lopez.