Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D

posted by rkumar
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:PG
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Comic, cartoon-style peril and violence
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:2005

This movie spends a lot of time and energy on the importance of dreams and imagination, delivering its message in both form and content. I wish it had spent a little more time and energy on the importance of structure, character, story, and depth.

Yes, of course dreams and imagination are necessary, but without focus and meaning they are cotton candy — a sweet delight for a moment until it melts away, leaving a sugar buzz and a sticky film on your teeth.

Dazzling effects and whimsical humor don’t make up for a flabby and uninspired story. It’s not a watered-down version of The Wizard of Oz; it’s a watered-down version of The Neverending Story, which itself teeters on the edge of being a watered-down version of The Wizard of Oz.

Max (Cayden Boyd) is a dreamy kid who keeps a notebook filled with stories about the characters he has imagined, including Sharkboy, a boy raised by sharks, and Lavagirl, who can shoot fire from her fingertips. Kids at school make fun of him and his practical-minded mother (Kristen Davis) reminds him to stick to reality: “Dreaming keeps you from seeing what’s right in front of you.”

But one day, what’s in front of Max is Sharkboy and Lavagirl in person. They come right into his schoolroom and tell him they need his help to save their home on Planet Drool, which is being attacked by Mr. Electric (George Lopez), his sidekick Minus, and an army of electric plugs. Max hops into their spaceship, and off they go.

The stars of the movie are real kids, not Hollywood kids. That means that they have a nice, unaffected quality, but it also means that they are not really actors. The real stars of the movie are the special effects, which are as much fun as a banana split (actually, one of the best really is a banana split). There are some charming ideas, like a real-life “Stream of Consciousness” but there is too much to see and not enough to think about. The people who made this movie should have taken the advice of Tobor the robot to “dream a better dream, a useful dream.”

Parents should know that the movie has a lot of mild peril and some action-style violence, including getting hit in the crotch and getting an electric shock (no guns and no one badly hurt). There is brief schoolyard language and some barfing and spitting. A strength of the movie is its positive portrayal of strong, capable female and minority characters who demonstrate loyalty and respect for each other.

Families who see this movie should talk about who was right, Max’s mother or father. Is there a way to make both happy? Why did the teacher say he was “an awakener?” How do teachers learn from their students? Families might want to talk about bullies and how to respond to them. And they should also think about keeping a journal like Max’s.

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy The Neverending Story, Time Bandits, and Spy Kids and its sequels. They will appreciate the deliciously silly Captain Underpants series of books. Every family should read the wonderful The Phantom Tollbooth, which deals with many of the same issues as this movie. And every family should try Boomerang, the audio magazine for kids that inspires, amuses, and teaches kids about the world they live in.



Previous Posts

New Additions to the National Film Registry: 2014
The Library of Congress has announced this year's additions to the National Film Registry. 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant titles are added each year, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes

posted 12:34:12pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014
One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think it is fair to say we had more and better choices this year than we ever have before. Here are

posted 9:14:29am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

A Hannukah Version of "Shake it Off!"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NoHp2Rq8sMI?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:41am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans.  I think even Tolkien himself would cry "no mas" at this p

posted 5:47:22pm Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »

The Maccabeats! Happy Hannukah! All About the Neis
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/2wi1H3UnKhk?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 12:00:24pm Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.