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

Interviews: "Art and Craft's" Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman
The documentary "Art and Craft" is the extraordinary story of two men.  One is Mark Landis, an artist who created counterfeit paintings and then disguised himself as various philanthropist personas and donated them to art museums over three decades.  The other is Matt Leininger, registrar at the

posted 8:00:06am Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Is This the End of Television?
Last week both cable giant HBO and broadcast giant CBS made announcements that signal the end of television as we know it.  Both responded to the clear message of the market and said that they would make their content available in the form and via the delivery system consumers prefer -- the interne

posted 3:24:08pm Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Dylan Baker on Directing for the First Time in the Fact-Based High School Football Movie "23 Blast"
Dylan Baker is probably best remembered for playing some of the most horrific villains imaginable ("The Good Wife," "Happiness").  But his extensive career has included wild comedies ("Planes, Trai

posted 8:00:11am Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Best Movies About Writers
Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It's always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty and eloquent. Movies are written by writers, so they have some insight and appreciatio

posted 3:37:07pm Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Great News About Now You See Me 2
You didn't think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, and Woody Harrelson, are back, alo

posted 8:00:59am Oct. 21, 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.