tek's rating: meh

The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (PG)
IMDb; Miramax; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

Okay, first of all I should say (which you will realize if you click any of the above links) that the full title of the movie includes "in 3-D," but I don't include it here because I haven't seen it in 3-D. I caught it on TV one time. Okay, to be honest I recorded it on TV one time and left it on the DVR for several months before I got around to watching it. I do that sometimes, okay? It should also be pointed out that the movie is based on ideas by director Robert Rodriguez's son, Racer, when he was seven. And... it shows. The plot is driven by some fairly simple concepts, and there's nothing really wrong with that. The same concepts have been used often enough, and often done much better. Of course, I don't know how much input the kid had into the movie, but I'm sure the blame can't fall entirely on his shoulders. The writing just isn't that good, and the acting... well, the actors do the best they can with the material they've been given, I guess. In any event, I managed to get through the whole movie, so it's not that bad. I mean, overall. There are some points at which it's kind of lame, and some at which it's unbearably lame (like when Mr. Electric explains his stupid puns). But then there are also times where it's... not good, but not bad, either.

Anyway. There's this kid named Max, who is a dreamer. He's made up a couple of superheroes. One is Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner), whose father was a marine biologist, and they got separated at sea one day, so Sharkboy was raised by sharks, and eventually developed sharklike features. Then for some inexplicable reason, he went into space. To look for his father, who clearly he had no reason to think wasn't on Earth. But whatever, he ended up on Planet Drool (so named because it's so cool it will make you drool), where kids can have endless fun, or whatever. There he met Lavagirl, who is made of lava, I guess. But now their planet is being threatened by some kind of darkness, and they come to Earth to get Max to help them save their world.

Of course, Max has his own problems, like being bullied at school, particularly by one kid named Linus. Also, his parents seem to fight a lot. I gather his father (David Arquette) is an unemployed writer, and this is presumably the one from whom Max gets his creativity. His mother (Kristin Davis), on the other hand, thinks Max and his father should both grow up. So the unspoken implication is that Max fears they'll get divorced, and it seems like the parents both fear that too. There'll be plenty of things we see later in Max's adventures that are representative of this fear, and his desire for them to all get along and be a happy family. Even Sharkboy and Lavagirl themselves represent this in their own way, but then also... meh, never mind. In the end things work out in a way that oversimplifies matters, I think. But then I suppose not everything has to be complicated.

Well, there are various things going on in the course of Max's adventures on Planet Drool which are representative of how he feels about various things in his real life, or it seems like there are more than there are. I think there are just two or three things that each contribute at least a couple of separate aspects to the fantasy. And of course various people he knows appear there as other characters, including Linus as a supervillain called Minus, and the schoolteacher, Mr. Electricidad (George Lopez) as Mr. Electric, another villain, and an ice princess who is based on a girl in his class named Marissa, who could conceivably be a romantic interest for Max.

And I'm not sure what else to say, except that there was a point, just before the adventure begins, where I thought, Okay, this is impossible, he must still be at home dreaming. And at the end, it turns out he was dreaming, but... not at home. It started apparently just after the events that I thought were impossible, so they weren't a dream after all, and what's more, they were caused by... no, no, I won't say, because it's too spoilery and seems to twist time around too much. It makes no sense at all, really, but suffice to say, some of the lessons Max learned... well, they ensure that this movie really is straight-up fantasy, with no real connection to reality. But at least it led to one line from Mr. Electricidad that I enjoyed. Which, alas, I can't reveal as it would be a bit of a spoiler about the climax.

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