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Awesome: 26.67%
Worth A Look: 3.33%
Just Average: 23.33%
Pretty Crappy: 17.78%

7 reviews, 48 user ratings

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Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D, The
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by brianorndorf

"When kids write a screenplay, this is what you get"
1 stars

While it’s all well and good that Robert Rodriguez can whip out films from his garage in Austin, sometimes he becomes lost in his own excesses. Coming on the heels of his lackluster “Spy Kids 3-D,” comes “The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl,” an uninspired, shockingly amateurish production aimed squarely at kids and nobody else.

Tormented by bullies, his stuffy teacher (George Lopez), and disapproving parents (David Arquette and Kristin Davis), Max (Cayden Boyd, “Dodgeball”) retreats to his fantasy world where he interacts with the half-boy, half-shark Shark Boy (Taylor Lautner), and the fiery Lava Girl (Taylor Dooley). When the dynamic duo come calling for Max to help save their home, Planet Drool, from being overcome by darkness, the boy is whisked away for an adventure that will take his imagination to the limit.

In Austin, Texas, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez has built himself a studio that can fulfill all of his cinematic needs. An influential proponent of digital cinema, Rodriguez barely has to leave his garage studio anymore to capture the vast dreamlike landscapes he desires, or in the case of his spring hit “Sin City,” instant dirty alleyways and crime-ridden streets. But what happens when the ease of CG becomes too much? When the ability to create anything out of thin air starts to atrophy the power of fantasy? With “Shark Boy & Lava Girl,” Rodriguez finally finds the limits of his digital imagination.

When the first “Spy Kids” movie debuted in 2001, it was like a breath of fresh air. In a lethal family film landscape, Rodriguez’s creation was a satisfying, inventive marvel, carefully balancing between CG and practical effects, and providing equal enjoyment for both children and adults. Over the course of two sequels, the fun factor dropped considerably, with the filmmaker resorting to gimmicks and CG noise for the final installment, “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.” Rodriguez succumbed to the lure of easy digital landscapes and ADD storytelling, removing the last drop of ingenuity that I thought would never leave the franchise. “Lava Girl” is the next step down for Rodriguez. Removing anything that would appeal to adults, the film is a strictly “kidz only” affair, much like the last “Spy Kids” chapter.

Based on the “dreams” of Rodriguez’s 7 year-old son, Racer Max (along with ripping off “The Neverending Story”), “Lava Girl” doesn’t hide its juvenile plotting in the least. The picture has characters traveling to the land of milk and cookies, features some furious roller coaster action, a bizarre musical number, and spotlights a group of talking sharks. “Lava Girl” indulges all those wild imaginative whims of youth unlike most productions, and for that inspiration alone I give Rodriguez credit. This is a brave undertaking, but for anyone over 9 years of age, it’s also a complete chore to sit through. Because the film is aimed so specifically at tickling children, Rodriguez has lost what made “Spy Kids” magical, pursuing an obnoxious tone that is aggravated by some rather lousy performances (Davis and Arquette simply look perplexed the entire time, and I’m not convinced it’s acting), and the stillborn design of CG creatures. “Lava Girl” aims to please, but the sterile atmosphere of the film is uninteresting, exacerbating the already thin plot way beyond its limits.

As it was in the third “Spy Kids” feature, the gimmick here in “Lava Girl” is 3-D. But unlike in “Spy Kids,” the 3-D effects do not get such a strident workout, and are primarily used to flesh out the iffy looking fantastical environments of Planet Drool. Providing depth to CG backgrounds is great to see, if only this were a better film. Most of the effects are swallowed by the cheap nature of the 3-D presented, which frequently renders the image indecipherable and stutters the action. Rodriguez, once a master of the low-budget action sequence (see his masterpiece, “Desperado”), has now become a slave to lethargic, overthought CG cinema, dulling his instincts to such a degree that “Lava Girl” simply lays on the ground, relying on its adolescent appeal to make it through the running time. “Sin City” had flashes of that feeling, but I never thought Rodriguez would give up so easily.

Undiscerning children who don’t know better should be sufficiently enthralled by the colors presented in “Shark Boy & Lava Girl.” However, those who know that Robert Rodriguez is capable of so much more will leave the theater depressed after seeing this talented filmmaker phoning it in for the first time in his career.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12429&reviewer=404
originally posted: 05/20/09 15:14:34
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User Comments

10/22/09 Erika I really liked this movie!!!!It was awesome and i wished they would of made a second movie 5 stars
9/09/08 lil jj i like the movie 5 stars
4/21/08 katelyn i love the songs best but i still love the movie 5 stars
3/23/08 Vanessa I really like the song 5 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK As a film critic, i had to see it. Was Rodriguez High when he thought of this? 1 stars
4/17/07 David Pollastrini Great fx 2 stars
2/14/07 Kristin Stefankiewicz I have an idea for Shark boy and lava girl 2 5 stars
12/30/06 ron steven beautiful movie 5 stars
12/16/06 Danielle santos this movie was so cool i loved ie so much. 5 stars
7/06/06 drydock54321 totally boring 1 stars
5/16/06 Paoal Gonzalez shark boy u are so hot!!!!!!!!!!but I relly did not like the movie 3 stars
4/16/06 Jackie I expected more from the guy who made Spy Kids. Great job Rodreguiz. 2 thumbz way...down! 1 stars
4/08/06 mattew grice i think that sharkboy and lavagirl is the best film i have ever seen 5 stars
2/27/06 someone who hates sharkboy and lavagirl 3d WORST CRAP IVE EVER SEEN THIS MAKES SESAME STREET LOOK AWESOME 1 stars
2/25/06 dupadoit cool 5 stars
2/23/06 kay valentine i want meet with you 5 stars
10/27/05 Jonathon Holmes Rodriguez should be ashamed of himself 1 stars
10/20/05 leanne i thing this movie is the best movie ever 5 stars
10/10/05 Tom Burns Cool scenery, not the best story though. 4 stars
10/09/05 Agent Sands Rodriguez's son is going to hate him when he's older. WHO THE FUCK LET HIM MAKE THIS MOVIE? 1 stars
10/07/05 Teya love it 5 stars
10/06/05 pinhead groovy to the max 5 stars
9/22/05 tatum Robert, every LSD trip does not deserve a film... 1 stars
9/21/05 Fritz The kids couldn't even sit through it. Terrible. 1 stars
9/19/05 Jonathon Holmes Rodriguez should be ashamed of himself 1 stars
9/03/05 homeboy gotta love it 5 stars
9/03/05 Stephanie Throckmorton As with most 3-D films, illusion of things flying out of the screen at you is best part. 3 stars
9/02/05 SharkBoy Best movie Ever !!! any who thourt it sucks is a freak im Sharkboy 5 stars
8/05/05 Zack Note to Robert Rodriguez: YOUR KIDS FILMS SUCK! Make more action flicks! 1 stars
8/03/05 Cin So Deadly 5 stars
7/29/05 dupadoit so cool 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Films like this will kill the genre. 1 stars
7/08/05 jess taylor is SOO hot, oh and the movie rocked 5 stars
7/05/05 Cibeus My daughter thought it was as good as Herbie. Someone on screen barfs every five minutes. 2 stars
6/30/05 gc.hd.hu cool 5 stars
6/30/05 woohoo rad 5 stars
6/28/05 Victoria Sinn Best movie I've ever seen!! 5 stars
6/22/05 nicole i laughed through this whole movie & the glasses made it too dark 4 stars
6/21/05 Linda Tran It was an awsome movie 5 stars
6/20/05 Louise Too dark! My son had to take off the glasses to watch. Bad 3-D; no DVD for us! 2 stars
6/19/05 Pro-Shark Boy Too awesome to say 83 5 stars
6/14/05 Shirin de Silva I thought it was a good flick, although yes, I hate 3d. Saw it three times. 4 stars
6/14/05 matt o'brien this movie this is so fuckin awsome 5 stars
6/14/05 Chris This is The first movie that i have ever seen that gave me a migrane and made me throw up 1 stars
6/13/05 Allan Silliphant Rodriguez blew this by not trying to use the best 3D processing available with colored 3d 3 stars
6/13/05 Agent Sands I've never walked out on a movie B4, but Rodriguez is REALLY testing my patience nowdays!!! 1 stars
6/11/05 Krisan Graves Ouch, the reviews on this one has to hurt! 2 stars
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  10-Jun-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 20-Sep-2005



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