“The film has everything an eight-year-old could love—like the non-stop thrill ride of the Mount Neverest roller coaster, or the Land of Milk And Cookies where you can ride the rapids on a river of chocolate” – Tim Basham
Taylor Lautner, Taylor Dooley, Cayden Boyd, George Lopez, David Arquette
Making movies with the family is nothing new to Robert Rodriguez. As a San Antonio teenager he enlisted his nine siblings to star in his first films. So, it was a natural progression to include his wife and kids in his newest feature “The Adventures of Shark Boy And Lava Girl In 3D”.
Taking a departure from Rodriguez’ dark and R rated “Sin City”, “Shark Boy And Lava Girl” follows a lonely daydreamer named Max (Cayden Boyd) whose fantasized characters Shark Boy (Taylor Lautner) and Lava Girl (Taylor Dooley) drop into real life at Max’ school and whisk him off to Planet Drool. Together they must stop the evil Mr. Electric (George Lopez) and his partner Minus (Jacob Davich) in their dastardly plans to destroy dreams.
Any similarity between the storyline and a grade-schooler’s imagination is purely intentional, seeing that Rodriguez’ seven-year-old son Racer Max co-wrote the script with his dad. Not to exclude the rest of the Rodriguez’ clan, wife Elizabeth Avellan produced the film which includes roles for Racer and his brothers, Rebel and Rocket.
“Family’s a big thing to me,” said Rodriguez who also filmed the popular “Spy Kids” movies. “I like to make things they can watch. I also do it for that child inside me.”
“Child” is the definitive word in judging the film’s merit. Planet Drool may lack the richness of the volcano planet of Mustafar in “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”, and the film’s 3D effects can’t match the depth of wonderment in “Polar Express 3D”. But from a child’s viewpoint, the film has everything an eight-year-old could love—like the non-stop thrill ride of the Mount Neverest roller coaster, or the Land of Milk And Cookies where you can ride the rapids on a river of chocolate. And there’s just enough excitement and danger to put a small scare into little ones.
In addition, Rodriguez slips in some sage advice beginning with the theme “Everything that is or was started with a dream.” The film’s characters inspire and motivate each other through difficult times as they learn that dreams can become reality if they stay on track while riding the Train of Thought.
It may not be Plato or Emerson, or even Dr. Seuss, but building dreams and inspiring hope while having a little fun sure beats sitting at home watching the cartoon channel.
Reviewer : Tim Basham