Who could forget The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl? Planet drool, the land of milk and cookies, aliens! This is surely every kid’s best dream, but in reality, the feature simply wasn’t good. It felt that Robert Rodriquez wanted to tap into the world of Spy Kids but didn’t want to copy the franchise, so he decided to make something so crazy and out-of-the-box that it ultimately feels meaningless. Likely, as a kid, you properly enjoyed the feature as there’s no shortage of interesting visuals, and there are some good intentions with the message. Other than the “you shouldn’t be afraid to dream” moniker, the film does focus on Sharkboy’s anger problems and Lavagirl searching to find her true purpose.
When it comes down to it, one of the core issues seems to be that subtly escapes Rodriquez’s vocabulary when making these films. The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl is so worried about getting its message across that it actually hampers what the film could’ve been. There’s nothing wrong with a film being weird or out-of-the-box; In fact, that’s why people love movies like Eraserhead or The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There’s something about The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl that makes it stand out as Rodriquez tried to do something truly bold, but another issue is that he simply tries to target a kiddie audience. Animation films are generally for children and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not every animated movie needs to have Shrek-like humor, but it’s the idea of going so hard to target children is a mistake. Often, filmmakers use juvenile humor and simple stories to try and connect with the young audience. The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl nearly tries everything, from Sharkboy randomly busting into a song & dance to horrendous visuals to laughably bad exposition dialogue. There was no need to follow up on this story because the first film was a giant mess that didn’t need any sort of sequel. To be honest, a reboot should’ve been the route here as the film simply needs focus.
Movies like Toy Story, Zootopia, or The Incredibles are targeted at kids as they don’t exactly have adult humor like Shrek, but the filmmakers don’t exclusively focus on them. The messages are profound and thought-provoking, the characters and storytelling are complex, yet simple, and the features aren’t built around treating kids as if they don’t understand what’s going on unless someone blatantly explains to them. However, it’s not just the fact that The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl was an irredeemable mess, but what exactly is the reasoning for doing a follow-up on Sharkboy and Lavagirl? Well, We Can Be Heroes somehow found a way, though it wasn’t particularly a good one. Film is always subjective, and that couldn’t be further from the truth as the Netflix exclusive has a pretty good rotten tomatoes score, but at the end of the day, it never justifies its existence. Once again, the messaging is nice, but a film needs more than a good message to truly make some kind of impact. Rodriquez has no issues slapping you in the face hard with its themes as if he doesn’t believe that young kids will understand them. That’s a disservice to children and it weighs the film down as a whole.
Like The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, the visuals are certainly interesting, and the powers are unique, but there’s too many plot holes in this loose sequel that barely features the characters that inspired We Can Be Heroes. Plus, the movie pulls a trick that’s certainly a big no-no when it comes to filmmaking. The journey isn’t even real. Obviously, there’s an important message behind what the parents did to their superhero children, but the investment into something that isn’t even real feels like a waste of time. It’s great that Rodriquez is showcasing the importance of teamwork and several valuable life lessons, but this feels more like an afterschool special that was certainly unwarranted. How can I get invested into a character that doesn’t really go through any hardships? It’s all fake. There’s really nothing too in depth about the world itself, nor is there any interesting layers added to this world. The characters are more often than not annoying and Sharkboy and Lavagirl feel put into this film for reasons.
I understand that this isn’t a direct sequel to the 2005 feature, but what’s the purpose of putting them here when they have nothing to do. Why explore what the two goofy heroes have been up to since the first film? A good movie can be made out of the characters of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. If Rodriguez stopped trying to pander to children so hard then he could’ve come up with something really fun. It didn’t need to be in the vein of Sin City or Machete, but it would’ve been great if the director incorporated the over-the-top madness of those films with the message he was clearly conveying. Overall, though, there was never a need for any kind of Sharkboy and Lavagirl sequel. A good movie could’ve be done, but there’s no need to revisit their world.Spy Kids
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