Movie Review: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D

credit: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D

In June 2005, the world saw a unique, child-friendly, wholesome movie with heavy doses of CGI. That movie, of course, was The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, which also went with several simpler names like The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, or, Sharkboy and Lavagirl. For the sake of simplicity, we would refer to the movie by the name The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, or sometimes with the acronym TASL; this is to avoid confusion with the two protagonists of the movie – Sharkboy and Lavagirl.

The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl was perhaps one of the most iconic childhood movies for those born in the late twentieth century to the early twenty-first century, maybe around 1998 to 2003. Kids enjoyed it, and the film’s target audience seemed to be the kids.

Kids loved the show thanks to its elements that appealed well to children. For example, children love desserts and sweets, so the scene where there the terrain was entirely made of desserts surely appealed to the children’s sweet tooth. Children also have a lot of imagination, so the theme of dreaming and superhero powers sit with them very well.

As much as the movie appeared great for kids, the adults did not like it as it had received negative reviews on sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Now, as an adult who watched TASL when he was a kid, I will try to critique the movie – its themes, its story, and its message. We will ignore technical aspects like the script and the CGI as they would not find their place so well in the world today but could have gone well back then.


credit: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D


The movie is your typical “the bullied was kind to the bully, so the bully changed his heart” movie but with extra steps

The story of the movie was bland in itself as number one; it rarely happened in real life, and number two, the reason it rarely happened is that children did not care if someone was against their dreams, maybe the next month or two. They might have fought today, and the dispute would have dissipated next year. There was no need to escalate the movie with events that merged imaginary beings with real-life beings. However, the movie wouldn’t have the plot to capitalize on if it did not escalate. So I would give it a pass.

But this escalation was great because it explored the possibility where imagination converges with reality. While children would dream that their dreams come true, TASL showed that it was possible that the dreams would come true, like Sharkboy’s bike or the banana split boat. It showed the viewers an alternate version of reality, his dreams, which he could interact with. It also went to show that at the back of someone’s mind, a person could have different personas. This was shown in the dream world, where his bully was an antagonist, and his teacher was a villain.


credit: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D


There are plot points that did not make sense

Now, we’ll head on to the negative aspects of the story. First off, Sharkboy’s origin story. I understand that sea animals raised him; this was similar to Tarzan was raised by jungle animals. However, Sharkboy couldn’t develop a shark fin and gills. Evolution is one thing, and adoption is another. He could have had larger lungs to allow him to hold his breath longer underwater, but not entire shark limbs. Now, I don’t have a degree in biology, so please take this with a grain of salt.

Lavagirl often expressed her desire to find her purpose in life in the movie. She hated that the only thing she could do was destroy everything she touched. An example of this was when she was excited to read Max’s journal to read her story (after Max revealed Sharkboy his full story), but when she held the notebook in her hands, it disintegrated into ash.

That’s understandable because she was made of fire. I did not understand how Max’s hand did not get burned when he was using Lavagirl’s hand to draw the heart in the snow. Or did Max’s butt not suffer third-degree burns when Lavagirl shot lava at it to wake him up?

I want answers.

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