The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (2005)

dir. Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez is not shy about the fact that this movie is based on the dreams of one of his children. A very sweet gesture, but also a sure-fire way to ensure your film makes no sense whatsoever. The main character is a boy called Max, who retreats into a world of dreams to deal with the struggles in his life. Except the dreams are kind of real life, too? He meets Sharkboy, who is a shark boy, and Lavagirl, who is a lava girl. We aren’t given a whole lot more than that. An adventure to save the world follows. Said world consists of random stuff like giant cookie land and an eerie sentient robot. Of course, it’s all supposed to reflect Max’s real-life woes and how he copes with them. The big bad guy is just the whiny little school bully. His evil henchman is just the bumbling class teacher. The comparisons reveal nothing and solve nothing – but fortunately, Max works through his deep psychological issues with his parents’ impending divorce, simply by imagining them holding hands and smiling. Conflict resolved! It all feels a bit like Spy Kids on meth. On the plus side, the spin-off We Can Be Heroes, released a timely fifteen years later, is somehow even stupider.

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