It seems you cannot turn on the television, open a magazine, or visit a store without seeing some form of Twilight promotion. From movie trailers and action figures to DVDs and posters, Twilight has become ingrained in our culture. Hunky Taylor Lautner (Jacob) has been a fan favorite since the Twilight movies hit the silver screen, along with co-stars Kristin Stewart (Bella) and Robert Pattinson (Edward).
But Taylor Lautner is more than just a heartsick werewolf. Long before tween heartthrob Jacob fell for the Bella Swan, Lautner already had seven years of acting under his belt.
As a mother of two, I am subjected to watching the same movies over and over for weeks or months at a time, until a new favorite emerges. Imagine my surprise during a recent viewing of The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl-3D, when I realized that Shark Boy was none other than Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame.
Shark Boy and Lava Girl follows Max (played by Cayden Boyd) through his struggle to fit in at his school. Everyone picks on him including his teacher, Mr. Electricidad, played wonderfully by George Lopez.
Even at home Max cannot get away from turmoil, as his parents seem headed for divorce court. Max escapes his tortured reality by recording in his Dream Journal. He writes of a fantasy world (Planet Drool) complete with superheroes Shark Boy and Lava Girl (Taylor Dooley).
When evil forces threaten to destroy Planet Drool, Shark Boy and Lava Girl seek out Max, the only one who can dream them to safety. Much to the surprise of his classmates, Max agrees to help Shark Boy and Lava Girl, and they exit in a low-budget shark-rocket to save Planet Drool.
With repeated poor puns about electricity, Max, Shark Boy and Lava Girl face several close calls with evil Mr. Electric’s (also George Lopez) henchmen (plug-hounds) and other dangers conjured up by Max’s vivid imagination.
The 3-D effects are few and far between, and when they do appear, it is more of an afterthought. They were not even very visible when viewed with simple red and blue 3-D glasses.
The underlying stories are Lava Girl trying to learn her purpose in life (Is she really bad?) and Shark Boy on his quest to become King of the Ocean. Both represent failed attempts at trying to build moral conflicts into an otherwise entertaining dream adventure.
The highlight for me came when Lava Boy, frustrated by Max’s inability to free them from the clutches of Mr. Electric, tries to sing him to sleep in order to dream a new conclusion to their peril. What follows is an angry, karate-inspired song and dance sequence called Dream, Dream, Dream, Dream (Dream, Dream). While the martial arts moves were impressive, the attitude and singing are quite funny. For example, the opening lyrics are “Close your eyes / Shut your mouth / Dream a dream / And Get us out”.
With bit parts by David Arquette and Kristin Davis as Max’s parents, Shark Boy and Lava Girl delivers a fantasy world adventure that kids will love. Yes, some of the visuals are blatantly contrived. Yes, Shark Boy’s fin is noticeably rubber. Yes, the humor is like a G-rated George Lopez stand-up routine. Yes, the acting is not Academy Award caliber.
However, collectively it is a silly but fun movie the whole family can enjoy together.
Taylor Lautner and Taylor Dooley both received Young Artist Award nominations for their roles in Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Sadly, the film received the Austin Film Critics Award for Worst Film.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rates The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl PG for “mild action and some rude humor.”
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Internet Movie Database website, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0424774/