In 2011, Hugo was released, and it was a masterpiece. Not only were its story, characters and visuals wonderful, but its use of three-dimensional technology made the experience a delight. It involved the viewer with the story and created depth on the screen. It felt like you could not only reach out to the movie but reach into it.
In 2005, Sharkboy and Lavagirl was released. It had none of that.
At the time, this film did not have the same technologies available to the filmmakers of Hugo. Sharkboy and Lavagirl made use of anaglyph 3D – the movies where you wore red and blue shades to make the images “pop.” And we all know how great that was. It should not have been used at all. Wearing the glasses made everything tinted, and instead of creating depth like Hugo, Sharkboy and Lavagirl threw random bits of computer-
generated goop at your face. It was distracting and unnecessary.
Speaking of computer-generated goop, everything in the film looked like goop. Even by 2005 standards, the CGI was a hot dumpster fire. Stuart Little had better animation quality in 2000. Fully five years before this movie was even conceived.
When there weren’t CGI effects, the movie’s practical effects suffered greatly instead. Lavagirl especially looked horrendous. She was described as having “skin made of lava and purple flames for hair.” What we got instead was a pink bodysuit with plastic rocks and pink hair that fluttered in a constant wind, which was occasionally surrounded by a halo of stock photoshop flame effects. Sharkboy was, for the majority of the film, rather well-costumed, but even some of his effects fell
flat. His gills were made of latex which had very obvious edges, and his dorsal fin was a plastic toy taped to his back.
The only saving grace of this film was the villains. Mr. Electric and Minus were comically over the top. They were fully aware of their villain status and ran with it the entire film. The puns were en-light-ening, and the acting was worthy of praise from Dr. Evil himself. They were the only two characters who seemed to have fun with their roles in an otherwise humourless movie.
It was not obvious, this is a children’s film. It had the intention of delivering a moral: it is good to have dreams, but you must work to make them come true. Unfortunately, this film also said, “if you dream hard enough and your dreams are powerful enough, they will come true on their own.”
We have no idea what constitutes a powerful dream, but when we do you can be certain we will be buying up the lottery. The original message was good, especially for kids, but it was pushed too strongly and was muddied on the way out.
Sharkboy and Lavagirl was entertainingly bad. This is the kind of movie for when you want to turn your brain off and cackle at the dumbest things; goofy expressions, horrible animation, and shockingly bad puns.