The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (also known as Sharkboy and Lavagirl), is a 2005 adventure and fantasy film directed by Robert Rodriguez. The film uses the same anaglyph 3-D technology used in Spy Kids 3D: Game Over. The film stars Taylor Lautner, Cayden Boyd, Taylor Dooley and George Lopez. Many of the concepts and much of the story were conceived by Rodriguez' kids.
Max (Cayden Boyd) is a lonely child who creates a dreamworld named Planet Drool (similar to Fantasia), where all of his imagination and dreams come to life. He creates two characters with the first one being Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner) who was raised by sharks and his dad. The second character is Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley) who can produce fire and lava, but has trouble touching objects without setting them alight. The two left Max to guard Planet Drool. In real life, Max's parents (David Arquette and Kristin Davis) have little time for him, and he is bullied by a fellow schoolmate named Linus (Jacob Davich) and teacher Mr. Electricidad (George Lopez, whose name is Spanish for "electricity"). However, he does receive friendship from Marissa (Sasha Pieterse), Mr. Electricidad's daughter. Linus steals Max's Dream Journal, where all of his ideas are kept and vandalizes it. The next day, a tornado rages outside the school, and moments later Sharkboy and Lavagirl appear and ask Max to come with them to Planet Drool. They reach Planet Drool via a shark-like spacecraft where Max learns that the dreamworld is turning bad, courtesy of Mr. Electric (also portrayed by George Lopez), originally the guardian of the dreamworld but now corrupted.
Sharkboy and Lavagirl save some children from an out-of-control roller coaster and then they and Max confront Mr. Electric, who quickly drops them in a part of Planet Drool called the Dream Graveyard where some of Max's dreams have been dumped. They find Tobor (voiced by George Lopez), a robot toy that was never finished being built by Max, but he offers them a lift to other parts of the planet. Whilst on the journey, the three form a friendship but they face hardships, such as Sharkboy's anger for the oceans being frozen over, and Lavagirl's desperation to find her true purpose on Planet Drool. They are pursued by Mr. Electric and his "plughounds" across the planet. They plan to visit the Ice Princess and obtain the Crystal Heart which can freeze time, giving them enough time to get to the center of Planet Drool and fix the dreamworld using Max's daydreaming. However, they are captured by Mr. Electric and delivered to Linus in his Planet Drool incarnation Minus (Jacob Davich), who has altered the dreamworld with Max's own Dream Journal. Max retrieves the Dream Journal from Minus whilst he is sleeping, and the three escape. Max informs Sharkboy that his father is alive in his book, and when Lavagirl wishes to find out what it says about her, she burns the book to ash. In her rage, Lavagirl confronts Max and asks him why she was made out of lava, but is calmed by Sharkboy.
With little time left until the dreamworld is completely corrupted, Max, Sharkboy and Lavagirl reach the Ice Princess (Sasha Pieterse) after an encounter with the Ice Guardian (voiced by George Lopez). She hands over the Crystal Heart but they find they are too late to stop the corruption. Mr. Electric fools Sharkboy into jumping into water filled with electric eels, seemingly killing him. Lavagirl jumps into the water to retrieve Sharkboy but dies moments later. Tobor's head appears and convinces Max to dream a better and unselfish dream, which in turn revives Sharkboy who then races Lavagirl to a volcano where she is revived, Max concluding that Lavagirl is light. Max gains reality warping as the Daydreamer and battles Minus, defeating him, and offering to make a better dreamworld between the two of them, which Minus agrees to. Lavagirl then kisses Sharkboy burning his cheek. He shows mixed emotions both smiling and grimacing while saying "ouch". Mr. Electric refuses to accept the new dreamworld, and flies off to Earth to kill Max whilst he is dreaming. Max awakens back in his classroom in the middle of the storm, Mr. Electric materializing before Max and an astonished Mr. Electricidad. Max's parents are caught in the storm but saved by Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Max gives the Crystal Heart to Marissa, allowing her to gain the Ice Princess' powers and freezing and killing Mr. Electric. Mr. Electricidad, Linus and Max all make peace with one another, and Max is reunited with his parents.
In the end, Max informs his class that Planet Drool became a proper dreamworld again, Sharkboy became the King of the Ocean, and Lavagirl became Queen of the Volcanoes (even aquatic ones) and Max is shown building Tobor with his parents and Tobor finally worked. It also seems that Sharkboy and Lavagirl begin a relationship. At the very end the two walk away from the camera "holding hands" by touching the tips of their index fingers together so that Sharkboy hopefully won't get burned.
- Cayden Boyd as Max. An imaginative ten-year-old, known as the "day-dreamer" on Planet Drool. "At first he's dreaming all for himself; he wants Shark Boy and Lava Girl to take him away", says Boyd about the role. "I like that he's selfish in the beginning and he's not selfish in the end".
- Taylor Lautner as Sharkboy. Dreamt up by Max, Sharkboy is a young warrior who was raised by sharks after he was separated from his father, a marine biologist, when a waterspout sunk their floating laboratory. He has many shark-like adaptations to his body, including gills, fins, sharpened teeth, claws, peak strength, highly trained sense of hearing, strong sense of smell, agility, reflexes and swimming ability. Sharkboy can also communicate with marine life and is not affected by deep sea pressure or The Bends. He is also known for imitating the sharks in his personality. "He's very self-confident and sometimes his confidence gets him into trouble', says Lautner about the character. "He's also kinda jealous of the character, Max, because he has an inside crush on Lava Girl and she's overly motherly to Max." Sharkboy also has an explosive temper which is shown several times in the movie, including a scene in which the Lalas are singing and Sharkboy complains about how his highly trained ears finding their high pitched singing uncomfortable and then becoming very angry and going into a shark frenzy. Lautner's martial arts skills helped him to obtain the role of Sharkboy. "When I auditioned for the film, Robert Rodriguez, the director, didn’t know that I had my martial arts [background], and while we there in Austin, TX he saw a DVD of me and asked me to choreograph my own fight scenes", said Lautner. Lautner was the first to audition for the film, says Rodriguez, and was chosen immediately.
- Taylor Dooley as Lavagirl. She is the other young warrior who protects Planet Drool, and was also created by Max. She can change herself into lava, and control lava in her direct vicinity. Her origins are unknown; she is uncertain of her own identity and purpose throughout much of the film. She has an explosive temper like Sharkboy, but is better at controlling it than he is and rarely gets very angry. The role of Lavagirl was cast after the two other main characters (Sharkboy and Max) had already been cast. Her lava bike was Computer-generated, like many of the elements in the film; Dooley and Lautner described the on-set versions of the lava bike and Sharkboy's shark-themed jetski as "a green box with handles".
- George Lopez as Mr. Electricidad / Mr. Electric, Tobor, and Ice Guardian. Mr. Electricidad is Max's schoolteacher, and is sometimes intolerant of active imagination. When his Mr. Electric counterpart shows up he is horrified as he's not a bad guy and learns the power of imagination. His alter ego is Mr. Electric, who maintains the equilibrium of Planet Drool until he becomes corrupted by Minus. Mr. Electric is heard to have a sense of humor, manifest in puns related mostly to electricity. His challenge to Sharkboy is followed by a companionable "Watts up?". Later, Mr. Electric shouts "Charge!" as he emerges from the tornado, indicating both an electric surge of power and an advance into battle. Immediately before his destruction, he threatens the class with "Megahertz", suggesting "mega hurts". Rodriguez wrote the part with Lopez in mind. This is a reference to his television series in which he also has a son named Max.
- Tobor and the Ice Guardian (the Ice Princess' father) are voiced by George Lopez in the film. Tobor is a robot who appears in the Dream Graveyard on Planet Drool. Max had formerly tried to build Tobor in the real world, but had been discouraged by a careless remark of his father's. The name "Tobor" evidently is "robot" spelled backward. The Ice Guardian has a very small role; he is a tall figure made apparently of animate ice and a protective father to the Ice Princess, much as Mr. Electricidad is to his own daughter Marissa. Rodriguez states that he kept asking Lopez to play additional characters. Lopez spent a total of two weeks working on the film.
- David Arquette and Kristin Davis play Max's dad and mom respectively. Max's dad is an unemployed writer. They are on the brink of a divorce. They mean well for Max but are unable to settle his troubles. On Planet Drool, Max's parents appear as a couple of Cookie Giants who live happily in the Land of Milk and Cookies. Like Sharkboy and Max, they are used as sources for a running gag wherein one character eats a mouthful of some substance and then violently spits it out, spraying the audience's viewpoint. This joke, when the male Giant is its central character, serves as a device to reflect his alter-ego's dislike of his wife's burnt chocolate-chip cookies, which are implied to be the inspiration, in Max's mind, for the Giant's location. It also gives a reason to show his wife's empathy, which is lacking in Max's real world.
- Jacob Davich as Linus / Minus. The secondary antagonist; He is a bully at Max's school and steals his Dream Journal. With it, he enters Max's dreamworld and, using the name "Minus" (a nickname bestowed by Mr. Electricidad for Linus' habit of disliked conduct), alters it to his version. He is ultimately converted to Max's friendship when the true nature of his bullying is revealed. The dream he later creates for himself, as shown in a resolving scene, is a superhero named "Mr. Positive", possibly as a contrast with his creator's nickname of "Minus".
- Sasha Pieterse as Marissa Electricidad / Ice Princess. Marissa is the daughter of Mr. Electricidad, and at first the only student who befriends Max. On Planet Drool, she appears as the Ice Princess, keeper of the Crystal Heart, which is a necklace she wears which can freeze anything, including time. Because Max and his friends desire an increased opportunity wherein to defeat Mr. Electric, they request the Crystal Heart of her, to discover that only she and her alter-ego Marissa can use it. Marissa is often kept under very severe scrutiny by her father; possibly as a result, Max has imagined the Ice Princess as capable of speaking boldly to her father, correcting him when he suppresses her. Because Max seems to have an emotional "soft spot" for Marissa, the oath he takes to protect the Crystal Heart resembles a Catholic wedding vow, Lavagirl is jealous of her.
Robert Rodriguez has an uncredited role voicing a shark. As seen in the credits, two of Robert Rodriguez's children, Rebel and Racer, portray Sharkboy at age five and age seven respectively. Rico Torres plays Sharkboy's father. Marc Musso and Shane Graham play kids at Max's school.
It is a coincidence that Sharkboy and Lavagirl are both played by actors who are both called Taylor. Taylor Lautner who is famous for Twilight and Taylor Dooley is currently auditioning for the role of Max in the upcoming Maximum Ride film based on the bestselling novels by James Patterson.
Parts of the film were shot on location in Texas, where Max resides and goes to school in the film. Much of the film was shot in a studio against green screen. Most of the ships, landscapes and other effects including some creatures and characters, were accomplished digitally. According to Lautner and Dooley, when filming the scene with the dream train, the front part of the train was an actual physical set piece. "The whole inside was there and when they have all the gadgets you can pull on, that was all there but everything else was a green screen," said Dooley. Eleven visual effects companies (Hybride, CafeFX, The Orphanage, Post Logic, Hydraulx, Industrial Light & Magic, R!ot Pictures, Tippett Studio, Amalgamated Pixels and Intelligent Creatures and Rodriguez's Texas-based Troublemaker Digital) worked on the film in order to accomplish over 1,000 visual effect shots.
Robert Rodriguez appears in the credits fourteen times, most notably as director, a producer, a screenwriter (along with Marcel Rodriguez), visual effects supervisor, director of photography, editor, a camera operator, and a composer and performer. The story is credited to Racer Max Rodriguez, with additional story elements by Rebecca Rodriguez, who also wrote the lyrics for the main song, "Sharkboy and Lavagirl". Other members of the Rodriguez family can be seen in the film or were involved in the production.
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl has received generally negative reviews from critics with a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, claiming that "The decision to turn this kiddie fantasy into a 3-D film was a miscalculation." Roger Ebert found that the 3-D process used was distracting and muted the colors, thus, he believes, "spoiling" much of the film.
For its opening weekend, the film earned $12,582,088, averaging $4,739 per screen in 2,655 theaters. It also was placed #5 at the box office, being overshadowed by Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Madagascar, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The film was not very successful in the US, taking in $39,177,541. However, it did manage to gross $30,248,282 overseas, and a total of $69,425,966 worldwide, which makes the film a minor success.
The Total Nonstop Action professional wrestler Dean Roll, who trademarked the name "Shark Boy" in 1999, filed a lawsuit against Miramax on June 8, 2005, claiming that his trademark had been infringed and demanding "[any] money, profits and advantages wrongfully gained". In the April 2007, the suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
- Track listing
- "The Shark Boy" (Robert Rodriguez/John Debney) – 3:47
- "The Lava Girl" (Robert Rodriguez) – 1:28
- "Max's Dream" (Robert Rodriguez) – 1:37
- "Sharkboy and Lavagirl Return" (Robert Rodriguez) – 1:44
- "Planet Drool" (Robert Rodriguez) – 2:12
- "Mount Never Rest" (Graeme Revell) – 2:35
- "Passage of Time" (Robert Rodriguez, Carl Thiel) – 1:30
- "Mr. Electric" (Graeme Revell) – 1:09
- "Train of Thought" (John Debney) – 2:01
- "Dream Dream Dream Dream (Dream Dream)" (Robert Rodriguez) – 1:54
- Performed by Taylor Lautner
- "Stream of Consciousness" (John Debney) – 1:33
- "Sea of Confusion" (John Debney) – 3:04
- "The LaLa's" (Nicole Weinstein) – 1:09
- "The Ice Princess" (Robert Rodriguez/John Debney) – 2:51
- "Sharkboy vs. Mr. Electric" (Graeme Revell) – 0:55
- "Lavagirl's Sacrifice" (Robert Rodriguez) - 2:10
- "The Light" (Robert Rodriguez) – 2:21
- "Battle of the Dreamers" (Robert Rodriguez) – 1:21
- "Mr. Electric on Earth" (Graeme Revell) – 1:15
- "Unplugged...Literally" (Robert Rodriguez/John Debney) – 1:12
- "The Day Dreamer" (Robert Rodriguez/John Debney) – 1:29
- "Sharkboy and Lavagirl" (Robert Rodriguez) – 4:09
Around the time of the film’s debut Rodriguez co-wrote a series of children’s novels entitled Sharkboy and Lavagirl Adventures with acclaimed science fiction writer Chris Roberson. They include Book 1, The Day Dreamer, and Book 2, Return to Planet Drool, which announces that it will be continued in a third volume, Deep Sleep, which has yet to appear. They are illustrated throughout by Alex Toader, who designed characters and environments for the film and the previous Spy Kids franchise.
In the first book, the story of the film is told from Lavagirl’s and Sharkboy’s perspective, with at least one new event. In Return to Planet Drool, Sharkboy, remembering his encounter with the Imagineer in the first book, continues the search for his father by seeking to return to the Dream World. He meets a very bored Lavagirl in the underwater city of Vent, where she now reigns as queen, and together they embark on a subterranean journey. They encounter piranhas, a gargantuan red bear, and a city of inhabited by the dreams of bygone eras, where they are held captive by superheroes, pirates, and cowboys. By the end, after learning the city’s secrets, Sharkboy still hopes to find his father, and Lavagirl the secrets of her origin.
Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly praised another book appearing around the time of the film, "The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl: The Movie Storybook" (by Racer Max Rodriguez and Robert Rodriguez), as a far cry from the usual movie storybook tie-in, and also praised Alex Toader's "cartoony yet detailed" illustrations.