Film / The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl

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The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, also known as Sharkboy and Lavagirl, is a 2005 motion picture of action, adventure and fantasy by Robert Rodriguez, the writer, producer and director of Spy Kids. The film uses the same anaglyph 3D technology used in Spy Kids 3D: Game Over. The film stars Cayden Boyd, Taylor Lautner, Taylor Dooley, and George Lopez. Many of the concepts and much of the story were conceived by Rodriguez's kids.

Dreamer Max, ridiculed by his classmates, conjures up his perfect dreamworld: the Planet Drool. But he learns that his dream is more powerful than even he suspects when his favorite dream super-heroes, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, materialize on Earth asking for his help. An alien intelligence is interfering and darkness threatens his beloved Planet Drool. On their adventures there Max finds dream versions of his classmates and teachers who both help and hinder his quest. Is it true, as Sharkboy and Lavagirl say, that only Max, the powerful dreamer, can stop it?


Tropes:

  • An Aesop: The movie sets up for a "you need to solve your problems in the real world" aesop (i.e., the protagonist has a problem, goes to a fantasy world, learns how to fix their problem, goes back to the real world and applies their newly learned lessons without the aid of their fantasy friends). The real aesop, however, can be found under "Stock Aesops".
  • Affectionate Nickname: Lavagirl calls Sharkboy "Sharky" and Sharkboy calls Lavagirl "LG".
  • Agent Scully: Max's parents don't believe Sharkboy and Lavagirl ate the cookies despite the shark bitemarks and the melted glass.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: Sharkboy tries to do this to Lavagirl on the ice bridge. It doesn't work.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Sharkboy and Lavagirl are repeatedly implied to have a crush on one another but it really shows when Lavagirl jumps into the ocean to save Sharkboy, knowing full well that this will kill her. Not to mention the fact that Sharkboy and Lavagirl kiss at the end of the film.
  • Badass Cape: Minus has one that he flaunts frequently if the wind doesn't do so.
  • Bad Butt: Minus. On Planet Drool, where dreams become reality, he has a lot of potential for cruelty, but it is deliberately scaled back so the heroes aren't in too much danger since they are always given an opportunity to save themselves.
  • Bait and Switch: In a very morbid example, Max tells Sharkboy that his father is indeed at the bottom of the ocean, with his downtrodden reaction showing that he thinks that his father is dead. However, Max adds that he's at the bottom of the ocean because he's in a submarine looking for Sharkboy.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Happiness of others is considered torture.
  • Berserk Button: Sharkboy cannot handle high pitched sounds very well. He also tries to rip Mr. Electric apart upon discovering that Mr. Electric has killed a bunch of fish.
  • Big Bad: Minus.
  • Big Sleep: How Lavagirl dies.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Mr. Electricidad's name. Probably part of the director's Patriotic Fervor.
  • Break the Cutie: Max is a victim of this.
  • Bridal Carry: Sharkboy carries Lavagirl this way when taking her to a volcano to bring her back to life.
  • The Cameo: Rocket, Racer, and Rebel Rodriguez all show up in the movie. Rocket plays one of Linus's friends, and Racer and Rebel play the younger versions of Sharkboy.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes Max's dreams exist until they see it for themselves.
  • Chair Reveal: How Minus is first shown to the audience.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If you were to take a shot for every line in the beginning of the film that became significant when Max went to Planet Drool, you'd be smashed in no time. A couple of examples: "One more and we'll have to change your name to Minus", and Marissa creating the comic book about Ice Girl.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Max is this to everyone else.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The glasses for the spaceship: blue for the boys, pink for the girls. Unless you're Max... then you get stuck with a pink pair.
  • Conspicuous CGI: A hefty majority of the movie has incredibly obvious and often times gaudy CG models and backgrounds.
  • Cute Bruiser: Lavagirl can lift desks with one hand.
    • That may be because of the wind from the tornado though, considering the teacher does the same thing later on.
    • It actually almost appears to be lampshading it, too, if you see said teacher's reaction to it.
  • Disney Death / Heroic Sacrifice: Lavagirl leaps into the ocean to save Sharkboy, even though, because she is made of fire, the water will kill her.
  • The Ditz: Lavagirl.
  • Dull Surprise: Jacob Davich as Linus/Minus gives a fairly wooden performance. Though it could be intentional due to how cynical and depressed Linus is.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Most obviously invoked when the scene during which the Ice Princess hands over her crystal heart is treated like a marriage ceremony. Much more subtly, however, is that Mr. Electricidad treats Max — a fourth-grader — like he's trying to put the moves on his daughter.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Mr. Electric's tendency to explain his electric-related puns.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Mr. Electric.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: A rapid-flash version early in the movie.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Max has to see his two greatest dreams "die" in order for him to make things right.
  • Epigraph: The film starts with a quote from Lavagirl.
  • Exact Words: Sharkboy's father really is at the bottom of the sea... in a submarine looking for Sharkboy.
  • Elemental Powers: Water and fire, naturally.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Minus is up there with Komodo from Warriors of Virtue, but even more fun thanks to being played by a kid who was obviously having the time of his life. Especially since his acting becomes shockingly horrible after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Mr. Electric used to supply Planet Drool with power, but he got so fed up with all the happiness that he decided to destroy everything.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Early in the film, Max's parents refuse to believe his claims that Sharkboy and Lavagirl ate the cookies his Mom made, instead choosing to blame him. They completely ignore the fact that one has a giant bite taken out of it that's consistent with shark teeth and another is singed. Granted, it's still a pretty big leap from there to "our son's imaginary friends are real and were just in here eating our cookies", but it should have at least been obvious that Max couldn't have done it.
  • Faux Action Girl: Much is made of Lavagirl's destructive power, but she fails to hurt Mr. Electric, does nothing to any of his minions, and spends most of her time in the Ice Castle frozen where it would have made the most sense for her fire to come into play.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Lavagirl's Fire vs Ice Princess' Ice vs Electricidad's Lightning.
  • Follow the Leader: In-universe example: after Max tells his story about Sharkboy and Lavagirl to the class, the next day they all have their own set of boy-girl superheroes (e.g., Metalboy and Plasticgirl).
  • Foreshadowing: Mr. Electricidad says they might have to change Linus's name to "Minus," the name that belongs to his Planet Drool alter-ego.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Cleverly invoked when they realize Sharkboy's vehicle has no gas. Lavagirl looks at the chocolate coming out of the tailpipe, and says "fudge" with the inflection and facial expression of its R-rated counterpart.
  • Groin Attack: During the chase scene at the playground, Max slips on a jungle gym and ends up straddling a rope by his groin.
  • Grumpy Bear: Sharkboy, who is angry about being unable to find his father, the frozen waters, and not being made King of the Ocean.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Sharkboy rips things to shreds with his claws and teeth while Lavagirl shoots flames from her hand.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn't take much to set Sharkboy off.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Sharkboy.
  • The Heavy: Mr. Electric, again.
  • Hulking Out: When Sharkboy goes into a "shark frenzy," he gains his eponymous teeth.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Mr. Electric, number one source of shockingly terrible jokes. It might as well be considered a thunderstorm of puns.
    • A lot of the puns in this movie are dream/mind-based too.
  • An Ice Person: The Ice Princess.
  • Idiot Ball: Lavagirl keeps forgetting she can't touch things without burning or melting them and ends up destroying the dream journal this way.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: All over the place.
  • Informed Ability: It's said that Lavagirl destroys everything she touches, but the only thing she actually destroys in the film is Max's journal. She can even touch ice without it melting.
    • She melted the ice bridge. She melted a glass full of milk. She left burned footprints on the lawn and burned several student's schoolwork. Sharkboy can't even touch her without burning himself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sharkboy.
  • Large Ham: Linus (especially his reaction to Max's famous "HE RUINED MY DREAM JOURNAL!" line). Gets taken Up to Eleven once he becomes Minus.
  • Level Ate: The Land of Milk and Cookies, complete with giant cookies and milk river.
  • Magma Man / Playing with Fire: Take a guess.
  • Making a Splash: Sharkboy can shoot water from his hands.
  • Mr. Imagination: Max.
  • Meaningful Echo: "We're not compatible!"
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Sharkboy who was taught as a kid by sharks to always follow his instincts even when they might lead him into peril. He even says at one point that he can't fight his instincts.
  • Mythology Gag: It wouldn't be a Robert Rodriguez movie otherwise. We see Big Kahuna Burger and the logo for Troublemaker Studios.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Minus and Mr. Electric.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Linus is the first to fight Mr. Electric after his Heel–Face Turn and return to Earth and is promptly shocked for it.
  • One Steve Limit: Strangely averted in the cast: both Sharkboy and Lavagirl were played by actors named Taylor.
  • Opposites Attract: Lavagirl and Sharkboy. Lavagirl lampshades this.
    LG: We're not compatible!
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Zig-zagged.
  • Paddleball Shot: The film is guilty of doing this several times, some of which were achieved via cheap Jump Scares, and a particularly memorable example during the brain storm where Linus takes a brain and throws it onto the camera, causing it to slowly slide down, leaving a trail of...something.
  • Painting the Medium: The spaceship scene was blatantly designed for Lavagirl to instruct the audience to put on their 3D glasses from within the movie. A cheap set of glasses were even packaged with the DVD. The scene is, however, somewhat out of place if you don't have any or are watching the movie on television.
  • Plot Hole: When they get to the Land of Milk and Cookies, Sharkboy says he hates chocolate. So why did he eat the cookies Max's mom made?
    • He didn't eat the full cookie...
  • Purple Is Powerful: Minus' outfit is mainly purple with his cape and collar being black.
  • Quest for Identity: Throughout the movie, Lavagirl keeps trying to find out who she really is and what her purpose is. It turns out that she is not destruction or fire but light.
  • Reality Warper: Max. And Minus.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The eponymous characters, though not color coded as one would think. Sharkboy tends to be the more angry and emotive one while Lavagirl tends to be the more passive one.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Minus, aka Linus.
  • Screaming Warrior: Sharkboy when attacking Mr. Electric's plughounds after putting Max to sleep.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Tobor.
  • Shark Man: Shark Boy, of course.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: When Sharkboy is singing Max to sleep, he either does this to himself, or just actually calls Max a "bleep".
  • Spit Take: The movie apparently adores this trope. Several moments in the movie people are spitting stuff out, from chocolate chip cookies to lava rocks, although most are to show off the 3-D effects.
  • Stepford Smiler: Lavagirl is a Type A. It's hard being upbeat when everything you touch literally goes up in smoke.
  • Stylistic Suck: Arguably, the entire movie is written to resemble the kind of story a child would come up with, including Plot Holes, unsubtle and oblivious morals, unearned melodrama and blatant Rule Of Things A Preteen Would Consider Cool. Not everyone agrees that that excuses it, but to some people, that's its charm.
  • Stock Aesops: Of the "follow your dreams" variety, but presented as "dream a better dream".
  • Team Mom: Lavagirl.
  • This Means Warpaint: While traveling through the Land of Milk and Cookies, Max spreads blue and pink frosting across his cheeks before charging at plughounds.
  • Trickster: The Ice Princess' test for Max (and the fact that she doesn't tell him that only she can use the crystal heart before she gives it to him) reveals her as one, though it's really just implied.
  • Tron Lines / Volcanic Veins: Lavagirl, of course.
  • Unknown Rival: The Ice Princess for Lavagirl. The two girls never even share a scene but Lavagirl hates her because of her theme being ice.
  • Visual Pun: All over the place.
  • With Catlike Tread: Sharkboy's 'lullaby'. With kung fu!
  • Write Who You Know: In-universe example as most of the dream inhabitants are based off of people Max knows in real life.
  • You and What Army?: Played straight. Mr. Electric says this to the protagonists when they declare they will stop him, and a pack of plughounds soon appear.
  • You Gotta Have Pink Hair: Lavagirl.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Apparently, everything Max dreams is "correct"...
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: "Shark frenzy!"

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