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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 action/adventure/fantasy film by Robert Rodriguez, the writer, producer, and director of Spy Kids, and uses the same anaglyph 3D technology used in Spy Kids 3-D: 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.

Daydreamy 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 superheroes, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, materialize on Earth asking for his help. An alien intelligence is interfering with his dream utopia, and darkness threatens his beloved Planet Drool. On their adventures there, Max encounters 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 most powerful dreamer, can stop it?

In 2020, Rodriguez revealed that Alternate Universe versions of Sharkboy and Lavagirl would appear in his then-upcoming superhero film We Can Be Heroes (2020), grown up and with a daughter. The film was released on Netflix on Christmas Day of the same year.


  • Accidental Misnaming: Max's dad mixes-up Sharkboy and Lavagirl's names and refers to them as "Sharkgirl" and "Lavaboy" while talking to his son.
  • 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 "L.G.".
  • Agent Scully: Max's parents don't believe Sharkboy and Lavagirl ate the cookies, despite the obvious shark bitemarks, scorched cookies, and superheated glass.
  • Amazing Technicolor World: Planet Drool. Justified, since it's the embodiment of all of Max's dreams.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: Sharkboy tries to do this to Lavagirl on the ice bridge. It doesn't work.
  • Arc Words: "Dream" and "Imagination." Get ready to hear these two words a lot.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Barely anything about the portrayal of sharks in the movie is correct. Considering that Max is, at most, ten, and came up with his imaginary friends quite a while ago, this makes sense; Sharkboy and his sharks are based on a child's knowledge and ideas of what's cool.
  • Aw, 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 it 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 isn't already dramatically whipping it around.
  • 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, and 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.
  • Bathtub Mermaid: Max relates a story about meeting Sharkboy and keeping him submerged in his shower, which had been converted into a fish tank. However, Sharkboy can walk and breathe on land, and later in the movie it's shown he can't stay underwater forever, or he'll drown.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Mr. Electric considers the happiness of others to be 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.
    • Mr. Electric takes this position over when Minus does a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Big Sleep: This is 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, director Robert Rodriguez's sons, 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's identity is first unveiled to the audience.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Sharkboy apparently grew gills, shark teeth, and fins due to his upbringing by sharks. It makes about as much sense as anything else in the movie.
  • Chekhov's Gun: If you were to take a shot for every line in the beginning of the film that became significant after Max goes 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".
    • Marissa creating the comic book about Ice Girl.
    • One of the biggest is the Crystal Heart. Marissa first comes up with it as the source of power for her ice-themed superhero, then it becomes a Macguffin on Planet Drool for its power to stop time... which fizzles out, since only the Ice Princess can use it. The Heart then gets seemingly forgotten about until Mr. Electric shows up on Earth and Max gives it to Marissa, who uses it to defeat him.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Max is this to everyone else. All of his classmates jeer and taunt him for telling a made-up story for the summer vacation report.
  • 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 the earlier feat too, if you see Mr. Electricidad's reaction to it.
  • Disney Death: Both Sharkboy and Lavagirl suffer this fate, courtesy of Mr Electric. It's later revealed that Sharkboy was just unconscious when he wakes up and takes Lavagirl to the volcano to revive her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Linus calling for Max to be expelled because he got called out for ruining Max's dream journal is more than a bit much, even if he does get nailed in the back of the head with said journal. Mr. Electricidad, for his part, just sends them both to the principal out of spite for them disrupting his classroom, while screaming at and demeaning both of them with his Inferiority Superiority Complex suddenly flaring.
  • The Ditz: Lavagirl.
  • Dull Surprise: Jacob Davich as Linus/Minus gives a fairly wooden performance (that is, when he's not hamming it up). However, this could have been intentional due to how cynical and depressed Linus is.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: This is most obviously invoked during the scene where the Ice Princess hands over her crystal heart, which is treated like a marriage ceremony, complete with "I do". 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 to Minus. Minus gives the orders, and Mr. Electric is the one to actually hunt down our heroes and impede their progress.
  • 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.
  • Elemental Powers: Water, fire, ice, and lightning.
  • Epigraph: The film starts with a quote from Lavagirl.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words:
    • Sharkboy's father really is at the bottom of the sea... in a submarine looking for Sharkboy.
    • Tobor the giant robot when found can only move his eyes and mouth. Once those parts are detached from his body they can move anywhere they want and carry people with them.
  • 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, where it would have made the most sense for her fire to come into play, frozen solid, though she did mention that her powers were weakening
  • Fisher King: Planet Drool was dreamt by Max as a place of brightness and fun for kids. However, once Linus gets ahold of his dream journal, he effectively takes it over as Minus and turns it into a dark, bleak place.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Lavagirl's Fire vs Ice Princess' Ice vs Mr. Electric's Lightning.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: You have three guesses, and the first two don't count.
  • Follow the Leader: An 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 of his Planet Drool alter-ego.
    • Mr. Electricidad reminds the class that his name is not Mr. Electric, the name of his Evil Counterpart. He also mentions losing his train of thought, which becomes literal later.
  • Fourth Wall Shut-In Story: Max creates Planet Drool and its inhabitants in his imagination and records information about them in his dream journal. The villain steals the dream journal, uses it to make Max's dream world come into existence, and takes control of it. Max has to journey to Planet Drool on a quest to stop him.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Cleverly invoked when the main trio 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.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Both Sharkboy and Lavagirl become jealous whenever the other gives attention to someone of the opposite gender. Sharkboy is harsh and nearly violent towards Max because of Lavagirl's affection towards and belief in Max. In return, Lavagirl burns Sharkboy when he comments on the Ice Princess' beauty.
  • Groin Attack: During the chase scene at the playground, Max slips on a piece of climbing equipment and ends up straddling a rope by his groin.
  • 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, although, in a twist on the trope, he was born fully human, and only became a hybrid after being apparently orphaned and raised by non-humans.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: The scene where Max finds out Linus ruined his dream journal, in which Cayden Boyd, Jacob Davich, and George Lopez all try to out-ham each other in spectacular fashion.
  • The Heavy: Mr. Electric, again.
  • Heel Realization: Mr. Electricidad is shocked to find out Max reimagined him as the villainous Mr. Electric, defensively stating that he's not a bad guy. Justified, however, in that Electricidad's bullying his students whether he admits it to himself or not.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lavagirl leaps into the ocean to save Sharkboy, even though, because she is made of fire, the water will kill her. Thankfully, it's not permanent.
  • Hulking Out: When Sharkboy goes into a "shark frenzy," he gains his multi-layered teeth of his namesake.
  • 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. The fight between Minus and Max in particular is full of them.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When crossing the ice bridge, Max starts to shout to a sleepwalking Lavagirl that Mr. Electric's Plughounds are catching up to them. Sharkboy quickly slaps a hand over his mouth, reminding Max that waking Lavagirl up would melt the bridge. One Beat later, Sharkboy screams even louder about the Plughounds and wakes Lavagirl anyway.
  • An Ice Person: The Ice Princess has, you guessed it, the ability to summon and control ice.
  • Idiot Ball: Lavagirl keeps forgetting she can't touch things without burning or melting them, and ends up destroying the dream journal this way.
  • Intentional Mess Making: When Linus reluctantly gives Max his dream journal back, Max finds that the former has scribbled all over it. This all leads up to some Ham-to-Ham Combat between the two boys and their teacher Mr. Electricidad, culminating in Max standing up and shouting, "HE RUINED MY DREAM JOURNAL!"
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sharkboy.
  • Large Ham: Linus can bring the ham at times, especially his reaction to Max's "HE RUINED MY DREAM JOURNAL!" line. It gets exaggerated once he becomes Minus.
  • Level Ate: The Land of Milk and Cookies, complete with giant cookies and milk river.
  • Lord of the Ocean: Sharkboy discovers his true potential when Max revives him with an unselfish dream; leader of the sharks and king of the ocean.
  • Magma Man / Playing with Fire: Take a guess who has this power.
  • Making a Splash: Sharkboy can shoot water from his hands.
  • Mr. Imagination: Max. In fact, the plot of the movie exists entirely because he's one, and created Lavagirl and Sharkboy to keep him company in his dreams.
  • Meaningful Echo: "We're not compatible!"
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Sharkboy 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, and at one point, he justifies a deduction with "My instincts tell me so."
  • Mythology Gag: It wouldn't be a Robert Rodriguez movie otherwise. We see Big Kahuna Burger and the logo for Troublemaker Studios.
  • Nails on a Blackboard: When Sharkboy and Lavagirl are in Max's classroom, Sharkboy rakes his claws over the blackboard to draw a map to Planet Drool, making the whole class cover their ears.
  • 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. Not that he could've done much, but still.
  • Oh, Crap!: Max and Sharkboy's reaction when Lavagirl wakes up on the ice bridge.
  • Only Friend: Marissa is the only one who believes in Max's stories at first, making her the closest thing he has to a friend at school.
  • Opposites Attract: Lavagirl and Sharkboy. Lavagirl lampshades this.
    LG: We're not compatible!
  • Paddleball Shot: The film is guilty of doing this several times, some of which are cheap Jump Scares, and there's 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 is 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 feels, however, somewhat out of place if you don't have any or are watching the movie in the privacy of your own home.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The glasses on the spaceship: blue for the boys, pink for the girls. Unless you're Max... then you get stuck with a pink pair. Also, Sharkboy's blueish-grey color scheme contrasting with Lavagirl's bright pink outfit and hair.
  • 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?
  • Power Stereotype Flip: Lavagirl is a Fiery Stoic; Sharkboy's Hair-Trigger Temper isn't something you'd expect of someone who's normally Making a Splash.
  • Punny Name: At Mount Never Rest, nothing stops; once you get on something, you can't get off.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Minus' outfit is mainly purple, with his cape and collar being black — fittingly for the first Big Bad.
  • 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's not destruction or fire like she thinks she is, but light.
  • Reality Warper: Max. After all, Planet Drool is a place of his dreams; if he can dream it, he can will it into existence there. Minus becomes one as well after reading Max's dream journal.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The eponymous characters, though not color-coded as one would think. The blue Sharkboy tends to be the more angry and emotive one, while the pink Lavagirl tends to be the more passive one.
  • Rousing Lullaby: At one point, Sharkboy has to sing a lullaby so Max can fall asleep and have a dream. It starts out slowly, but he soon gets into the song and sings really energetically and aggressively, and Lavagirl yells at him for giving Max nightmares.
    Just relax, lay about
    Or my fist will put you out
  • Screaming Warrior: Sharkboy when attacking Mr. Electric's Plughounds after putting Max to sleep. Max also does this against the Plughounds at one point. He actually holds his own... for all of ten seconds.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Tobor the half-finished robot.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Taylor Lautner Is About to Punch the Person on Your Left, While Taylor Dooley Shoots Lava at the Person to Your Right!
  • Shark Man: Sharkboy, of course.
  • Short Screentime for Reality: The heroes adventure all around Planet Drool, a planet literally made of things created in Max's head, in order to save it from the nefarious destructive schemes of Minus and Mr. Electric. The real world is limited to Max's school and home, which are right across the street from each other.
  • 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 adores this trope. Several moments in the movie have people spitting stuff out, from chocolate chip cookies to lava rocks, although most are done 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: The story was mostly written by Robert Rodriguez's kids, so naturally this is reflected in its overall quality: flimsy plot, childish melodrama, and a heavy dose of things that a preteen (and pretty much no one else) would consider cool.
  • Stock Aesops: The film's message is of the "follow your dreams" variety, presented as "dream a better dream." If you can imagine a better world, then it is your moral duty to make it come true.
  • Team Mom: Lavagirl. She keeps the impulsive Sharkboy on track, and corrals Max when his ignorance leads him astray.
  • This Means Warpaint: While traveling through the Land of Milk and Cookies, Max spreads blue and pink frosting across his cheeks before charging at the horde of Plughounds.
  • The Trickster: The Ice Princess' test for Max (despite the fact that she did 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Max becomes a lot stronger and more confident after awakening his dream powers once Lavagirl is revived.
  • Tron Lines: Lavagirl has versions of these made of molten lava (naturally) on her suit.
  • Unknown Rival: Lavagirl for the Ice Princess. The two girls never even share a scene (due to Lavagirl being frozen solid for the Princess's two or so minutes of screentime), and the Ice Princess never even mentions Lavagirl, but Lavagirl hates her because of her theme being ice while hers is fire.
  • Visual Pun: All over the place, naturally, for the physical manifestation of Max's abstract subconscious.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Lavagirl tends to destroy anything she touches. Over the course of the movie, she melts a glass full of milk, leaves burnt footprints on Max's lawn, burns several students' papers, melts an ice bridge (but can somehow walk on solid ice without melting it), and accidentally incinerates Max's dream journal. Sharkboy can't even touch her without burning himself.
  • Water Is Womanly: Inverted. Between the titular superheroes, Sharkboy is the one associated with water (although the association mostly comes from his shark theme, which is fitting for his temperamental attitude), and Lavagirl is associated with fire, but she's more calm and gentle.
  • With Catlike Tread: Sharkboy's 'lullaby'. With kung fu!
  • Write Who You Know: An in-universe example, as most of the dream world 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 immediately lopes up to serve as his army.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Max's dreams allow him to create the entire world of Planet Drool, which means he's basically a full-on Reality Warper while he's actually on the planet. Unfortunately, this also means that inhabitants of Drool like Mr. Electric can travel to Earth and manifest themselves in the real world.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: "Shark frenzy!" Sharkboy then proceeds to Hulk Out, ripping through iron bars with his teeth and hands like they're warm butter.

Max: He ruined my trope page!!!
Linus: I did NOT! Mr. Electric, report him to the mods and have him BANNED!


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Alternative Title(s): Sharkboy And Lavagirl




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