Set in an era where superheroes are commonly known and accepted, young William Stronghold, the son of the Commander and Jetstream, tries to find a balance between being a normal teenager and an extraordinary being.
Max is a normal guy with a dreaming habit-making him a target for bullies. One day, he accidentally summons imaginary characters in his mind named sharkboy and lavagirl. They are his heroes who will defend him at all costs, but when they arrive for real, something unexpected happens, the 2 heroes need max to save their world from a dire threat
This movie makes no sense- at least, not in the linear, neat, tidy, world of adulthood. But, it captures the messy, gritty, disjointed, weird, raw, non-linear, funky, wild, whimsical, internally inconsistent world of true childhood fantasy better than any film I can remember. The story is based off the "dreams" and stories of the director's then 7 year old son. As a mother and teacher, I can tell you that while the characters and situations are unique, they are also completely representative of the types of stories and imagination games that I have heard again and again.
My own children have certainly created their own superheroes steeped in the same balance of derivative lore and imaginative elements that Sharkboy and Lavagirl possess. When faced with similar fantasies played out on screen, my children responded gleefully. Heck, even before we got the DVD home their imaginations had been so captured by what they read on the box that they could not stop discussing it. And, once they had viewed the film, the conversation continued (and continued and continued!). Almost immediately, characters from the film began showing up in my children's own pretending games- only, not *quite* as they had existed in the movie. The characters grew and evolved and were changed and fluffed until they fit seamlessly into my daughter's world of "Sigalates" and my son's "Robotland".
In other words, the film did beautifully what all good fantasies do- it inspired others to create, examine and expand their own. In my opinion, that is a near complete success.
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