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THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVAGIRL – Robert Rodriguez, John Debney and Graeme Revell

June 10, 2005 Leave a comment

adventuresofsharkboyandlavagirlOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Director Robert Rodriguez’s career continues to confound me: having wowed the world with his ultra low budget thriller El Mariachi in 1992, and subsequently risen to be a “darling of the cool independent set” with films such as Desperado, From Dusk Til Dawn and The Faculty, he has simultaneously developed a sideline in action-adventure children’s movies, notably the Spy Kids series. Rodriguez’s bizarre duel life had arguably reached its nadir in 2005 with the release of the ultra-slick, ultra-violent Sin City, and this polar opposite film: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Co-written by Rodriguez’s 7-year-old son Racer, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl is an unashamedly juvenile action adventure starring young actors Taylor Dooley (female) and Taylor Lautner (male) as the titular Sharkboy and Lavagirl, the imaginary creations of a young kid named Max (Cayden Boyd), who spends most of his time daydreaming up adventures for his super-heroes to have. However, one day, Sharkboy and Lavagirl appear in real life, and bring Max to their home of Planet Drool, which is apparently being destroyed, and only he can save it… It’s a perfect childhood fantasy, and wholesome entertainment for younger kids, but much has been made of the fact that Rodriguez has filmed significant portions of it in rather shoddy 3-D, a cinematic technology that should have been consigned to history a decade ago. Nevertheless, I won’t personally be venturing to the cinema to confirm or deny this for myself, having suffered enough during Spy Kids 3. Read more…

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SIN CITY – Robert Rodriguez, John Debney and Graeme Revell

April 1, 2005 Leave a comment

sincityOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It’s been interesting to chart Robert Rodriguez’s career since he first burst onto the international movie scene at the helm of the ultra-low budget crime thriller El Mariachi in 1992. Since then his films have oscillated between violent thrillers and horror movies like Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and The Faculty, and unexpectedly kid-friendly fire like the Spy Kids trilogy and the upcoming The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Sin City is most definitely in the former camp, and can be seen as his attempt to make the ultimate modern film noir. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Frank Miller, Sin City is a crime thriller set in the fictional Basin City, the kind of place where Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Hammett’s Sam Spade, or anyone from a Quentin Tarantino movie would feel right at home. The film focuses on three separate stories, all of which take place in the same place, at the same time, and with cross-over between the three (not unlike the story structure of Pulp Fiction, but more linear). In the first, Bruce Willis plays John Hartigan, a tough cop who sets his sights on solving one last case before he retires: to save an 11-year old girl from the clutches of the serial murderer/rapist Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl). Read more…

SPY KIDS – Robert Rodriguez

March 30, 2001 Leave a comment

spykidsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There’s a saying in Britain – I don’t know how widespread it is in the rest of the English-speaking world – which states that “too many cooks spoil the broth”. What this means, basically, is that if too many people try to take part in one thing at once, the end result can be diminished by the contributions of its many creators. This old adage can be applied to Spy Kids, an enjoyable children’s action score which is rendered just a little overly-schizophrenic through the use of eight – count ’em – eight different composers. Basically, Spy Kids is a James Bond adventure story with a difference – the protagonists are pre-teens. What some people may find surprising is the fact that it was written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, the man who previously brought the world such dark, violent movies as El Mariachi, Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and The Faculty. The plot is simple: Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are semi-retired spies with two precocious children, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara). Gregorio and Ingrid still occasionally blast off on an adventure when duty calls but unfortunately, their sabbatical has made them a little rusty – so much so that they end up being captured by the diabolical Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming), a children’s TV show host who is planning to use an army of robot children to take over the world. The only solution? The kids to rescue, armed with a load of cool gadgets and the espionage know-how inherited from mom and dad. Read more…