We Can Be Heroes
Follow up to the 2005 movie The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, where the children of the superhero team called "The Heroics" must save the world and rescue their parents from an alien invasion.
Spoiler Level: Moderate
We Can Be Heroes is a follow up to the 2005 movie The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D and is more of a spin-off than a sequel as those two characters are not the main emphasis of this film. It can be difficult to review a movie where the intended audience is the pre-teen demographic and not being a pre-teen, I need to put myself in to the mind set of a 10 year old boy, to really give this film justice. Luckily, I never matured past 12, so it isn’t a big stretch!
The original Shark Boy and Lava Girl was a psychedelic explosion of colors and 3D effects. It was conceived by Robert Rodriguez’ children and the story felt like it was conceived by a child. Which is not necessarily a bad thing seeing as children would be its intended audiences. The movie plays on the fears most 10-year old’s have. Seeing parents fighting with the fear of their imminent separation, being bullied and being outcast for being different, and possibly the scariest of the fears, being told to stop dreaming, the actual fear of having to grow up! The movie also comes with teaching moments. Maybe your bully could learn to accept you and become a friend, Just because you see your parents fighting doesn’t mean they don’t love each other and most important, never stop dreaming. The story is relatable to it’s intended demographic and with the vibrant colors and cartoon like 3D effects would have captured my attention when I was 10.
We Can Be Heroes is based a bit more in the real world, but also deals with similar themes. Missy Moreno is the daughter of a famous superhero who once fought on The Heroics, a team of super powered people, but now leads the team safely from behind his desk. Marcus Moreno (Pedro Pascal) has promised his daughter that he will not go out on missions. Missy is a bit of a misfit and feels like she doesn’t fit in. When aliens attack, Missy is whisked away to a bunker at the Heroics Headquarters, where she meets the rest of the children of the team. Unlike her, they each have powers. The children all witness their parents being defeated and captured by the aliens and as the plot continues, Missy learns how to be a leader even though she has no powers. She doesn’t just learn to lead by example, she also makes friends, earns respect and finds her true calling in life. The adults in the film, also learn a lot from their children, mainly how to work as a team, and by the end the Heroics couldn’t be prouder of their children.
Both films play well to their intended audiences. I think it is sometimes misconstrued that 10 year-olds don’t have a worry in the world. But, they worry about a lot, and haven’t learned how to express their fears in the way that adults do. I can remember being bullied and feeling very much like Max (Cayden Boyd) the main character in The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. By the time I was 10, I had created a whole team of superheroes and their stories played out in my day dreams. Films like these allow the outcasts to see that life can get better. They not only allow a temporary escape from the harsh reality of their life, but also teaches them that there is a place in the world for them, no matter how different they are. Being different can be a strength.
Both films have strong performances. In The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, George Lopez is fun as the intentionally over the top Mr. Electric, the main big bad. A young Taylor Lautner (Pre Jacob in Twilight) is sharp as the intense Shark Boy and Taylor Dooley is wonderful as Lava Girl. Cayden Boyd as Max is the real star. Max is a troubled kid and Cayden is easy to empathize with. David Arquette and Kristin Davis and Max’s troubled parents round out a great cast. In We Can Be Heroes, the adult cast led by Pedro Pascal as Marcus Moreno and Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Ms. Grandad are all very good, with a special nod to Christian Slater as Tech-No, but the real stars of the show are the kids, lead by YaYa Gosselin as Missy Moreno. Each character has their own fears and failings and the actors did a great job displaying these fears. Vivien Blair as Guppy is especially cute as the super strong, water controlling daughter of Shark Boy (JJ Dashnaw as Taylor Lautner was unavailable) and Lava Girl (reprised by Taylor Dooley).
I am not sure how much real adults (as opposed to 51 year old children like myself) will enjoy either movie, and I don’t think that matters. These movies were conceived and made by and for kids. They are fun, colorful, and funny in a very juvenile yet wholesome way. At the same time, they have lessons that we all could learn from. In an age where everything seems like it has to be dark, edgy, and vulgar it is a nice respite to watch something that is truly light and uplifting.
These movies are fun wholesome adventures that address the fears that most pre-teen kids face.
We Can Be Heroes: The Next Generation
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Acting - 9/109/10
Music - 8/108/10
Production - 9/109/10
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