David Bowie sang, “We can be heroes / just for one day,” but only time will tell if the new Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl film, We Can Be Heroes, actually took a cue from Bowie in the naming of its reboot. Well, regardless, it’s definitely not everyday that we get a reboot from a once-panned kids action flick from 2005, but has since become an internet- and cult-favorite phenomenon. In that way, the just-announced film kind of makes sense. In We Can Be Heroes, the kids have grown up and are now parents. They’ve aged with its audience, which will probably make for a very nostalgia-filled viewing experience.
So, what can we expect from the movie? Apparently, Sharkboy and Lavagirl have had a daughter who possesses both lava and shark powers, according to Collider, and she’s figuring out how to use her conflicting powers along with 11 other kid superheroes. So far the film has snagged a great cast with Taylor Dooley returning as the original Lavagirl (now Lavamom?), plus roles for Pedro Pascal and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Right now it’s unclear if Taylor Lautner will reprise the role of Sharkboy.
The reason for the revival is interesting too, it very much speaks to *gestures towards in these times.* Robert Rodriguez, the movie’s director, said in a ComicCon@ Home panel, “Netflix came to me because the Spy Kids movies had done just so well on their service.” He added, “They said ‘Could you make a series of films that do that?’ And I said, ‘I’d love to!’ It was hard to make them for the theater because kids couldn’t drive themselves to the theater and watch it a thousand times. Parents would have to take them. With Netflix, they can just sit there and [mimicks hitting a play button]…That’s why they get such high numbers on those types of films,” as per People.
OK, Rodriguez did sort of just explain to us what Netflix is, but his statement gets at an important point about what movie viewing is like during the COVID-19 pandemic. The box office, which now mostly consists of ticket sales from drive-in theaters across the country, has had people watching releases of older, and often nostalgic films, including kids movies. No word yet on when We Can Be Heroes will be released, but fun fact: the film had wrapped production when COVID-19 hit, although the scoring wasn’t done, so Rodriguez has been coordinating it with an orchestra in Vienna. I guess that’s filmmaking during the pandemic for you!