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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.49%
Worth A Look: 11.49%
Just Average39.08%
Pretty Crappy: 24.14%
Sucks: 13.79%

7 reviews, 45 user ratings

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Shark Tale
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by Jason Whyte

"Looks great...but haven't I seen this all before?"
3 stars

"Shark Tale" is what happens when "Shrek" is mixed in with a bit of "Finding Nemo.” This film smacks of riding on the heels of Disney's smash-hit "Nemo" last summer, telling a very enjoyable story of a father fish looking for his lost son. "Shark Tale" has many of the same elements of that film, and the timing of this film furthers my point. Not only that, “Shark Tale” has laughs and a great visual design, but it doesn’t have enough originality to make it worthwhile.

Which is not to say that "Shark Tale" is a bad film. But what worries me is this film might be the start of a series of animated features involving animals with broad-based jokes, the ones that adults will enjoy as much as their children counterparts. It’s all turning into a “formula.” Here, the human-jokes-in-an-underwater-world schtick is used heavily, and since the story is set in an underwater New York, it is expected that we are going to see the city from their perspective.

Oscar (voice of Will Smith) is a small fish living in the underwater Big Apple who works at a whale wash, secretly adored by his co-worker Angie (Renee’ Zellweger) and dreams of making it big. When Oscar witnesses a shark death that comes from a shark mafia family, he suddenly becomes known as a shark slayer, and Oscar gets his “in” into popularity. He strikes up a friendship with friendly shark Lenny (Jack Black) who is a vegetarian, who has yet to “come out” to his father Don Lino (Robert De Niro). Oscar is living a famous lie, and sooner or later, things will come back and bite him in the fin.

Will Smith annoyed me to no end in "I, Robot" earlier this year for his incessant nagging to everyone on screen. Here, his Oscar character won't stop mimicking old rap songs, yelling all over the action and to every last character. Less is more. The most inspired casting choice here is Martin Scorcese as a puffing fish named Sykes, which has a striking similarity to the director. Some of the other vocal talents, like Renee’ Zellweger, Robert DeNiro and Angelina Jolie are serviceable, and don’t really stand out. We probably wouldn’t even recognize them without their names plastered over the opening credits.

The animation is, of course, stunning, but every computer animated film is these days. We’ve certainly come a long way from the polygon-shapes of John Lassiter’s groundbreaking “Toy Story,” and my hats off to the animators, but we’ve reached the point where all of the stunning colors and depth of detail need no longer be mentioned. How can it get any better looking than this?

“Shark Tale” has a good share of humor to go along with the splendid look and feel, but it is just too familiar, too alike to the other films from Disney and Dreamworks to really stand on its own. From the references to the voice casting, there needs to be a bigger break into originality rather than just being a little clever with the visual puns. And although it isn't perfect, whether you like this film or not, stay for the credits.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10360&reviewer=350
originally posted: 09/30/04 12:08:48
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/04/18 Louise Super - what's wrong with you reviewers? It's fun fluff!! 4 stars
11/06/09 Jazz loves Will Smith and Shark Tale 5 stars
1/25/09 Samantha Pruitt not as good as it's colleagues (Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc) but still pretty funny! 4 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 3 stars
8/01/07 SweetPossum people only diss it because of actors. the plot and animation and chacters was great. 5 stars
2/23/07 Austin Wertman a disappointment 3 stars
5/28/06 drydock54321 very entertaining 4 stars
5/16/06 Fruit-Loop Has it's moments but I wased bored. 5.2\10 3 stars
5/03/06 ES 'How to come out to your parents,' the cartoon! 2 stars
4/01/06 JRE since there are so many stars you expect the movie to be good. it's not 2 stars
3/09/06 Dk Amusing but forgettable 2 stars
2/06/06 Anthony A great family movie 4 stars
2/01/06 Mary E. Gur It was a fun movie 5 stars
1/08/06 Eden Puts its actors names before the title - that says all you need to know 1 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth A good cartoon needs more than a star-studded voice cast and a few "fish" puns 2 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes save your money for "The Incredibles" 2 stars
9/17/05 ryan it was awsome. the sharks were awsome! 5 stars
9/10/05 Harvey Birdman YOU LIAR its the best movie you loser 5 stars
8/26/05 Aliyah Why does everyone dis this movie?It was da bomb. 5 stars
8/12/05 ES A cartoon about how to come out to your family, no where near nemo quality 2 stars
5/28/05 Littlepurch Some of my friends loved it, I didn't. 2 stars
3/13/05 Tamara Burks I haven't seen Nemo so I can't compare but I enjoyed this movie so who cares. 4 stars
3/01/05 Rapunzel Gladstone Furthermore, Allison, the sharls have both nostrils and gills; the bony fish have neither! 3 stars
3/01/05 Allison Lafferty Full of goofs: drinking glasses under water, burst balloons sinking under water, etc.! 3 stars
2/20/05 fiona I was so disappointed in this one. The story and writing were lame, graphics excellent :-( 3 stars
2/20/05 dev good family movie, preferred Nemo but this was still pretty good! 4 stars
2/18/05 april gupton cute 4 stars
2/17/05 Eileen Lammers Cute, lots of fun and laughs 5 stars
1/28/05 Richard Brandt Mildly amusing to see the stars caricatured as fish 3 stars
1/02/05 Chance Lame. It wasn't funny or entertaining. 1 stars
12/11/04 ELI Proof that there is no God 1 stars
12/08/04 Quanisha I loved it 5 stars
11/20/04 er FUCKING SHIT 1 stars
11/05/04 TCIC I didn't laugh once. It was a shoddy merging of Nemo and Shrek 2 stars
11/02/04 Tiff I thought the film was funny, and while educating 5 stars
10/25/04 willjake still a nemo girl thru n thru but did laff all da way thru dis!!! 4 stars
10/17/04 Thylaylii Meh, so/so. Couldn't get over the ugliness of some of the characters, which was unfortunate 3 stars
10/14/04 kait clark funny for teenagers 5 stars
10/11/04 Simon Khalil if the movie is half as good as the soundtrack it will be an entertaining 90 minutes.. 4 stars
10/10/04 Ron L. A humorous propaganda film for the gay movement 2 stars
10/09/04 Tyrantis Why Jack Black, why? 1 stars
9/30/04 Kris Finding Nemo's retarded little brother that no one likes 1 stars
9/26/04 Archanist_101 Decent enough, I guess... 4 stars
9/25/04 M too much happenin, not enough laughs. Snazzy gay undertones, great music though. 3 stars
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  01-Oct-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005



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