Shark Tale (2005)

United States
March 17, 2008 9:25am CST
Will Smith Turns The Ocean into a Ghetto State As an animated film, "Shark Tale" is an average film. It does nothing that makes it stand out or excel, when compared to other CGI created animated films. In fact if anything stands out about it, is how greatly flaccid it is. After viewing it, you get the impression that you just watched a mildly entertaining "B movie". Now, it holds most things that you would think would bring the, ha ha ha. Things that failed in this film.. like pop culture jokes(even if they skew the movie greatly), self-indulgent celeb. voicing (that makes you cringe more than laugh), and splashing neon animation (that looks to distract.. rather than enhance). So they failed in the executing of them, and were mild in extracting our excitement. Looking like something that could turn into "Shrek" or "Ice Age", we end up with a product closer to "The Emperor's New Groove". The Product "Shark Tale" is an animated movie, that takes place in the ocean. In a world were fish talk and have built reefs that look less like the actual ocean (like in Finding Nemo)and more like a fishopolis city with N.Y. embodiment. In a sort of mafia story, it relates a tale of what occurs when a shark boss of a fish crime family (played by Robert De Niro) finds out that his son has been killed. While in actuality he was killed by a dropped anchor, a different story is told since a bottom-feeding fish named Oscar (characterized by Will Smith) is found at the scene of the crime (looking as if he slayed the beast). Hoping to gain a measure of favor with the ganglord's enemies, the speedy-speaking hustler portrays himself as the killer, who goes on to be known as the "sharkslayer". Unfortunately, in his attempt of being witty and slick, he rapidly is faced with the reality of playing a dangerous game with dangerous people. Specially in a world that is dog eat... er.. big fish eats.. small fish world. By the bill alone, you would think that the film would produce something interesting. Big names tend to produce big expectations. Yet here, regardless of the over stuffing of buzz producing names.. the result is something slightly above average. First we have Will Smith who does not fail in making the funny. Unfortunately, The humor is so ghetto and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" redundant, that him humor lacks freshness. Also, lacking any deep feeling, he fails to make us care.. when the story says that its a deep moment. Examples of characters that do it the correct way are, Joan Cusack voicing Jessie in "Toy Story 2" and Craig T. Nelson voicing Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible in "The Incredibles". If a movie expects you to feel sympathy for a character, it should give you an incentive to produce that feeling. Second, looking at the rest of the cast we find that the problem is the same. It all seems as if they are playing cameos of themselves. As if, the famous voice alone will catapult the movie to a different level(Which it does not). To be candid, the real thing it did, was distract you from the product being watched. With major names like Ren?Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, Katie Couric, Christina Aguilera, Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott, and not to leave out Jack Black, you can see where it is that the 75 mil. was spent. I'm sure if they had worried more about quality and less about starpower, they would have created a better film that would have pulled people in simply with a few big names (Will Smith usually does suffice) and good word of mouth. Finally, there is few things that you end up enjoying about this movie. Jack Black despite the whinny voice he used, was very funny and voiced the vegetarian shark in the way that was called for. Also any places where we hear Bernie and Franky (squids) are quite delightful. Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug work well with a script that was not as funny as how their lines came out. Maybe its the fine animated films that we have gotten of late, that makes the story of this film feel very uninteresting and flaccid. You view movies such as "Shrek" and "Ice Age", which try to be pop-culture funny and hold a heart, then view this one, it falls super short. If anything, you have to enter this movie with an expectation that it will be nothing more than average.. to get some enjoyment out of it. When it comes to adults, "Shark Tale" offers as much substance as "Gosford Park" does to children. It does not give you a fine story or a fine dose of the funny. However, when you think of it as merely for small children, it can be entertaining and captivating. While it might not seem terribly funny to them, I am sure that the fine crafted CGI will prove to be splendid and sparkling. While its not super stylish, solid it is. The fish while not seeming real, they give off the same impression that you get from a catchy pop-song, lacking substance but still alluring. So if your thinking of this for your child, it does not hold any major adult content and will adequately fit as a mini-babysitter. ZeN
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