Anthony's Film Review

Shark Tale (2004)

An animated film that overlooks the kids and still bores the adults...

At times, I may compare two movies that are linked by series, actor, director, or some other connection. I usually don't compare two movies by different studios if they are similar in plot, characters, and setting. After all, everyone should have a fair chance in telling the same kind of story. But for this review, I'm making an exception. Allow me to make a quick comparison between two movies based on similarities in setting and characters. You guessed it. I am comparing DreamWorks's Shark Tale with Pixar's Finding Nemo. Both movies are animated, take place underwater, focus on talking fish and other sea creatures, and are aimed at kids and adults alike. Finding Nemo is far superior to Shark Tale, and that's all I will say about the former.

The first problem I had with Shark Tale is that the setting is not a whole new world away from our real world. Instead, it's an illogical underwater version of New York City. Despite the fish's ability to swim in any direction with few collisions, the city has traffic lights. I even remember one scene featuring an elevator in a building, because fish don't need elevators. And there's also a car wash. Correction. It's a whale wash. So if there are no cars in the city, would it make sense for the soundtrack to feature a song about a car wash?

The characters are no better, because they too are based on real-life stereotypes. You have sharks in an Italian mafia, except for Jack Black as Lenny, who is a vegetarian. You have fish speaking in Jamaican accents. You have Katie Couric voicing a forgettable fish version of herself. And you have Will Smith as the main character named Oscar, also a fish version of himself. Hell, even the movie poster's list of main voice actors makes this animated film too unanimated.

The premise of the plot is rather stretched in my opinion. Lenny the shark is unhappy that his father doesn't accept his vegetarian ways. Oscar wants to be cool and popular. The two meet and devise a scheme where they pretend to fight to the death with Oscar as the winner. They both can get what they want. Oscar becomes somebody and Lenny disappears as if he has died. Now, something like this could potentially work in a family film about the consequences of lying, but it could still be a whole lot better.

Only a couple of things save this film from receiving only 1 out of 10 stars from me: the visuals, the attempts at humor, and the voice actors. Otherwise, Shark Tale lacks excitement and fun. It could easily bore anybody watching it. Any bad movie teaches a lesson about how to make a good movie. For Shark Tale, the take-home point is that the filmmakers should keep the audience in mind. After all, we're the ones who may like or dislike the finished product.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Shark Tale, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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