That Dreamworks and PDI Animation scored big with Shrek is no surprise. After the lackluster results of Antz, I was wondering if a non-Shrek project might do alright. (Yes, I know that Shrek came out after Antz.) So, with Shark Tale, it seemed like it could go either way. In the end, we have a film that has some good parts, and some bad parts. Ultimately, it’s an alright film, but nothing you can hold up in comparison to the weakest of Pixar films.
To suggest that this film shows the “other side” of Finding Nemo isn’t true – and that’s where this film’s major flaw is. While the sharks (all mafioso, voiced by Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese, and Peter Falk) live in the wreck of the Titanic (yes, it provides some jokes), the fish all live in a modern technological city – but in a reef. Kinda weird, since it should be one or the other, you know? In any case, the basic plot of the film is: Don Lino’s son, Lenniy (Jack Black) doesn’t like to eat fish – he’s a vegetarian. Meanwhile, whale washer Oscar (Will Smith) wants to be rich and famous. And through a series of coincidences and accidents, Oscar is precieved to be a “shark slayer” – and gets the fame he so desperately craves. But, as we discover, there’s a dark underside to getting what you want, and in the process he might lose the one fish he truly loves, Angie (Rene Zellweger).
Tempted by seductive Lola (Angelina Jolie) and lying to everyone to keep what he has is tricky, and the moral of the story comes through pretty clearly. However, the film also has a bit of “urbanization” in it that, through Will Smith’s voicing, gets annoying. And old. Fast. Anyone who talks like “mizzle my fanizzle” and crap like that is clearly stuck in 2000. Ah well.
Hans Zimmer’s score is fun, and it’s too bad there’s no score CD planned. I really like how they made John Williams’ Jaws theme the shark “theme song” (in the film – not just in the score), and they even reworked the Dreamworks Logo to merge right into the film. (Side note: apparently HGW’s Shrek theme is the official Dreamworks Animation logo music!)
While the film has plenty of in-jokes and moments to make you laugh, ultimately it’s one that is best seen at home, and not really something to run out and see.