banner image

:: Shark Tale

Shark Tale is the latest computer animated feature from Dreamworks. It’s hip and upbeat, bright, colourful, and looks fantastic in the tradition of Toy Story, Shrek, Monsters Inc. or Finding Nemo. It has all all-star cast and one of its directors, Vicky Jensen, also directed Shrek. So, how could it be bad? Who knows, but it certainly manages somehow.

Oscar (Will Smith) is a little fish with big dreams but he’s stuck working in a whale wash and getting hassled by debt collectors. When the son of the shark ‘Godfather’ is found dead, Oscar invents a story about being the killer and becomes an instant superstar. The ‘Sharkslayer’ gets all the material things he thought he wanted and lives a shallow life of parties and penthouses. News of the ‘Sharkslayer’ spreads throughout the ocean and finally reaches the mob boss himself (Robert De Niro). Still grieving the death of his favourite son, he plans to make fish fingers out of Oscar and comes after him with a whole gang of sharks. This little fish quickly discovers how lucky he had been when he was just a bottom feeder that nobody noticed.

There are some big fish in this cast. Will Smith plays Oscar, Renee Zellweger is his best friend, Martin Scorsese plays a debt collecting puffer fish and Angelina Jolie is Oscar’s love interest, with luxuriously long fins and sparkling scales. The sharks include Robert De Niro as the boss, Don Lino, and Jack Black as the surviving son Lenny, who as a vegetarian, is a huge embarrassment to his father.

The character of Oscar is very like Will Smith, only exaggerated. Try to imagine the ‘Fresh Prince’ on Red Bull and you’re getting close. At times, this adds to the pace and comedy but can be very annoying in large chucks of dialogue. Oscar has a few good lines but most jokes fall flat after his big build-up.

Lenny is one of the least irritating characters and deserves a laugh just for his dolphin impersonation. Finding Nemo’s Bruce was our first introduction to vegetarian sharks and it is hard not to compare the two. Sadly, Lenny doesn’t quite measure up in charisma or appeal.

The whole movie falls a little short of expectations given the great cast and team of creators. Kids will enjoy the visual spectacle but it lacks the charm and humour that turned its predecessors into classics.