Film Reviews

SHARK TALE

By • Oct 1st, 2004 •

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Running time — 89 minutes / MPAA rating: PG

QUOTE: Let’s be blunt: It’s a place to dump the kids off for 89 minutes.

Was SHREK 2 a fluke? DreamWorks Animation apparently saw those SHREK box office numbers and pushed another movie into production without bothering to secure a clever, imaginative screenplay that made SHREK 2 such a joy. SHARK TALE is dreadful.

Ah, who cares! SHARK TALE reunites Robert De Niro with his former mentor, director Martin Scorsese! Well, these two should be spanked. I have to agree with Quentin Tarantino’s assessment of Scorsese’s cinematic decline in his Playboy Magazine interview. Now that Scorsese has a new shiny protégé (albeit a still weak and unworthy one), Leonardo Di Caprio (GANGS OF NEW YORK, THE AVIATOR, and 2006’s THE DEPARTED), he has chosen to do a cartoon with De Niro?

De Niro’s role in SHARK TALE is truly his worst “performance.” I don’t mind that he’s given up acting, but couldn’t he just go away quietly? All he has to do is gain 200 pounds and he’d be ready to fill Marlon Brando’s Disgust For Acting perch.

SHARK TALE is a mobster fish movie for kids! Killer sharks rule the Reef and the underwater city has all the modern conveniences of the land world. Lino (Robert De Niro) is the mafia shark “Godfather” with two sons: Frankie (Michael Imperioli) and Lenny (Jack Black). Lino’s chief capo is a puffer fish named Sykes (Martin Scorsese) who runs the Whale Wash. The Wash employs Oscar (Will Smith), a schemer-dreamer, and sweet Angie (Renee Zellweger), who has a major crush on him.

Unfortunately for Lino, Lenny doesn’t have the killing gene. Out with Frankie trying to get inspired to kill and eat fish, he runs into Oscar who is being led to his death by Syke’s fish goons (Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug). Oscar owes Sykes “clams” for “get rich quick” schemes that never work out. He’s irresponsible and, when he is given the “clams” by Angie to repay Sykes, blows it on a fish race.

A horrible accident involving death by anchor kills Frankie. Oscar allows the Reef fish to believe he killed the shark menacing their lives. He becomes a hero in the neighborhood.

Are we laughing yet?

Then Angelina Jolie turns up as fishy femme fatale Lola. Here is another star who has taken a vacation from acting and is doing voice “acting.”

There are enough adult references to give a nod to the parents in the audience but let’s face it: SHARK TALE is about fish who eat other fish.

Will Smith disgracefully hams it up. There is absolutely no subtlety in any of the performances. De Niro still has one mafia performance left: How about a Broadway musical version of THE GODFATHER?


Cast:
Oscar: Will Smith
Don Lino: Robert De Niro
Angie: Renee Zellweger
Lenny: Jack Black
Lola: Angelina Jolie
Sykes: Martin Scorsese
Katie Current: Katie Couric

Credits:
Director: Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman
Writers: Rob Letterman, Michael J. Wilson
Producers: Bill Damaschke, Janet Healy, Allison Lyon Segan
Executive producer: Jeffrey Katzenberg
Production designer: Dan St. Pierre
Music: Hans Zimmer
Editor: Nick Fletcher

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