Shark Tale movie review, Bibo Bergeron, Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Renee Zellweger, Martin Scorsese, Michael Imperioli, Doug E. Doug, Katie Couric, Peter Falk, Ziggy Marley, Vincent Pastore. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
Rent DVDs From NetFlix Buy movies From Amazon Buy Posters From AllPosters

SPLICEDwire content is available for print, web, radio & PDA starting at just $99/month!
A scene from 'Shark Tale'
Buy movie posters at
Courtesy Photo
92 minutes | Rated: PG
WIDE: Friday, October 1, 2004
Directed by Bibo Bergeron

Starring Will Smith, Jack Black, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Renee Zellweger, Martin Scorsese, Michael Imperioli, Doug E. Doug, Peter Falk, Vincent Pastore, Katie Couric, Ziggy Marley


  • Will Smith
  • Jack Black
  • Robert De Niro
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Renee Zellweger
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Michael Imperioli
  • Peter Falk
  • Vincent Pastore
  • Undersea CGI
    ('03) "Finding Nemo"

     LINKS for this film
    Official site
    at Rotten Tomatoes
    at Internet Movie Database
    Computer-animated comedy 'Shark Tale' sinks fast under the weight of its tiresome character clichés

    By Rob Blackwelder

    "Shark Tale" is the kind of flashy and colorful but insultingly trite Hollywood regurgitation that far too often gets a pass under the excuse that "it's just a kids' movie."

    The computer-animated comedy from some of DreamWorks' "Shrek" team begins with a burst of promising imagination, establishing an undersea metropolis that includes a coral-reef Times Square populated with graffiti-covered whales, Rastafarian jellyfish and one very empty (rimshot, please!) sushi restaurant.

    Then the plot kicks in and the characters start talking -- and it's all downhill from there.

    Blindly ad-libbing his way through a talking-points script (as opposed to written dialogue) full of already dated pop-culture jokes ("Woop, there it is!"), Will Smith provides the voice of Oscar, a shallow, bottom-rung tongue-scrubbing fish at the local "whale wash" whose entire life revolves around his forever failing schemes to get "rich and famous." He's so self-centered that when the doormat girl fish who loves him from afar (Renee Zellweger) loans Oscar an antique pearl to pay off 5,000 clams in loan-shark debt, he takes the money to the racetrack and loses it all on a long-shot seahorse.

    But just by chance this worthless hero-by-default finds himself in a position to pretend he killed one of the mobster-like Great Whites that forever threaten the reef. He's soon swept into the celebrity world he's dreamed of -- succumbing to the charms of a gold-digging, Jessica-Rabbit-rip-off femme-fatale fish (Angelina Jolie) -- and failing to realize the next time sharks come around, he's going to have some explaining or some fighting to do.

    His only hope is a ruse he concocts with Lenny (Jack Black), the wimpy, ironically vegetarian son of the Great White godfather (Robert De Niro, of course). Lenny is sure "my dad will never accept me" because of his non-carnivorous lifestyle and agrees to stage his death at Oscar's hands so he can disappear and begin a new life -- humorously disguised as a bottlenose dolphin.

    What little creativity "Shark Tale" has to offer goes into its amusing incidentals (Martin Scorsese's voice gets heliumized whenever the mob-lackey puffer fish he plays balloons up from stress). The larger balance of the movie is nothing but tired old plot elements trotted out in predictable fashion -- the worst of it being that Oscar spends the entire movie behaving as a stereotypically narcissistic, oblivious-male braggart, but gets his happy ending with one of those worthless last-scene apologies to the ego-battered girl he's mistreated throughout the picture.

    But, you know, it's just a kids' movie, right? So why bother putting any effort toward originality or providing messages other than "guys are jerks, get used to it"? Kids are too dumb to know the difference, right?

    Well, Pixar's CGI-cartoon feature films are "just kids' movies" as well, and yet somehow they manage to come up with inventive, yet unforgettably heartwarming stories -- not to mention superior animation. So if it's underwater animated amusement you want, skip "Shark Tale" and just watch "Finding Nemo" again.

    Buy from Amazon
    More new releases!
    or Search for

    powered by FreeFind
    SPLICEDwire home
    Online Film Critics Society
    All Rights Reserved
    Return to top
    Current Reviews
    SPLICEDwire Home