From here on out, I am going to post the trailer and the link to the movie that is being reviewed, so enjoy. I also did the same thing on all the previous films I reviewed too.
My Opinion right after watching movie
My opinion right after watching Shark Tale is that I don’t give a fuck. The story is more than basic, though it is so badly paced and the jokes take up a good amount of the film that you just don’t care, and you are distracted by the bad jokes. I watched this film a lot when I was younger and actually liked it, but now.. it is just so frustrating. They are just trying to be hip and to do what was cool, that everything suffers because of it. I don’t know if it is the worst from a character and storytelling point of view, but it is just so distracting. This film officially starts the Dark Age (or should I say Dork Age) for DreamWorks according to TvTropes.
This film was in production the same time Finding Nemo was and that film started production in late 1997. I don’t know the exact year this film started production, but Katzenberg stated in January 2003 “any similarities are mere coincidence. We’ve been open with the Pixar people so we don’t step on each other’s toes. The film was originally called Sharkslayer, but they changed it in late 2003 to make it more “family friendly” and to not scare children away.
In pre-production, James Gandolfini and Christopher Walken was going to be Don Lino and the octopus, and Sacha Baron Cohen was going to be one of the jellyfish, but they went with bigger celebrities. A majority of the celebrities recorded their lines together.
Hanz Zimmer asked Jeffrey Katzenberg to score the film, because he was sick of composing
good epic films like the Lion King and wanted to do a bad fun film instead.
So after the weird intro of the worm, we are first showed the world these fish love in, which is full of early-2000s pop-culture.
The credits open where we are taken through the town that are full of ads and celebrity jokes, and we finally get to our protagonist Oscar (Will Smith) who is pretending to be this “hip, cool, rad, pimped out” fish who is balling in cash yo! and living in a penthouse yo! Don’t y’all memba when erryone wuz all about being gangsta, hip, and hood in the early 2000s, with da bling bling! I’z do yo. I’ll actually talk properly and tell you that this is a great way to introduce our hero y’all.
Afta da ghetto tough kids tell Oscar to get out of his fantasy, he goes to his work (saying a bunch of awful catchphrases to his co-workers). We are introduced to Angie (Renee Zellweger) who is in love with him. He goes on and on about another “get-rich-scheme” and eventually does his job. Don Lino (Robert De Niro) tells Mr. Sykes (Martin Scorsese) that now Frankie (Michael Imperioli) and Lenny (Jack Black) are going to be in charge, and he demands Sykes that he is going to pay him before he gets rid of the fish-wash.
I am just going to say this now. Literally, over a third of the time frame of this movie is trying to make a good joke, which creates filler and some scenes way too long. I am going to take that out before I stab my ears to get straight to the story, which is not really that much, hence the small details.
Sykes calls Oscar in his office, and tells him that he owes him $5000 clams for all the trouble he’s caused the company and because Oscar is in the food chain. The blowfish also tells him that he has 24 hours to pay him back and to give him the money at the seahorse match tomorrow. Later, he is at Angies place who treats his eyes after getting stung by the offensive Jamaican jellyfishes (Doug E. Doug and Ziggy Marley).
We then skip to the dinner scene with these shark and De Niro’s character tells Lenny (who should have been the protagonist for reasons I will state later) to eat the shrimp to prove that he is a man. He sets the fish free, which embarrasses his father and brother. He tells Lenny that Frankie is going to take him on a hunt the next day.
Angie gives him her grandmother’s pearl so he can pay off Sykes. The next morning as he is on his way to Sykes, eh hears that the race is rigged for the seahorse “Lucky Day”, and forgot everything Angie told him, so he makes the dick move to bet the money on the horse. He then says he’ll be a millionaire which catches the attention of the ugly tramp fish named Lola (Angelina Jolie).
He eventually goes to Sykes (who is upset that Oscar bet his money) to watch the game. Lucky Day ends up losing and Sykes sends the jellyfishes to kill Oscar. They are about to kill him, but Lenny shows up causing the jamaican jellies to run away. Lenny tells Oscar to pretend that he ate him, but Oscar screws it up, which pisses off Frankie who is about to kill Oscar, but is killed by an anchor.
Word gets back to the town that Oscar killed a shark and he is deemed as a “Shark Slayer”, and Sykes makes a deal with Oscar that makes him Oscar’s manager and tells him to forget about the $5000 because they’ll be rich. Just coming from her shopping spree, Lola sees Oscar on-screen, and decides that he is her new boo.
During this time, the sharks have a funeral for Frankie and one of the sharks tell him about the “Shark Slayer” who killed Frankie, and De Niro’s character decides to kill the shark slayer for revenge.
A bunch of filler or scenes that are way too long takes up the next 10-15 minutes, which is Oscar’s party and him talking to Angie, Lola interrupting them so he can be by her, and him leaving the party to “kill the shark and makes a deal with Lenny”. About Oscar and Lola’s relationship, it is extremely shallow and is lust from his part and money from hers (though it is supposed to be shallow). Lenny is hiding from the sharkslayer who he soon realizes to be Oscar, and he ran away from his home because he is an embarrassment to his father and wanted to get away from that.
Oscar takes him to his hideout and tells him the rules of how their deal is going to work. Lenny tells Oscar that he is different from everyone else, how Oscar would laugh at him, thinking something’s wrong with him, and how his father does not accept him for who he is. This is kind of a bonding moment between the two before Oscar finds out Don Lino (finally remember De Niro’s character’s name) is Lenny’s father and is after him. He freaks out to Sykes who is on the phone with Lino and is telling him off.
Lino tells them that he and his sharks are on their way, and Oscar leaves, dodging Lola who wants some romance. He sneaks into the hideout that Lenny is in and finds Angie there with him. She is angry and disappointed that he lied to her, HER especially, and says he deserves what is happening to him, since he lied to everyone and is a sham. Him and Lenny convince her to keep quiet though.
Lenny comes up with an idea that involves Oscar “killing” him so he can disappear so his father will think he’s and pretend to be a dolphin while living in the city, an Oscar never having to fight a shark afterwards. The next day, they put this plan into motion and things are going well, until Lenny puts Oscar in his mouth and is about to throw it up. Oscar tells him to open his mouth so it looks like Oscar’s super strength is visible, and they play it up for the cameras.
He “throws Lenny to his death”and tells Lino’s minions to tell Lino that he never wants to see another shark here again. Lola kisses him in front of everyone,breaking Angie’s heart. They are in the hideout as she is still furious about him kissing her. She tells him that she is a old-digging tramp, and accidentally tells him she was in love with him. She tells him that he is a fake and a joke.
He swims through the town full of pop-culture ads and makes it to his home where there is s party taking place He ends up dumping Lola who is more than pissed that she has no sugar daddy.
Oscar is suddenly in love with Angie and bought her a bunch of chocolates and balloons (how the hell do balloons exist underwater) and goes to work to find out she’s been kidnapped by the sharks (OBNOXIOUS GASP) and they tell him via phone they want to have him at the sit down in an hour or else they kill her.
Since the climax, falling action and resolution is contrived into the last 10 minutes, I’m not going to give it much thought. Oscar goes there (including more bad, “hip” humour) , Lola shows up to have revenge (though she did nothing to get her revenge, and knew nothing about his deal or the sharks), Lino chases after Oscar, who traps him and Lenny in his car wash to have an intervention, Oscar tells the truth, him and Angie becomes a couple, and everything is all good with more pop-culture and bad jokes, and they end the film with another famous DreamWorks dance seen in Shrek, Shrek 2, Madagascar, and so many more.
Overall, there are not much character in these characters, though some of them are likeable and kind of relate able. Most of them just pop out bad dialogue that tries to be current and hip, but they make and like it did with the story, the bad and horribly aged dialogue takes its toll on the characters. The characters are their voice actors but in fish; Will Smith is again the hip, cool guy, Angelina Jolie is again the sexy one, Jack Black is always the weird outcast (even in Kung Fu Panda), and so on.
The animation in this film is decent. I could not find any info on it, but I have to give props here, though not much. Though the fish scales look cool and the textures at times are brilliant, the character designs are awful.
I think they could have done better with the ocean though. There are not much bobbles or movement in the water and such. Though the animation is not the greatest and is a leap below Shrek 2, it is still doable.
Like I mentioned above, Hanz Zimmer (The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt, so on) scored this film, which is strange since most of the songs are cover pop-songs. There songs in here by Sean Paul, Christina Aguliera, Missy Elliot, Ludacris, Mary J Blige, etc); this is when the whole reggae thing was really big and was the biggest thing outside of hip hop. So it is not surprising that the soundtrack made it to #34 on the Billboard 200 and #48 on the Billboard Top Hip-Hop/RnB Albums.
The songs themselves are good, but they are used as distractions than moving on the story. It does go with the theme of the movie, but you could tell that this was used as a marketing scheme to sell their movie than actually helping the story.
Reception at Release
When this film was released in October 1st, 2004, it opened at #1 and stayed there for its second and third week. It made $160,861,908 domestically, and $206,413,111, making $367,275,019 worldwide, making a lot more than it’s $75 million budget. Critically though,……… it…….. did…….. AWFUL. Not even mixed reviews, but NEGATIVE reviews.
But non surprisingly, the box office (which did well, but not as well as the Sherk films) offended them more with Katzenberg commenting in 2011 that Shark Tale, Monsters vs Aliens, and Megamind wont he getting sequels because they”all shared an approach and tone and idea of parody, and did not travel well internationally. We don’t have anything like that coming on our schedule now.” A.K.A, they all made under $400 million in the box office.
When it comes to awards, it only won 2 local awards. It was nominated for a bunch though, like 5 Annies which were for animation and one for writing (snickers), 1 Teen’s Chioce, Nickelodean Award, BET Awards for voice acting, and surprisingly an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. I think it was either this or
It also was nominated for a bunch of other awards that I do not feel like listing.
Like I said earlier, this is considered to be the worst DreamWorks film because of its bad pop-culture references, celebrity voice acting, its’ mob-like story, and so on. DreamWorks did toss this one aside, but it is not as buried in the vault like Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas or The Road to El Dorado is. It is known to start the Dark/Dork age in the less than 10 years old company, which went all the way to Kung Fu Panda (though there were some bad films afterward).
Story = 5/10
Characters = 4/10
Music = 6.5/10
Animation = 7/10
- Shark Tales Lapbook (homeschoolconnection192.blogspot.com)
- Dreamworks Review: Introduction (animatedkid.wordpress.com)