Shark Tale

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Shark Tale
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When DreamWorks wants to be like Finding Nemo but ends up failing...
Genre: Comedy
Fantasy
Animation
Directed By: Vicky Jenson
Bibo Bergeron
Rob Letterman
Written By: Michael J. Wilson
Rob Letterman
Starring: Will Smith
Robert De Niro
Renée Zellweger
Jack Black
Angelina Jolie
Martin Scorsese
Photography: Color
Distributed By: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: September 10, 2004 (Venice)
October 1, 2004 (United States)
Runtime: 90 minutes
Country: United States

Shark Tale is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation, directed by Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. The film stars Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 10, 2004, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 1.

Plot

Underachiever Oscar (Will Smith) is a pint-sized fish with grand aspirations. When mob-connected great white shark Frankie (Michael Imperioli) is accidentally killed, Oscar concocts a story with Frankie's peace-loving brother Lenny (Jack Black) that it was he who murdered the shark. Suddenly hailed "Sharkslayer" by his aquatic brethren, Oscar has bigger fish to fry when Frankie's father, mob boss Don Lino (Robert De Niro), dispatches his henchmen to track down his son's killer.

Bad Qualities

  1. Some of the characters either have mediocre characterization or follow cliché and racial stereotypes:
    • Oscar, while fairly likable and sympathetic, is a somewhat clichéd protagonist, as he is presented as an immature narcissist who has a shallow dream of being rich and famous and does not fully appreciate the things that matters in life.
    • Lenny is nothing more than what comes across as pandering to what is the equivalent to LGBTQ+ people than an actual character; he is a shark who is a vegetarian and his father is ashamed of him for being different.
    • Ernie and Bernie, Skyes' two jellyfish henchmen, are very annoying comic-reliefs and are portrayed as Jamaican stereotypes.
  2. Weak attempts at humor which consists of mediocre fish-related puns and a brief scene where a fish is shown trying to run a business for selling sushi, the latter of which would be considered cannibalism if a fish citizen were to eat said sushi.
  3. Sub-par animation, considering that this was DreamWorks' first fully computer-animated feature without Pacific Data Images (PDI).
    • The visuals themselves are also washed-out and rather low-quality.
  4. Extremely hideous designs for all of the characters, with Oscar having an downright uncanny resemblance to his voice actor, Will Smith. For the fact that the facial designs of the characters resemble their voice actors were distressing for some viewers, and it was even considered somewhat grotesque. Even more so than the characters from Gaithers Pond.
  5. The story is very predictable, mainly since it follows the "liar revealed" cliché, and even when Oscar revealed the truth in the end, everyone easily forgives him.
    • The film also has a generic "everyone dances" ending, which has been pretty much overused at this point.
  6. Too many scenes drag on like the characters talking way too much. Sound familiar?
  7. For some reason, everyone instantly believes that Oscar has actually killed Frankie and takes him seriously, when he was clearly in the middle of nowhere with Frankie's corpse and he had no proof or evidence that he had killed the former, alongside the fact that it would be impossible for a fish like Oscar to kill a great white shark as the latter is physically larger than a regular fish.
    • After Oscar confesses, they don't seem to be upset at him... for manipulating everyone, for some reason.
  8. The film's target audience is unclear, as it constantly vacillates between juvenile humor and references to popular culture; in particular, the ending tries to have a moral about tolerance, but gets bogged down by the constant juvenile humor, therefore not treating the issue with any measure of dignity or seriousness.
  9. The "best buddies"-like friendship between Oscar and Lenny also feels rather rushed.
    • Lola working for the shark mafia also pretty much comes out of nowhere and feels rushed.
  10. Excessive out-of-place and pointless references to popular culture, including references to The Godfather trilogy and another DreamWorks-distributed movie The Ring (the latter as a horror film titled The Hook). For comparison, it worked in Shrek and its sequel because while they are funny if the viewer gets the references, they still fit within the context of specific scenes, even if the viewer doesn't get the reference. On the other hand, Shark Tale just uses random quotes from other films, some of which are either rated PG-13 or R in the United States, which would be difficult for younger viewers to understand and would lead them to question as to why, say, Oscar is stating random sentences that lack any context or meaning.
  11. Sub-par voice acting. The use of celebrity voices was also pointless and only used just as a way to draw in audiences so they could get money.
  12. At one point the film expects us to believe that the audience should feel bad for Angie, since Lola kissed Oscar.
  13. One internal contradiction: Oscar mentions how, "Nobody loved me as a nobody," even though there are people who clearly like him, as shown earlier in the film.
  14. In a few instances, the film lacks subtlety:
    • The aforementioned LGBTQ+ symbolism angle has all of the subtlety of a cannonball being shot at your face.
    • In a few instances, Angie says the kind of things the audience would be thinking during those specific moments, notably in one scene where she states to Oscar, "What did you expect? You just take credit for killing a shark and then everything would be fine and dandy for the rest of your life?"
    • Lola literally tells Oscar that, "Deep down, I'm really superficial."
  15. The underwater setting is almost completely pointless and was probably just shoehorned in to cash in on Finding Nemo.

Good Qualities

  1. The original soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer is great and is a combination of rock, hip-hop and real pop performed by talented artists such as Will Smith (the main protagonist), Mary J. Blige, Ziggy Marley (who played one of the jellyfish brothers), Missy Elliott, India.Arie, Ludcaris, Hans Zimmer, The Pussycat Dolls, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Agiluera.
  2. Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Ziggy Marley, Doug E. Doug and Jack Black do a pretty good job as voice actors.
    • Will Smith as Oscar is pretty good as a singer.
  3. The scene where Frankie dies was very touching.
  4. The concept of an underwater city is somewhat interesting, despite being almost pointless.
  5. Some hilarious moments here and there, with some of them being caused by the deliveries of several of thecast members.
    • Particularly, Lenny is actually a likable character and can be pretty funny.
      • Skyes is also the most likable character in the movie.
      • Several of the side characters can be also seen as likable to some.
      • Some Dreamworks fans find Oscar a likable protagonist to an extent.
  6. Oscar gets a tremendous amount of character growth in the movie, becoming more truly heroic and humble.

Reception

Shark Tale has received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews from moviegoers and critics alike, with criticism aimed at its story, lack of originality, amount of pop culture references, and unsettling character designs, though the humor and some of the performances (particularly Black and Scorsese) were praised, and has even gone down as one of, if not, the weakest films produced by DreamWorks Animation.

On {{Rotten|Rotten Tomatoes]], the film has an approval rating of 36% based on 183 reviews, with an average rating of 5.15/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.

Trivia

  • Jack Black and Angelina Jolie both later starred together in the Kung Fu Panda films as Po and Tigress, respectively.
  • The film was originally titled Sharkslayer, but it was retitled to Shark Tale to make the title sound less violent and more kid-friendly.

Videos

External links

Comments


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Cwf1997

11 months ago
Score 2
I actually like this.
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Mr. Dready

11 months ago
Score 2
I also like it.
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Seadragongamer1928

11 months ago
Score 2
Guilty pleasure film for me
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ACoolBlaze5

10 months ago
Score 6
This feels like the Chicken Little of Dreamworks movies
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Mr. Dready

10 months ago
Score 2
I like this and i also like Chicken Little for me the worst Dreamworks movie is actually The Boss Baby and the worst Disney movie for me is The Wild.
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ACoolBlaze5

10 months ago
Score 4
For me, the worst Dreamworks movie is Shrek The Third or Home and the worst Disney movie for me is The Wild too
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LancedSoul

10 months ago
Score 4
If its not Shark Tale, then I say the worst DreamWorks Movie is The Boss Baby and the worst Disney Movie is Strange Magic.
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Roblistic

8 months ago
Score 1
I actually like Boss Baby (guilty pleasure).
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Bluetigerelevenblue

6 months ago
Score 1
@Roblistic same!
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Hookuai

6 months ago
Score -2
Thanks for gravedigging :)
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Bradyreino

29 days ago
Score 0
"This whole film felt like it was on autopilot." -Nostalgia Critic.
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Athaggard160

9 months ago
Score 1
This movie is okay to me.
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Trevor807

9 months ago
Score 2
Rule number one: do not mold characters to fit their voice actors. Do the other way around.
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Roblistic

8 months ago
Score 0
Who's a worse main protagonist: Gene from The Emoji Movie or Oscar?
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ACoolBlaze5

8 months ago
Score 0
Gene
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Bluetigerelevenblue

6 months ago
Score 2
@ACoolBlaze5 How? Just how? I've never seen Shark Tale, but I still looked at a lot of things on this page and Oscar's LCW page, and every bad thing that Oscar did was on purpose. Gene may have caused Textopolis to almost get deleted, but he did it on accident. So Oscar is worse.
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PlayStationForever

6 months ago
Score 0
At least this spawned great memes
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Footsies

5 months ago
Score 0
I thought the film was okay.
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AgentLocke

4 months ago
Score 1
This movie is so bad its good
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BlakeIsHere458

2 months ago
Score 0
Agreed.
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Lelanbkeeton

3 months ago
Score 0
this is a guilty pleasure for me.
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CoolCat56

2 months ago
Score 1
My mom likes this movie and me too
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Pepsimaaan78

one month ago
Score 1
Despite being an underated/awful film, I grew up and loving the movie. I still like it to this day. But I DEFINITELY understand the flaws of this movie.
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Maxeeno2021

23 days ago
Score 1
I like this movie and Oscar is one of my favorite DreamWorks protagonists, but I respect your opinions and sympathize why many people hate Oscar.
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Nateiscoolbecauseyes

one day 14 hours 51 minutes ago
Score 0
the reason why i hate this movie is that i keep watching it at school. i also feel like they think that shark tale is a movie for audiences that like random entertainment

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