Directed by Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman.
Written by Rob Letterman, Damian Shannon, Mark Swift and Michael
Starring the voices of Will Smith, Jack Black, Renée Zellweger and
Robert De Niro.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 10/5/04
Here's what I know--if the kids are not
laughing or excited about what's happening onscreen, I know that
something's wrong during animated films.
And, in my audience for "Shark Tale"
tonight, the kids in attendance didn't seem too enthralled with the
goods here. That's because for the most part, it fucking
Will Smith stars as Oscar, a fish with a
dead-end job cleaning up at The Whale Wash, a low-rent service shop
in...the ocean, where Oscar resides along with his friends like
Angie (Renée Zellweger), another Whale Wash employee that has had a
crush on Oscar for, like, ever! After failing to pay off a
debt to the local mob, Oscar has a run-in with two sharks that
leaves one of the sharks dead...the other, a vegetarian mob flunky
named Lenny (Jack Black), wants to get out of the mob however he
can, even if that means siding with the weaker fish to escape his
kingpin father Don Lino (Robert De Niro).
And so on. It's weird, given the fact
that the producers somehow got A-listers like Zellweger, Smith, and
Angelina Jolie to agree to such an atrocious script...and then you
factor in De Niro and Martin Scorsese--yes, the DIRECTOR, Marty
Scorsese, heretofore known to many people as possibly the greatest
director alive--and you have yourself a film that might be a Hard
Vice in many folks' eyes. I sat there for a while just waiting
for something to be funny; I would have thought the people that gave
us the "Shrek" films would have given me something funny, be it
straight lines, or mocking pop culture, or sight gags...something.
Anything! But, you wait for what feels like hours for
something even remotely humorous, and usually, this never comes.
I don't know if Smith has ever been this unfunny; maybe in
West", but even then, I remember chuckling a couple of times.
Even the main plot is dogshit--the whole "Sharkslayer" angle seems
to die in the water halfway through the film, and for about a
20-minute stretch the film seems to be drowning and actively aware
The script ruins almost everything else
about "Shark Tale", but even the poor writing doesn't affect the
incredible animation of these creations. The film is
good-looking (even IF we just had an animated aquatic adventure in
and at least it's easy on the eyes since the dialogue really grates
at the ears and the psyche. Plus we got trailers for like four
other animated films coming out between now and next summer, so it
looks like the future is bright even if the present is fucking
See "Shark Tale" at your own risk...don't
feed the fishes!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard