Is it wrong that I find Angelina Jolie strikingly hot as a
I bring this up for two reasons. First, this is the second
movie this summer where Ms. Jolie has stolen the sex appeal
spotlight from the lead female. Second, it's the character animations
that are the best part of Shark Tale. The animators really
nailed the look of their voice actors. It's like someone stole
the noses off the main cast and stuck fins on them. Will Smith's
Oscar has Will's jug ears, as jug fins. Martin Scorsese's fish
Sykes has Martin's bushy eyebrows. It's very well done for all
Sadly, as I mentioned, it's one of the few high points of the
Here's the skinny. Oscar is a nobody . . . er, a
no-fish. He works in a whale wash (which provides the film's
mandatory gross jokes) as a tongue cleaner. Yes, a tongue cleaner.
He wants to find some way, any way, to stop being a nobody and
move up to the top of the reef. He struggles along at the bottom,
oblivious to the fact that his friend and co-worker Angie (Rene
Zellweger) is madly in love with him.
In his quest to crawl up from the bottom, Oscar has come up
with a few hundred get-rich-quick schemes that he somehow convinced
his boss Sykes to fund, to the point where Oscar is into him
for 5,000 clams. When Sykes needs all the cash back to pay off
Don Lino (Robert De Niro), head of the Shark Mafia, the plot
kicks into gear.
What follows is a sprawling, quick-moving story about how some
people will do anything for fame, the price of fame based on
a lie, and how you should be happy with what you have.
While Oscar wants to be rich, Don Lino has his own problems,
in that he wants to hand off his empire to his sons Frankie
and Lenny (Jack Black). Unfortunately, Lenny is a complete failure
as a shark (he's a vegetarian softie). Lino gives him one last
chance to prove himself. It is here that Oscar and Lenny cross
paths. One mishap later, and Frankie is dead. Yes, they really
kill him. It's been a while since we had a real death in an
animated flick. Oscar takes credit for the kill, making him
the Shark Slayer and protector of the reef. Lenny, believing
that he can't go home after the death of his brother, teams
up with Oscar to try and survive in the reef, and together they
scam more people promoting Oscar's shark-killing abilities.
From here it's a buddy movie, a lesson movie, and a mob parody.
There are some good performances, especially from Angelina as
a gold-digging fish, Scorsese, Smith, the Rasta jellyfish, and
a crazy hermit crab. But with the caliber of talent on hand,
that's not too surprising. There are a few laugh-out-loud gags
(the sushi bar, for instance). We all know this "be happy with
what you have" lesson, and it's been told better. The animation
is amazing, but these days, that's to be expected.
Overall, however, the film is a bit . . . lacking.
The high points are few, and while the film is enjoyable it
doesn't really stick with you. It simply lacks the "oomph" of
and the heart of the Pixar films. I recommend that you either
see it as a matinee or wait for video.