More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.49%
Worth A Look: 11.49%
Pretty Bad: 24.14%
Total Crap: 13.79%

7 reviews, 45 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Astronaut (2019) by Jay Seaver

White Storm 2: Drug Lords, The by Jay Seaver

Vivarium by Jay Seaver

Art of Self-Defense, The by Jay Seaver

Crawl by Peter Sobczynski

Swallow by Jay Seaver

Perfection, The by Rob Gonsalves

Luce by Jay Seaver

Last Black Man in San Francisco, The by Jay Seaver

Farewell, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Shark Tale
[] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"They found Nemo, and he wants his movie back."
3 stars

"Shark Tale" probably isn't a copy of "Finding Nemo," since these computer-animated dealies take a long time and the films were in production simultaneously. Still, "Nemo" made it to theaters a year sooner, did the job better, and is by far the better film. "Shark Tale" is not an imitator, technically, but it sure feels like one -- not just of "Finding Nemo," but of the Pixar films in general.

Will Smith plays Will Smith again, only this time it's a Will Smith named Oscar. He is a fish at the low end of the food chain in an undersea, pun-filled version of New York City. (Everyone talks on "shell phones" instead of cell phones, and they hear the results not of the Gallup Pool, but of the "Scallop Poll"! Do you love seafood wordplay? Hope so, 'cause there's lots of it!) Oscar works at a whale wash (like a car wash, but with, you know, whales), scrubbing tongues. It's not glamorous. He makes very little money. He's a nobody, but he wants to be a somebody. "Small fish/big pond" references are made.

Meanwhile, there is a shark named Lenny (Jack Black) who is the black sheep in a family of great whites. The sharks are the Mafia of the ocean, it seems, and though Lenny is being groomed by his father Don Lino (Robert De Niro) to take over the family business of extortion and racketeering, Lenny is in fact a simpering vegetarian rather than a ruthless killing machine.

Eventually, the fates of Oscar and Lenny meet. Oscar is on hand when Lenny's brother is killed by an anchor, and Oscar takes credit for the death, making him a hero in the shark-fearing fish world. He's a somebody now, earning the attention of a golddigger seductress named Lola (Angelina Jolie), much to the dismay of his just-a-friend female pal Angie (Renee Zellweger). His whale-wash boss, a puffer fish named Sykes (Martin Scorsese), becomes his manager.

Lenny gets an idea: He wants to hide out from his family, and Oscar wants to perpetuate his image as a shark-killer. They arrange for Oscar to "kill" Lenny, who will in fact go into hiding, thus filling both parties' wishes. But of course these plans never go the way you want them to, and hilarity ensues. Or something.

I enjoyed the energetic performances from Black and Scorsese, but everyone else is just phoning it in, particularly Will Smith, who has simply played the wise-cracking playa too many times (though admittedly never in animated form until now). And the fact is, Rob Letterman and Damian Shannon's screenplay simply tries too hard. I note Bernie and Ernie (voices of Doug E. Doug and Ziggy Marley), jellyfish whose tentacles are made to look like dreadlocks and who speak Jamaicanly. The film does everything it can to present them as its break-out memorable supporting characters -- everything, that is, except give them truly clever or funny dialogue. We seem to be expected to love them simply because they're so WACKY -- they're JELLYFISH, but they're also RASTAFARIANS!!!! -- and not because of anything they actually DO. The movie is like a guy who's sort of cool, but who keeps trying to convince everyone he's SUPER-cool, hoping we won't see him sweat as he manically, misguidedly imitates the genuinely cool people he knows.

Dreamworks has tried to blend the edginess of its "Shrek" films with the innocence of Pixar, and both sides lose. The pop-cultural satire is fairly toothless -- do we really need more Mafia parodies at this point? And does De Niro do anything BUT Mafia parodies anymore? -- and the "sweet" moments ring false and feel obligatory. There are laughs, yes, but nothing so witty you'll remember it later, and nothing so touching you'll get a lump in your throat. This one's going belly-up, chum.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/06/04 16:03:13
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/04/18 Louise Super - what's wrong with you reviewers? It's fun fluff!! 4 stars
11/06/09 Jazz loves Will Smith and Shark Tale 5 stars
1/25/09 Samantha Pruitt not as good as it's colleagues (Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc) but still pretty funny! 4 stars
11/22/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 3 stars
8/02/07 SweetPossum people only diss it because of actors. the plot and animation and chacters was great. 5 stars
2/24/07 Austin Wertman a disappointment 3 stars
5/29/06 drydock54321 very entertaining 4 stars
5/16/06 Fruit-Loop Has it's moments but I wased bored. 5.2\10 3 stars
5/04/06 ES 'How to come out to your parents,' the cartoon! 2 stars
4/02/06 JRE since there are so many stars you expect the movie to be good. it's not 2 stars
3/09/06 Dk Amusing but forgettable 2 stars
2/07/06 Anthony A great family movie 4 stars
2/02/06 Mary E. Gur It was a fun movie 5 stars
1/09/06 Eden Puts its actors names before the title - that says all you need to know 1 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth A good cartoon needs more than a star-studded voice cast and a few "fish" puns 2 stars
9/22/05 Jonathon Holmes save your money for "The Incredibles" 2 stars
9/18/05 ryan it was awsome. the sharks were awsome! 5 stars
9/11/05 Harvey Birdman YOU LIAR its the best movie you loser 5 stars
8/27/05 Aliyah Why does everyone dis this movie?It was da bomb. 5 stars
8/12/05 ES A cartoon about how to come out to your family, no where near nemo quality 2 stars
5/28/05 Littlepurch Some of my friends loved it, I didn't. 2 stars
3/13/05 Tamara Burks I haven't seen Nemo so I can't compare but I enjoyed this movie so who cares. 4 stars
3/02/05 Rapunzel Gladstone Furthermore, Allison, the sharls have both nostrils and gills; the bony fish have neither! 3 stars
3/02/05 Allison Lafferty Full of goofs: drinking glasses under water, burst balloons sinking under water, etc.! 3 stars
2/21/05 fiona I was so disappointed in this one. The story and writing were lame, graphics excellent :-( 3 stars
2/20/05 dev good family movie, preferred Nemo but this was still pretty good! 4 stars
2/19/05 april gupton cute 4 stars
2/18/05 Eileen Lammers Cute, lots of fun and laughs 5 stars
1/29/05 Richard Brandt Mildly amusing to see the stars caricatured as fish 3 stars
1/03/05 Chance Lame. It wasn't funny or entertaining. 1 stars
12/12/04 ELI Proof that there is no God 1 stars
12/09/04 Quanisha I loved it 5 stars
11/21/04 er FUCKING SHIT 1 stars
11/06/04 TCIC I didn't laugh once. It was a shoddy merging of Nemo and Shrek 2 stars
11/03/04 Tiff I thought the film was funny, and while educating 5 stars
10/26/04 willjake still a nemo girl thru n thru but did laff all da way thru dis!!! 4 stars
10/18/04 Thylaylii Meh, so/so. Couldn't get over the ugliness of some of the characters, which was unfortunate 3 stars
10/15/04 kait clark funny for teenagers 5 stars
10/12/04 Simon Khalil if the movie is half as good as the soundtrack it will be an entertaining 90 minutes.. 4 stars
10/11/04 Ron L. A humorous propaganda film for the gay movement 2 stars
10/10/04 Tyrantis Why Jack Black, why? 1 stars
10/01/04 Kris Finding Nemo's retarded little brother that no one likes 1 stars
9/27/04 Archanist_101 Decent enough, I guess... 4 stars
9/25/04 M too much happenin, not enough laughs. Snazzy gay undertones, great music though. 3 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  01-Oct-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast