Starring: Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Jack Black
Director: Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman
Running Time: 90 mins
Shark Tale is an American film about a small fish and a vegetarian shark who, after witnessing the death of a mobster shark’s son, use the situation to their own advantage.
There’s no reason to hate this movie, because it’s not awful. However, there’s very little that I found enabling me to like it. Its comedy is totally flat, the animation isn’t really up to 2004 standards, the performances sound very phoned in, and the story is very generic. As a simple thing to put on the TV for the kids to watch, it’s fine, but it’s not something that anyone will remember the day after they see it.
Before I get into the many reasons that this is such a mediocre film, I’ve got to say that its light-hearted atmosphere, with a really good soundtrack and a small handful of chuckles, did make it far more enjoyable than it could have been. Despite being totally sub-par in the most important areas, the upbeat and energetic vibe that the directors often bring to the film make it at least a bearable watch.
Despite that, there’s so much about this film that makes it feel like a bit of a half-hearted effort. The story is totally generic, providing only the ‘you’re special as you are’ message with nothing else to make it actually meaningful and engaging, whilst the voice performances are very lacklustre.
For a cast that includes Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Jack Black, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie and even Martin Scorsese, I was expecting energetic and convincing voice performances that would inject life and humour into an inevitably generic kids’ movie. However, they all sound so disinterested, and the voice performances don’t match at all with the animation, intended to give a more fun and lively vibe to the film.
Finally, the animation was a surprising disappointment for me. Nowadays, we can pick holes in older computer-animated movies, but in comparison to other Dreamworks films of the time (eg: Shrek 2), and Pixar’s Finding Nemo in 2003 (which gave a much better-looking undersea adventure), it seems pretty average.
Again, Shark Tale isn’t an awful film, and is a passable watch for kids to enjoy, but given animation’s ability to produce some real gems, particularly in the early 2000s, this feels extremely average, and a disappointingly dull watch, and that’s why it gets a 6.0 from me.