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Shark Tale

The story of what happens when one little fish tells a great white lie... 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC U Cert – Universal 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Shark Tale

DreamWorks, the company behind Shark Tale (and Shrek) must have felt vexed when they heard about Finding Nemo; Pixar's answer to the previously empty niche of animated talking fish films. Things can only have felt worse when they discovered that a protagonist's defining feature in Shark Tale was the same as a minor joke in Finding Nemo; the vegetarian shark.

Shark Tale is about Oscar (Smith), a small fish from the fishy ghetto who cleans tongues in the whale cleaning place/excuse to cover the song Car Wash. He craves fame and is constantly looking for bigger things, to the point where he doesn't see the affection of Angie (Zellweger) the pleasant and adoring receptionist who gets him out of trouble.

Meanwhile in the shark mafia, big boss Don Lino (De Niro) is becoming tired of the crime game and is looking for a safe retirement with his two sons handling the business. However, his son Lenny (Black) is the caring kind of shark and doesn't want the job, or to let his father down. The other son is aggressive but stupid; the boss needs them to work together and so sends them out to do some training. A fatal falling anchor later and Oscar is getting fame for claiming to be a shark slayer while Lenny escapes to a new life away from his father; but not for long.

Although not that funny, this is a surprisingly emotive film; the characters' situations are easy to empathise with (despite them being fish) and though you know films like this have to end happily, you really do want it to happen. The animation is great and I feel confident in saying that De Niro's character looks exactly like Robert De Niro would if he ever were a shark. The urbanisation of the fish world into a populated, crime ridden but lively reef city is original and works well. Real world elements get cunningly portrayed in the fish world, like Lenny's vegetarianism, which when admitted to, borrows many stereotypes from coming out speeches.

Definitely the best talking fish film since Finding Nemo, go see.

Parker Bic

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)