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Eating it's own tale
A capsule review of SHARK TALE by Camus
"Oh god, this is terrible..."
"Shut up, dad."
Camus and son, in the cinema


Will Smith is a fish who looks like Will Smith. Renée Zellweger is a fish who looks like Renée Zellweger. Jake Black is a fish… you get the picture. Robert De Niro's shark even has a mole on its right cheek. What Martin Scorsese is doing in this paper thin mess of an animated film is anyone’s guess. Money? If Shrek 2 was too referential for its own good, then Shark Tale goes further (something I didn’t think possible). It features a barely registering story about a whale cleaning fish in an underwater New York ('Coral Cola'? Give me a break) who wants to be a somebody. By accident a Great White is killed and our little fish takes the credit teaming up with a vegetarian shark that he pretends to best in combat. Ho bloody hum.

Oh God. This is L.A.-Hollywood-Tinsel-Town at its most cannibalistic. This is like watching a man eat himself and only coming to the conclusion that he won't finish his plate 85 minutes later. I started to focus on the décor I was so bored. When Finding Nemo was born, Shark Tale sloughed off its back like dead skin. All the bad ideas that Pixar might have entertained for a nanosecond are clumped together in this awful piece of schlock. There is nothing about this world that is worth watching. There is no reason for it to be about fish or sharks. The milieu is an animated afterthought. It could be Will Smith as the Fresh Prince and it wouldn't make any difference (it wouldn’t be any funnier either).

There is one scene that typifies my loathing of this wholesale 'stealing in homage'. Will stands holding Jake's jaws open - he has 'beaten' the Great White. So what dialogue comes forth, what pearls of wisdom? Three sentences all culled, three sentences so desperately off topic it's a wonder someone didn't have the taste to get rid of them. This is Hollywood pretending creativity is just something that happens to other people. Will says:

"Are you not entertained? You can’t handle the truth. You had me at hello." Yes, that's what he says. Oh sweet Jesus.

Gladiator – "Are you not entertained?" Oh God. A Few Good Men - "You can't handle the truth!" What? That doesn't even make sense… and for good measure: Jerry Maguire - "You had me at hello…" Cut to Renée (Cruise’s co-star in Maguire) looking sheepish.

What a car crash of a movie. Someone tell Katzenberg that he has a lovely Rolodex. Could he add some writing talent to it please?

Shark Tale

USA 20045
90 mins
Bibo Bergeron
Vicky Jenson
Rob Letterman
Bill Damaschke
Janet Healy
Allison Lyon Segan
Rob Letterman
Damian Shannon
Mark Swift
Michael J. Wilson
Peter Lonsdale
John Venzon
Hans Zimmer
production design
Dan St. Pierre
Will Smith
Robert De Niro
Renée Zellweger
Angelina Jolie
Jack Black
Martin Scorsese
Ziggy Marley
review posted
14 October 2004