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Now in our fifth calendar year!
PCR # 237  (Vol. 5, No. 41)  This edition is for the week of October 4--10, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Shark Tale"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

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Starring the voices of: Jack Black, Will Smith, Robert DeNiro, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie and Martin Scorcese
Directed by: Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson and Rob Letterman
Rated: PG
Running Time: 1 hour 30 mins

First things first. Toss "Finding Nemo" out of your mind. Yes, it's pretty coincidental that two companies would come up with different movies about fish. But a few years ago, you had the battle between "A Bug's Life" and "Antz," so it's not that rare. And this is just animated films. Think of all the movies based on "Die Hard" - "Speed" is "Die Hard" on a bus. "Under Siege" is "Die Hard" on a boat. "Die Hard 2" is........well, you get the picture. Anyway, if you get the lost little clown fish out of your mind, you will find "Shark Tale" to be quite an achievement by itself.

"Shark Tale" is the story of two friends. Oscar (Smith) who considers himself the proverbial little fish in a REALLY big pond, has dreams of movin' on up. Lenny (Black) is a great white shark with a problem. It seems that Lenny is a vegetarian. Even when his father, the feared Don Lino (DeNiro) tries to make him eat a single shrimp, he can't bring himself to do it. A misunderstanding by the ocean community brings to Oscar the fame he desires. He is praised as a hero and attracts attention from the very sexy Lola (Jolie), while completely ignoring the friend (Zellweger) who has always had faith in him. Meanwhile, Lenny, who has disguised himself as a dolphin, does his best to fill in at the local Whale Wash, whose proprietor, Mr. Sykes (Scorcese) is a blow fish who inflates whenever he gets excited. What happens when Oscar is confronted with his "accomplishment" and must prove himself? And what about Lenny?

Like the "Shrek" films before it, "Shark Tale" is a combination of outstanding animation and a funny screenplay, with plenty of jokes for young and old. As a fan of the grand daddy of all shark films, I was overjoyed to find at least three homage's to "Jaws." And the writers clearly played to the personalities of the voice actors. There are plenty of one-liners to keep you chuckling from one scene to the next. One of my favorites: "Your family was so poor that your baloney didn't have a first name!" And the animation is incredible. Like "Nemo," the film takes place in water, and the visuals are breathtaking. And the animators have done their best to incorporate the actors likenesses into the characters. Oscar has Will Smith's ears, Lola has Jolie's lips. Don Lino has DeNiro's mole. But the best is Sykes, who not only sports Scorcese's famous bushy eyebrows, but his mannerisms as well. The actors seem to really enjoy their work and it shows in the enthusiasm in which they deliver their lines.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Shark Tale"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Shark Tale" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.