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Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman
Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger
Writing Credits:
Michael J. Wilson, Rob Letterman

When a son of a gangster shark boss accidentally gets killed, his would-be prey and his vegetarian brother decide to use the incident to their own advantage.

Box Office:
$75 million.
Opening Weekend
$47,604,606 on 4016 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Japanese DTS 5.1
Dutch DTS 5.1
Flemish DTS 5.1
Portuguese DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 6/4/2019

• Audio Commentary with Directors Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson and Rob Letterman
• Blooper Reel
• “Star Fish” Featurette
• “The Music of Shark Tale” Featurette
• “A Fishified World” Featurette
• “Gigi the Whale” Short
• “Club Oscar”


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Shark Tale [Blu-Ray] (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 4, 2020)

2004’s Shark Tale didn’t become the year’s biggest computer-animated movie, as it didn’t come close to the zillions grossed by Shrek 2 or The Incredibles. Nonetheless, its $160 million US take seemed pretty satisfying, and it established that CG cartoons remained intensely popular with audiences.

In this one, we start with a quick introduction to nice guy shark Lenny (voiced by Jack Black). He’s a vegetarian who picks flowers and frees worms used as bait.

Lenny stands out as unusual, for the other sharks are the kings of the sea, and the rest of fish society lives in constant fear of them.

Fish Oscar (Will Smith) works at a whale wash but he dreams of affluence. His friend Angie the receptionist (Renee Zellweger) pines for a romantic relationship with him.

They work for Mr. Sykes (Martin Scorsese), a pufferfish who cheeses off shark boss Don Lino (Robert De Niro). Lino insists that Sykes start to pay him protection money, and since Oscar owes his boss $5000, Sykes demands immediate repayment. He gives Oscar 24 hours to repay the money.

Angie raises the money for Oscar, but he blows it at the track. Sykes has his jellyfish henchmen (Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug) torture Oscar.

In the meantime, Lino tells his sons Lenny and Frankie (Michael Imperioli) that he plans to pass the business on to them. Lenny resists this, as he doesn’t have the requisite level of viciousness in him.

The various paths intertwine when the sharks come upon Oscar and the jellyfish. When Oscar flees Frankie, the shark accidentally rams into an anchor and dies.

The jellyfish see the results and believe that Oscar offed to shark. He lies to take credit for this and he becomes the reef’s “shark killer”.

This brings him fame, fortune, and - much to the dismay of Angie - the affection of gold-digging fish Lola (Angelina Jolie). The rest of the film follows paths connected to this theme along with Oscar’s eventual partnership with Lenny and other issues connected to Don Lino.

Shark Tale didn’t get very good reviews, and I didn’t expect a whole lot from it. Through 2004, I never felt terribly impressed by non-Pixar CG flicks, as even megasmashes like Shrek and its sequel left me moderately cold.

While I won’t endorse Tale as a great - or even very good - flick, it offers more entertainment than I expected. If I dissect it, though, the movie probably won’t fare very well.

The animation seems passable at best, as a lot of times the various elements don’t connect very well. Mouth movements often seem detached from the faces, and other body parts don’t link to the characters successfully.

The whole thing sometimes looks crude and awkward, true in 2004 and more obvious in 2020. To say that the animation of Shark Tale aged poorly over the last 16 years would stand as a massive understatement.

The animators also give the characters more movement than we’d expect from believable personalities. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t use the word “believable” for talking fish, but they move so much that it becomes a distraction.

It feels like the animators think “more is more” and that constant gesturing will add life. It doesn’t, and the characters just seem hyper.

It doesn’t help that the movie favors some really ugly art. Actually, the undersea backgrounds often look lovely, but the characters themselves meld human and fish unattractively.

Some of the roles look better than others, so for instance, the sharks are acceptably attractive. I don’t like the way they integrate human faces onto fish bodies, though. Oscar may be the creepiest animated lead I’ve ever seen.

Story-wise, Tale presents a pretty predictable fable. It’s not much more than the usual morality piece, and it comes across as rather disjointed in the way it follows the various threads. “Be yourself” doesn’t stretch things into new territory, but the flick can’t even follow that issue in a terribly coherent manner.

In regard to the flick’s humor, Tale comes from the “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” school. It tosses off scads of puns and also lots of wacky bits.

The movie has a pretty good freeze-frame life, as you’ll want to slow down the film to check out all the details. Only some of them are funny, however, and the gags are hit or miss.

I do like a few of the more clever bits, and it’s fun to see the characters mock lines from movies in which the voice actors appear. For instance, we get an obvious riff on Zellweger’s Jerry Maguire and an amusingly subtle allusion to Smith’s Ali.

Frankly, I think we need to get Congress to ban Godfather parodies. At one point, these were clever, but they’ve been beaten to death over the years.

Granted, the inclusion of De Niro as the mob boss makes this one a little more fun, but I could live without another Mafia spoof. At least it gets the inevitable Jaws gag out of the way early, though it tosses out a much more clever poke later.

As for the actors, Smith proves to be the weakest link. He’s usually a charming actor, but here he tries too hard and he seems grating and obnoxious.

Zellweger is simply bland, but De Niro and Scorsese do nicely. They dig into their parts fairly well and it’s a treat to hear the bits they do together.

Black also provides a nice turn as Lenny. He sounds more like Squiggy, but he adds personality to the part.

Despite this mix of criticisms, I must admit I mostly like Shark Tale. Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and this film falls into that category. Ultimately, Tale doesn’t qualify as a classic, but it provides a reasonably amount of entertainment.

Footnote: stick it out through the credits for some bonus footage.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Shark Tale appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While usually pleasing, the image could feel a little inconsistent.

Sharpness became the main up and down element, though the movie usually looked good. This meant most of the flick came with nice accuracy and definition.

However, wider shots leaned a bit soft, and the package lacked the fine detail I’d expect from a computer-animated affair. No signs of jagged edges, moiré effects or edge enhancement appeared, and the movie also was totally free of any source flaws.

The ocean setting of Tale offered a bright and varied palette, and the disc reproduced the colors wonderfully. From the many hues of sea critters to the vegetation to the other natural elements, the movie demonstrated a terrific variety of hues, all of which seemed vibrant and lively.

Black levels also looked deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly dense. Though most of the movie offered appealing visuals, the occasional soft spots left it as a “B” transfer.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Shark Tale seemed perfectly solid, though it could have demonstrated a little more pizzazz. The ocean setting offered a lot of opportunities for a nice sense of atmosphere, and the movie delivered them reasonably well.

Quieter scenes presented good ambience, and the louder ones kicked the action into gear nicely. These only occurred a few times, but they served to create a lively setting when necessary.

The elements seemed well placed and integrated cleanly. The surrounds added a fair amount of unique audio during the more active scenes, though they weren’t terribly involving the rest of the time. I thought the mix needed more lively usage of the rears, though enough happened there to make the audio positive as a whole.

Audio quality seemed solid. Speech was distinct and natural, and I noticed no signs of edginess or problems with intelligibility.

Music was bright and dynamic, as both the songs and score sounded concise and full. Effects also sounded tight and accurate.

The various elements were well defined and detailed, and they presented fairly good low-end response. Overall, this was an above-average soundtrack, though not a stellar one.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? The lossless audio felt more full and dynamic, whereas the visuals looked tighter and more vibrant. Even with my minor complaint about sharpness, the Blu-ray improved on the DVD.

Most of the DVD’s extras repeat here, and we open with an audio commentary from directors Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. While the trio covers a nice mix of topics, they toss out too much praise and happy talk to make this a consistently enjoyable track.

Among the subjects discussed, we learn about the cast and their work, visual schemes and animation issues, storytelling concerns and deleted concepts, various references, and character development.

In other words, they go over pretty much all the notions one would expect, and they do so in a bubbly manner. I feel as though I should really like this commentary, but it just indulges in too much fluffy content to really excel.

I’m happy they like their movie so much, but I don’t want to hear about it over and over again. Still, despite those flaws, this track acts as a good overview of the requisite topics.

Up next comes Rough Waters, a one-minute, 46-second clip presents a compilation of “technical goofs”. These echo similar features on the Shrek discs. They’re occasionally creepy and moderately entertaining.

Fans will enjoy Club Oscar, a four-minute, five-second short created for the old DVD. Similar to Shrek 2’s “Far Far Away Idol”, this one offers a dance sequence in which we see movie characters strut their stuff to various tunes. It’s nothing special but it’s fun.

The “Club Oscar” areas also includes Get Your Groove On!. Led by choreographer Hi-Hat, we get a 17-minute, 29-second compilation that teaches different dance moves. It’s another cute feature that kids should like.

In a featurette called Star Fish, we get an 11-minute, 30-second look at the cast. It brings comments from Bergeron, Jenson, Letterman, producers Jeffrey Katzenberg, Allison Lyon Segan, and Bill Damaschke, actors Will Smith, Jack Black, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, and Martin Scorsese.

We get a few insights into approaching the characters and the work, but mostly we just hear a retelling of the story and lots of praise. I do like the parts that show the recording sessions, though, and it’s especially fun to watch Black and Smith interact. Those parts help redeem this otherwise fluffy piece.

Another featurette entitled The Music of Shark Tale follows the expected subject matter. This four-minute, 28-second piece includes notes from musicians Missy Elliott, Christina Aguilera, Ziggy Marley, Sean Paul, Justin Timberlake, Ludacris, and Mary J. Blige.

We hear a smidgen about the particulars of a few songs, but this exists mainly as a puffy promotional program aimed at moving some albums. It’s a waste of time.

A Fishified World lasts five minutes, 52 seconds. It offers statements from Katzenberg, Jenson, Jolie, Smith, Black, Bergeron, producer Janet Healy, CG supervisor Kevin Rafferty, production designer Dan St. Pierre, visual effects supervisor Doug Cooper, lead character technical director Kevin Ochs, surfacing supervisor Wes Burian, and art directors Sam Michlap and Seth Engstrom.

They discuss taking human elements and transforming them into the underwater setting. We also find comments about general visual design. As usual, some generic praise pops up here, but it proves substantially more informative than the prior featurettes as it gives us decent insight into the various decisions. It remains superficial but at least it’s worth a look.

For the one-minute, 21-second Gigi the Whale, we get an odd piece. It takes a recording studio chat about a real mobster called “Gigi the Whale”, but it’s been animated so it looks like an actual killer whale taped it. The story is entertaining, and this becomes a clever way to present it.

Although I wasn’t wild about Shark Tale, it came as a pleasant surprise. Perhaps that’s because I had low expectations for the flick, but I still enjoyed it most of the time despite a mix of flaws. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture, satisfying audio and a reasonable set of supplements. Don’t expect this to turn into a great movie, but it delivers decent entertainment.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of SHARK TALE

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