Shark Tale is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation, directed by Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. The first computer-animated film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at the Glendale studio, the film stars Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese. Other voices were provided by Ziggy Marley, Doug E. Doug, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore and Peter Falk. It tells the story of a fish named Oscar (Smith) who falsely claims to have killed the son of a shark mob boss (De Niro) to advance his own community standing.
Shark Tale opened at #1 with $47.6 million, which was the second-highest opening for a DreamWorks Animation film at the time, behind Shrek 2 ($108 million). It remained as the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada for its second and third weekends, and made $367 million worldwide against its $75 million budget. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
In Reef City, an underachieving bluestreak cleaner wrasse named Oscar fantasizes about being rich and famous while making his way to work as a tongue scrubber at the local Whale Wash, a job in which he is following in his father's footsteps. Soon after arriving he is called to the office of his boss, a pufferfish named Sykes, to discuss the fact that he owes "five thousand clams" and has to pay it back by the next day. After explaining this to his angelfish best friend Angie, she offers him a chance to pay back the money by pawning a pink pearl that was a gift from her grandmother. Oscar brings the money to the race track to meet Sykes, but becomes distracted by his dreams of grandeur. Upon hearing that the race is rigged, he places it all on a long-shot bet by the name of "Lucky Day". Such a million dollar bet is noticed nearby by a beautiful lionfish named Lola, who flagrantly seduces an excited Oscar, but Oscar is disappointed when she leaves upon learning that he is a whale washer. Sykes is furious that Oscar bet the money but nonetheless agrees to see how the race turns out. Moments before their betted "horse" crosses the finish line, he trips and falls on the line.
Meanwhile, outside of the reef in the wreck of an old ocean liner a family of criminally-inclined great white sharks has a problem with one of their sons, Lenny, who is a vegetarian and refuses to act the part of a killer, wishing not to have to live up to those expectations. His crime lord father, Don Edward Lino, orders Lenny's more savage older brother Frankie to tutor Lenny in the family business. After the two sharks depart their father, Frankie sees Oscar being electrocuted by Sykes' two jellyfish enforcers Ernie and Bernie and sends Lenny off to attack. The jellyfish spot Lenny and flee, leaving Oscar alone with him. Instead of attacking Oscar, Lenny frees him, upsetting Frankie who becomes annoyed and charges at Oscar. However, Frankie is killed when an anchor falls on him. Lenny flees, overcome with grief and guilt. As no other witnesses were present and Oscar was seen near the body, everyone comes to believe that he killed Frankie, an opportunity that Oscar decides to exploit for fame.
Oscar returns to the city with a new title of the Sharkslayer. Sykes becomes his manager, Lola becomes his girlfriend, and Oscar moves to the "top of the reef" to live in luxury. At the same time, after Frankie's funeral, Don Lino has everyone out looking for Lenny. When several sharks get close to Oscar's neighborhood, Oscar's neighbors expect him to drive them away so he goes and runs into Lenny. Since he does not wish to return home, Lenny forces Oscar to let him stay with him since he is aware of Oscar's lie. Soon, Angie finds out about the lie as well and threatens to tell everyone. Oscar and Lenny convince her to keep quiet, though she is heartbroken by Oscar's dishonesty. Oscar's situation is not helped by the shallowed Lola, who indicates to him that her interest in him extends only as far as he remains famous. With Don Lino planning revenge, Oscar and Lenny stage an event in which Lenny pretends to terrorize the town and Oscar must defeat him throwing him into the depths of the ocean. Though this further cements Oscar as the Sharkslayer, it greatly angers Don Lino. Oscar leaves Lola for Angie after Angie reveals that she had feelings for Oscar even before he became famous, but this leaves the rebuffed Lola determined to get revenge.
Oscar buys some Valentine's Day gifts for Angie, but before he can present them to her, he finds that Don Lino has kidnapped Angie to force a sit-down. Lenny comes along now disguised as a dolphin named Sebastian. They arrive at the meeting to find Lola next to Don Lino, while Angie is tied up and gagged and presented to Don Lino on a plate who prepares to eat her if Oscar does not comply. Lenny grabs Angie into his mouth, but later regurgitates her. When Don Lino realizes that "Sebastian" is really Lenny, he chases Oscar through the reef. Oscar heads for the Whale Wash and ends up trapping both sharks. He is given an ovation by the other fish, but Oscar confesses that he is not a "Sharkslayer" and reveals the truth behind Frankie's death. He then tells Don Lino that everyone likes Lenny for who he is and strongly urges him not to prejudge people before he knows them properly and make the mistakes he made in prejudging his wealth. Realizing that Oscar is right, Don Lino apologizes to Lenny and reconciles with him while making peace with Oscar, stating that he and his gang bear him no ill will. Oscar forsakes all the wealth he has acquired, makes peace with the sharks, becomes co-manager of the Whale Wash (now frequented by sharks, killer whales, and swordfish), and starts dating Angie and enjoys a happy, honest life.
During the credits, Lola tries to find Oscar to make amends, but all she finds is a hermit crab named Crazy Joe, one of Oscar's friends.
- Will Smith as Oscar
- Jack Black as Lenny
- Renée Zellweger as Angie
- Robert De Niro as Don Lino
- Martin Scorsese as Sykes
- Angelina Jolie as Lola
- Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug as Ernie and Bernie
- Vincent Pastore as Luca
- Michael Imperioli as Frankie
- Peter Falk as Don Feinberg
- ??? as Willy
- Bobb'e J Thompson as Shorty #1
- Kamali Minter as Shorty #2
- Emily Lyon Segan as Shorty #3
- Katie Couric as Katie Current
- David Soren as Lead Shrimp
- David P. Smith as Crazy Joe
- Lenny Venito as Giuseppe
- Phil LaMaar as Prawn Shop Owner
Critical reception to Shark Tale since its release has been mixed to unfavorable. This film was (and still is) despised by the Dreamworks fan base and is considered their worst film ever. It is also despised because of how disturbing the characters looked.
The reasons why people hate this movie:
- The characters looking too much like their voice actors.
- Unfunny jokes and a mean-spirited environment. As well as forced pop culture references. Including jokes that make no sense.
- Oscar being a bad person and a jerk in general.
- Onscreen death and using it for dark comedy.
- Ignorant attempts at comedy.
- Lenny's subplot, which bears a strong resemblance to problems people in the LGBT community go through.
The review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that critics gave the film a 38% "rotten" approval rating (based on 169 reviews), and called it "derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes". Critical reception from Metacritic to Shark Tale was also mixed. It received an overall 48/100 approval rating (based on 36 reviews) and Metacritic users gave the film a 5.2/10 rating (based on 40 votes).
It was also compared to previous "Finding Nemo" and people said that Dreamworks ripped off the aforementioned Pixar film with bad pop culture jokes.
The Shark Tale video game is a really bad rhythm game but the positives include that you go to a fish strip club and find Lola there stripping in a private dance.