September 29, 2004

Something Fishy

Tonight I had the chance to attend an advance private screening of Shark Tale. It is an entertaining animated movie featuring the voices of Will Smith, Renee Zellweger, Jack Black, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, and Martin Scorsese. There are definitely some very humorous moments but it's not what I would call a great movie. It takes place under the sea with fish and sharks, of course, and the sharks act very "out of character," but it's not quite up to the level of Finding Nemo, in my opinion.

Part of the problem for me was that it was impossible to forget that it was Will Smith doing the voice of the main character. It wasn't him voicing the role of a character someone had created, the character was him speaking the lines as a fish. The characters done by Renee Zellweger and Jack Black were much easier to take for what they were. But they really did a fantastic job of creating an entire world, complete with its own "America's Sweetheart" anchorwoman, Katie Current...who was voiced by "America's Sweetheart" anchorwoman, Katie Couric.

I guess what it comes down to, for me, is that it isn't terribly original. The animation is good, but the characters seem like an odd cross between cartoon versions of "The Sopranos" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." I think adults and kids will both enjoy it, and there are lots of pop culture references like in Shrek and Shrek 2, but it's not nearly as clever as either of those efforts from Dreamworks.

In my book, it's a "Matinee Movie" -- I'd pay to see it, but not full price. It gets two bags of popcorn, but only with butter-flavored topping, not real butter, on a scale of one to four.