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Help! I'm a Fish (Danish: Hjælp, jeg er en fisk; a.k.a. A Fish Tale) is a 2000 Danish-German-Irish traditionally animated adventure science fantasy comedy-drama family film directed by Stefan Fjeldmark, Greg Manwaring and Michael Hegner, and written by Stefan Fjeldmark, Karsten Kiilerich, John Stefan Olsen and Tracy J. Brown. It stars the voices of Alan Rickman, Terry Jones and a then-unknown Aaron Paul.

Help! I'm a Fish
Help! I'm a Fish UK DVD Cover.jpg
United Kingdom cover art
Directed byStefan Fjeldmark
Michael Hegner
Greg Manwaring (uncredited)
Produced byAnders Mastrup
Phil Nibbelink
Written byStefan Fjeldmark
Karsten Kiilerich
John Stefan Olsen
Tracy J. Brown
StarringJeff Pace
Michelle Westerson
Aaron Paul
Terry Jones
Alan Rickman
David Bateson
Music bySøren Hyldgaard
Edited byPer Risager
Distributed byNordisk Film (Denmark)
Kinowelt (Germany)
01 Distribution (Italy)
HanWay Films (UK)
Genius Products (US)
Release date
  • 6 October 2000 (2000-10-06) (Denmark)
  • 12 April 2001 (2001-04-12) (Germany)
  • 24 August 2001 (2001-08-24) (Ireland)
Running time
82 minutes
Budget101 million DKK (around $14 (2000)–18 (current) million USD)
Box office$5.6 million[1]

It was released on 6 October 2000 in Denmark, 10 August 2001 in United Kingdom, and 5 September 2006 in the United States. Danish teen-pop girl-group Little Trees performed the title track, "Help! I'm a Fish (Little Yellow Fish)", which was released as a single in the UK. Fellow Danish girl group Creamy also recorded a version of the song. The Belgian girl group K3 also recorded a Dutch version of the song for the movie. Animation production was split between A. Film A/S in Denmark, Munich Animation in Germany and Terraglyph Interactive Studios in Dublin, Ireland.[2]



The film follows the adventures of three children: a skateboarding mischief-maker named Fly, his sweet younger sister, Stella, and their cousin Chuck, a cautious, intelligent and overweight genetics prodigy. When their babysitter, Chuck's mother Aunt Anna, falls asleep, the three children sneak off to go fishing only to stumble across the boathouse home of Professor MacKrill, an eccentric marine biologist. Reasoning that climate change could melt the polar icecaps within the next century, MacKrill has developed a potion that turns people into fish so they can survive the rising sea level and also an antidote to reverse the process. Unbeknownst to all, Stella drinks the potion mistaking it for lemonade, and painfully transformed into a starfish and gets tossed out of the window into the sea. Since Stella's transformation was caught on camera, the tragedy is immediately discovered, so Fly, Chuck and Professor MacKrill head out onto the ocean in a desperate search. When a storm blows in, Fly recognizes the futility of their search and goes to drink the potion. Though the professor warns him that if he does not get the antidote within 48 hours he will be a fish forever, Fly drinks it and jumps overboard, becoming a "Californian Flyfish". The boat capsizes and, because Chuck cannot swim, he's forced to drink the potion to survive, becoming a jellyfish. The Professor, the boat and all of its contents sink beneath the waves.

A great white shark and a pilot fish come across the leaking bottle of antidote and gain the human characteristics of speech by inhaling the liquid. Using his newfound gifts, the pilot fish, who now calls himself Joe, sets about creating an underwater civilization of intelligent fish. They take residence in a sunken oil tanker and begin to transform it into a monument. Fly, Chuck and Stella are reunited, along with a seahorse named Sasha, but are horrified to discover that the antidote has been lost. If they don't find it before tomorrow's sunset, they will stay fish forever. Some traveling fish tell them about Joe and his "magical potion". Thinking it must be the antidote they are looking for, the children travel to Joe's oil tanker empire. At the tanker, Fly attempts to steal and drink the bottle of antidote, but is warned by Chuck that if they turn back into humans this far beneath the ocean, they'll die. Intrigued by this, the villainous Joe has the children arrested and demands they manufacture more of the antidote or he'll have them eaten by the Shark.

Meanwhile, Fly and Stella's parents, Lisa and Bill, arrive home to find Aunt Anna frantic with worry. They find that Fly's fishing equipment is gone, so they head to the beach to search and come across Fly's roller blades instead. There, they meet Professor MacKrill who, having survived the storm, explains that their children have been turned into fish. Though the parents are skeptical at first, a showing of the video recording from earlier validates his story and causes Aunt Anna to faint. He and Bill head out to search for the children in a cobbled-together ship fitted with a large water pump.

The next morning, the children manage to escape with the help of Sasha. With no chance of going back to retrieve the bottle of antidote, they decide that their best hope is to find the ingredients to recreate the antidote themselves. Just as they complete the formula, they are found by Joe, the Shark and their army of crabs. During the standoff, Joe and the Shark get into a heated argument as Joe imbibes more of the potion, developing hands and growing in size. Taking this opportunity to escape, the children are stopped by the leader of the crabs who attacks Fly, striking him with his claw, then drinks the antidote himself, growing in size and developing hands and feet. Just as the new "King Crab" and his army are about to capture the children yet again, a tremendous underwater twister, generated by the Professor's water pump ship, sucks all the crabs (and the Shark, who eats the King Crab in the middle of the twister) to the surface. The Shark remains stuck in the tube.

Now alone, with Fly dying, and only twelve minutes until sundown, Chuck realizes their last hope is to make it back to the Professor's lab, where a whole jug of antidote is stored. Showing unexpected courage and determination, Chuck carries both Fly and Stella through the dangerous seawater intake pipes back to the lab. However, they are pursued by Joe, who overpowers them and steals the antidote. While Chuck fights off the Professor's escaped piranhas, Fly manages to catch up to the fleeing Joe as he escapes into a water intake pipe and tricks him into drinking more and more of the antidote by asking him various questions on science. Joe drinks enough of the potion to render him more human than fish, causing him to drown.

Fly drags the jug of antidote back to the lab and collapses. Chuck uncorks the jug just as Lisa and Aunt Anna open the door to the laboratory, causing everyone to get swept away. As the water drains away, Chuck and Stella have become human once more and are reunited with their parents. After a few tense moments in which a stuffed fish is mistaken for the limp body of Fly, the human Fly emerges from one of the lab's pipes (with a broken leg). Later on, while playing by the beach, Stella is reunited with Sasha, who is turned into an actual horse by the Professor and Chuck. It zooms out to see the beach with Stella riding Sasha in horse form as the film ends.


Character Danish voice actor English voice actor
Svip Sebastian Jessen Jeff Pace as Fly
Stella Pil Neja Michelle Westerson
Plum Morten Kernn Nielsen Aaron Paul as Chuck
Joe Nis Bank-Mikkelsen Alan Rickman
Professor Mac Krill Søren Sætter-Lassen Terry Jones
Shark Dick Kaysø David Bateson
Sasha Louise Fribo
King Crab Ulf Pilgaard David Bateson
Bill (The Father) Peter Gantzler John Payne
Lisa (The Mother) Paprika Steen Teryl Rothery
Anna (The Aunt) Ghita Nørby Pauline Newstone
Bus driver Zlatko Buric Richard Newman

Production and musicEdit

On 4 October 1997, Stefan Fjeldmark (who is the film's writer), Michael Hegner and Greg Manwaring were hired and set to direct Help! I'm a Fish also known as A Fish Tale. Karsten Kiilerich, John Stefan Olsen and Tracy J. Brown wrote the script for the film. Anders Mastrup and Phil Nibbelink produced the film for release in 2000. On 9 March 1998 it was announced that Jeff Pace, Sebastian Jessen, Michelle Westerson, Pil Neja, Alessandro Juliani, Aaron Paul, Morten Kernn Nielsen, Terry Jones, Søren Sætter-Lassen, Alan Rickman, Nis Bank-Mikkelsen, David Bateson, Dick Kaysø, Louise Fribo, Ulf Pilgaard, John Payne, Peter Gantzler, Teryl Rothery, Paprika Steen, Pauline Newstone, Ghita Nørby, Richard Newman and Zlatko Buric joined the film. On April 12, 1999, it was announced that Søren Hyldgaard would compose the music for the film. In 1996, a pilot trailer was completed, which has resurfaced on the Internet. The environment and object designs, animation, plot, and the character names, voices and designs are noticeably different from how they would eventually appear in the finished film.[3]

Development and storyboarding of the film was completed in Denmark. Production then moved to Germany and Ireland for the final phases of animation, lighting, color and production in order to maximize tax credits offered to foreign film projects in Germany and Ireland. The film's soundtrack contains "Help! I'm a Fish (Little Yellow Fish)" performed by Little Trees, "Agloubablou" performed by Cartoons, "Ocean of Emotion" performed by Meja Beckman, "People Lovin Me" performed by Lou Bega, "Ocean Love/Ton Amour Ocean" performed by Anggun, "Close Your Eyes" performed by Patricia Kaas, "Interlude" performed by Terry Jones, "Fishtastic" performed by Terry Jones and "Intelligence" performed by Alan Rickman.


The movie was released theatrically in 6 October 2000 by HanWay Films and Nordisk Film and was released on DVD and VHS in 6 January 2003 by Movie Star. In North America, an English dub of the film was released in 2006 by Genius Products and in 2007 by Alliance Atlantis.

Box officeEdit

The film grossed $5.6 million in Denmark.


Help! I'm a Fish
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
Released28 February 2003
GenreMovie soundtrack
LabelMedley Records
ProducerVarious Artists
Søren Hyldgaard film scores chronology
Help! I'm a Fish
Pixie Panic
Singles from Help! I'm a Fish
  1. "Help! I'm a Fish (Little Yellow Fish)"
    Released: March 26, 2001
  1. Help! I'm a Fish (Little Yellow Fish) - Little Trees
  2. Do You Believe in Magic - Loona
  3. Wooble Dee Bubble - Cartoons
  4. People Lovin Me – Lou Bega
  5. Funky Sharks - Shaka feat. Sko
  6. Mother Nature - Little Trees
  7. Interlude (Professor) - Terry Jones
  8. Fishtastic - Terry Jones
  9. Ocean Love - Eddi Reader
  10. Close Your Eyes - Patricia Kaas
  11. Interlude (Jelly Fish) - Jeff Pace & Alessandro Juliani
  12. Suddenly - Solveig
  13. Ocean Of Emotion - Meja
  14. Intelligence - Alan Rickman
  15. Interlude (Goodbye) - Michelle Westerson
  16. Barracuda - Zindy featuring Pablo



In the year 2016, Alan Rickman, the voice of Joe, died from cancer,[4] while Terry Jones, who voiced Professor Mac Krill, was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, a severe form of dementia.[5]

The film's stars Aaron Paul and Alan Rickman would later co-star again in the 2015 film Eye in the Sky, released shortly after Rickman's death. Paul expressed his regret that despite working with Rickman on Help! I'm a Fish and Eye in the Sky, they never got the chance to meet.[6]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2015-04-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Irish Film and Television Network Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "A fish tale pilot trailer (1996)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Alan Rickman dies: Actor was unaware of severity of cancer until just weeks ago". Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Monty Python's Terry Jones diagnosed with dementia". BBC. Archived from the original on 28 November 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Aaron Paul: 'It's impossible not to throw our own emotions into the mix'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 October 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.

External linksEdit