Shark Tale is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and directed by Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. The first computer-animated film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at their Glendale studio, the film stars the voices of Will Smith, Jack Black, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, and Martin Scorsese (in his only voice acting role) with supporting roles provided by Ziggy Marley, Doug E. Doug, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore, Peter Falk, and Katie Couric. 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 and teams up with the mobster’s other son (Black) to keep up the facade.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vicky Jenson|
|Produced by||Bill Damaschke|
Allison Lyon Segan
|Written by||Michael J. Wilson|
Robert De Niro
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||Peter Lonsdale|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures1|
|Box office||$367.3 million|
Shark Tale premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 10, 2004, and was theatrically released by DreamWorks Pictures on October 1. The film 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, despite generally mixed critical reception. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, losing to The Incredibles.
In Southside Reef, a cheeky-chappy bluestreak cleaner wrasse named Oscar fantasizes about being rich and famous. Soon after arriving for work at the Whale Wash, he is called to the office of his boss, a pufferfish named Sykes, to discuss the fact that he owes a large sum of money and must pay it back by the next day. He remembers being humiliated as a child because his father was a tongue scrubber, so his angelfish best friend Angie offers him a shiny pink pearl that was a gift from her grandmother to pawn and pay his debt. Oscar brings the money to the race track to meet Sykes, but hears that the race is rigged and bets it all on a seahorse named "Lucky Day". Sykes is annoyed that Oscar bet the money but agrees to see how the race turns out. Moments before Lucky Day crosses the finish line, he trips and loses.
Meanwhile, a family of criminally-inclined great white sharks which has associates such as killer whales, swordfish, and octopi has a problem with one of their sons, Lenny, who is a vegetarian and refuses to act the part of a killer. His crime lord father, Don Edward Lino, orders his violent eldest son Frankie to mentor his brother in the family business. Frankie sees Oscar left for dead in the middle of the ocean by Sykes' two jellyfish enforcers, Ernie and Bernie and urges Lenny to eat Oscar, but Lenny instead frees Oscar and tells him to escape. Furious, Frankie charges at Oscar, but suddenly an anchor falls on his head, killing him. Devastated and frightened, Lenny flees in a fit of survivor guilt. As there were no other witnesses 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 "Sharkslayer". Sykes becomes his manager and Oscar moves to the "top of the reef" to live in luxury. At the same time, Don Lino has everyone search for Lenny. When several sharks approach Oscar's neighborhood, his neighbors expect him to drive them away so he goes and encounters Lenny. Since he does not wish to return home, Lenny begs Oscar to let him stay at Oscar's house. Soon, Angie finds out about the lie and threatens to tell everyone. Oscar and Lenny stage an event in which Lenny pretends to terrorize the town and Oscar defeats him. Though this further cements Oscar's reputation and causes the beautiful but vindictive Lola to become his girlfriend, it infuriates Don Lino. Afterward, Oscar and a angered Angie get into an argument, where she reveals that she had feelings for Oscar even before he became the "Sharkslayer", causing Oscar to dump Lola and reflect on the consequences of his selfishness.
On Valentine's Day, Oscar buys some gifts for Angie, only to discover that Don Lino has kidnapped Angie to stage a meeting. Lenny attends disguised as a dolphin named Sebastian. Don Lino threatens to eat Angie if Oscar does not comply. Lenny grabs Angie into his mouth, but later regurgitates her and reveals himself in front of his father. Incredulous, Don Lino disowns his son and chases Oscar through the reef. Oscar heads for the Whale Wash and ends up trapping Don Lino and Lenny in the machinery. Oscar is given an ovation by everyone, but he finally confesses the truth behind Frankie's death, he then tells Don Lino that everyone likes Lenny for who he is and urges him to respect everyone's individual choices. Inspired by Oscar's confession, Don Lino reconciles with his son and states that he and his gang bear the neighborhood 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 lives happily ever after with Angie.
In the mid-credits, Lola shows up at Oscar's apartment to apologize only to encounter Crazy Joe inside.
- Will Smith as Oscar, a slacker and bluestreak cleaner wrasse worker in the Whale Wash of Reef City who wants to be rich, but his schemes always fail and he ends up in-debt to his boss with five thousand clams.
- Jack Black as Lenny Lino, Don Lino's youngest son, who is a vegetarian, younger brother of Frankie and becomes good friends with Oscar.
- Robert De Niro as Don Edward Lino, a great white shark and leader of a mob consisting of criminally-inclined great white sharks, who wants his two sons to take over his business and run it together, but becomes enraged when Oscar inadvertently gets in the way following one of his sons' death. James Gandolfini was originally set to voice the character, but had to drop out.
- Renée Zellweger as Angie, Oscar's angelfish best friend and colleague.
- Angelina Jolie as Lola, a seductive female golddigger lionfish whom Oscar develops a romantic interest in.
- Martin Scorsese as Sykes, the pufferfish owner of the Whale Wash and a loan shark to whom Oscar owes five thousand clams. He once worked with Don Lino, but was fired and called in his debts to pay off the gangster.
- Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug as Ernie and Bernie, two Jamaican jellyfish and Sykes' enforcers, who enjoy torturing Oscar with their painful stingers when he is in trouble with their boss.
- Michael Imperioli as Frankie Lino, Lenny's older brother and Don Lino's eldest and more vicious son, who is embarrassed of Lenny's vegetarian views.
- Vincent Pastore as Luca, Don Lino's green octopus "left-hand, right-hand man", with a tendency to state the obvious much to Lino's frustration. He is inspired by Luca Brasi from The Godfather.
- Peter Falk as Don Ira Feinberg, an elderly leopard shark and leader of a mob of criminally-inclined leopard sharks, who is a friend of Don Lino.
- Katie Couric as Katie Current, the local reporter of Southside Reef in the U.S. release. At the time, Katie Couric co-hosted Today in America. In the Australian release, then local Today co-host Tracy Grimshaw dubbed the lines. Fiona Phillips of the UK's GMTV performed the voice for the British release of the film. Cristina Parodi of Italy's Verissimo provided the Italian version of the character.
- David P. Smith as Crazy Joe, a senile hermit crab who is Oscar's friend. He lives in a dumpster near the Whale Wash.
- Bobb'e J. Thompson as Shortie #1
- Phil LaMarr as Prawn Shop Owner
- Jenifer Lewis as Motown Turtle
The film was originally developed under the title of Sharkslayer. By September 2003, however, it had been retitled Shark Tale, to make the title sound less violent and more family friendly. Bill Damaschke, the producer of the film, explained the change of the title: "We set out to make a movie a little more noir, perhaps a little darker than where we've landed." In April 2002, production officially began.
The film was produced concurrently with Finding Nemo, another animated film set underwater, which was released a year and a half before Shark Tale. DreamWorks Animation's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, defended the film, saying that "any similarities are mere coincidence. We've been open with the Pixar people so we don't step on each other's toes."
Shark Tale was originally scheduled to be released on November 5, 2004, but was moved up to October 1 in order to avoid competition with Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles. The film had its worldwide premiere on September 10, 2004 in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. Screening as part of the Venice Film Festival, it marked the first time that Piazza San Marco was closed for a premiere of a major feature film. The film was projected on the largest inflatable screen in the world, measuring more than six stories tall and over 3,900 square feet (360 m2). It required 20,000 cubic feet (570 m3) of air to inflate and more than 50 tons of water for stabilization. The premiere was attended by 6,000 visitors, including Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, and Michael Imperioli. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the executive producer of the film, explained that they "wanted to find a unique way to introduce this movie to the world. We needed a big idea. … More than anything, we are in showbusiness. This is the show part."
Shark Tale opened at #1 with $47.6 million, which was, at the time, the second-highest opening for a DreamWorks Animation film behind Shrek 2 ($108 million). It remained as the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada for its second and third weekends.
According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 36% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 183 reviews, with an average rating of 5.15/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes." On another review aggregator, Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average score of 48 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
John Mancini, the founder of the Italic Institute of America, protested Shark Tale for perpetuating negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans in its antagonists. DreamWorks reacted by changing the name of Peter Falk's character from Don Brizzi to Don Feinberg. However, Mancini demanded that everything Italian—character names, the mannerisms, the forms of speech—be dropped. The American Family Association, a Christian conservative organization, raised concerns about Shark Tale, suggesting that it was designed to promote the acceptance of gay rights by children.
Roger Ebert gave Shark Tale two out of four stars, observing, "Since the target audience for Shark Tale is presumably kids and younger teenagers, how many of them have seen the R-rated Godfather and will get all the inside jokes? Not a few, I suppose, and some of its characters and dialogue have passed into common knowledge. But it's strange that a kid-oriented film would be based on parody of a 1972 gangster movie for adults." He also opined that younger viewers would have trouble enjoying a film about adult characters with adult problems, such as an elaborate love triangle and a main character wanting to clear his debt with loan sharks, and compared it to more successful fish-focused animated features like Pixar Animation Studios' Finding Nemo, which Ebert felt featured a simpler plot that audiences could more easily identify with. However, Richard Roeper commented that although the film wasn't on the same level as Finding Nemo, it was definitely a film worth seeing.
Shark Tale was released on DVD and VHS on February 8, 2005, accompanied with a DVD-exclusive animated short film Club Oscar. The three-and-a-half-minute short film continues where the main film ends, showing the characters of Shark Tale dancing at the whale wash to a spoof of Saturday Night Fever. It was also released on Game Boy Advance Video in October 2005. The film was released on Blu-ray on June 4th, 2019.
In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation from Paramount Pictures (owners of the pre-2005 DreamWorks Pictures catalog) and transferred to 20th Century Fox before reverting to Universal Studios in 2018.
|Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||September 21, 2004|
Universal Music Group
Jam & Lewis
Dre & Vidal
The Trak Starz
|Singles from Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack|
Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on September 21, 2004. The soundtrack features newly recorded music by various artists, including Justin Timberlake with Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, JoJo, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige, and Will Smith, and also features the first song recorded by pop group The Pussycat Dolls as well as the film's closing theme composed by Hans Zimmer.
Janet Jackson and Beyoncé initially planned to record a duet for the film's soundtrack. Jackson's frequent collaborator Jimmy Jam, who had recently worked with Beyoncé for The Fighting Temptations soundtrack, commented "Obviously we'd love to have the involvement of Janet and Beyonce, who we just worked with on Fighting Temptations. They've already expressed interest", adding "There are a lot of opportunities with an animated piece to work with some different people." Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, had appointed Jackson's producers Jam & Lewis to be involved with the soundtrack, though the duo only ended up producing only one song for the film, with Jam saying "We worked for DreamWorks before on the Bryan Adams song for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and the Boyz II Men tune for The Prince of Egypt, and Katzenberg is a fan of what we do. He thought we would be perfect to do the music for Shark Tale."
|1.||"Three Little Birds" (Sean Paul and Ziggy Marley)||Bob Marley||Stephen Marley||3:37|
|2.||"Car Wash (Shark Tale Mix)" (Christina Aguilera featuring Missy Elliott)||Norman Whitfield (additional lyrics by Missy Elliott)||Missy Elliott, Ron Fair||3:50|
|3.||"Good Foot" (Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland)||Timberlake, Timothy Mosley||Timbaland||3:57|
|4.||"Secret Love" (JoJo)||Samantha Jade, Jared Gosselin, Phillip White||White, Jared||4:00|
|5.||"Lies & Rumours" (D12)||DeShaun Holton, J. Rotem, Denaun Porter, O. Moore, V. Carlisle, Rufus Johnson, M. Chavarria||Denaun Porter||4:20|
|6.||"Got to Be Real" (Mary J. Blige featuring Will Smith)||David Foster, David Paich & Cheryl Lynn||Andre Harris, Vidal Davis||3:33|
|7.||"Can't Wait" (Avant)||Damon E. Thomas, Antonio Dixon, Harvey W. Mason, Eric Dawkins, Steven Russell||The Underdogs||3:44|
|8.||"Gold Digger" (Ludacris featuring Bobby Valentino & Lil' Fate)||Alonzo Lee, Shamar Daugherty, Christopher Bridges, Bobby Wilson, Arbie Wilson||The Trak Starz||3:47|
|9.||"Get It Together" (India.Arie)||Drew Ramsey, Shannon Sanders, India.Arie, Dana Johnson, Mel Johnson||India.Arie, Sanders, Ramsey||4:54|
|10.||"We Went as Far as We Felt Like Going" (The Pussycat Dolls)||Bob Crewe, Kenny Nolan||Ron Fair||3:51|
|11.||"Digits" (Fan 3)||Allison Lurie, Paul Robb, David Clayton-Thomas, Fred Lipsius||BitCrusher||3:41|
|12.||"Sweet Kind of Life" (Cheryl Lynn)||James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Cheryl Lynn, Bobby Ross Avila, Issiah J. Avila, Tony Tolbert, James Q. Wright||Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis||3:59|
|13.||"Some of My Best Friends Are Sharks" (Hans Zimmer)||Hans Zimmer||Hans Zimmer||3:25|
|U.S. Billboard 200||34|
|U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||48|
In April 2011, DreamWorks Animation's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, commented that the studio did not have plans to produce future movie genre parodies like Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Megamind, saying that these films "all shared an approach and tone and idea of parody, and did not travel well internationally. We don't have anything like that coming on our schedule now."
A video game based on the film was released on September 29, 2004 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance. Published by Activision, Edge of Reality developed the console versions of the game, while Vicarious Visions developed the Game Boy Advance version, and Amaze Entertainment developed the PC version. The cast from the film did not reprise their roles in the game.
Club Oscar is a five-minute computer-animated film that was included as a bonus feature on the DVD and VHS releases of Shark Tale and is set after the film. In the short, the Whale Wash turns into a party club.
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