October 15 - 21, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 42

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Shark Tale—A Swimmingly, Big Catch of a
Film That Might Just Hook You and Reel You In

The animated film Shark Tale took the big bucks—a whopping $49.1 million—away from all the competition its opening week. This film had the best financial October debut in history. Talk about a star-studded cast, Shark Tale seemed to have enough fun and storyline to impress some great actors enough to bite the bait.

Oscar, the fast-talking, small-time, tongue scrubber (at the local Whale Wash) played by the voice of Will Smith (Men In Black, Ali), dreams of getting into the big time, ya know, “The Top of the Reef.” His co-worker, Angel, played by the voice of Renee Zellweger (Chicago, Bridget Jones' Diary), is secretly in love with him. She is completely frustrated as she can't get Oscar to stop long enough to notice her and to realize he already has his dream, an honest job and a fish that loves him. Maybe someone should tell her he's not the only fish in the sea!

One day after Oscar witnesses an accidental death of a shark (at the reef), he spins it into a big lie that 'HE' is responsible for the shark's early demise. When his lie makes him an instant famous Shark Slayer hero, he catches the attention of Sykes, a puffer fish played by Martin Scorsese (director of “Taxi” and so many others), who becomes his agent, and a gold-digging, sexy, two-faced, opportunist fishy-fish Lola, starring the voice of Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Beyond Borders). The water thickens when the mob-family of sharks who control the reef learn of Oscar. The head of the family named Don Lino, played by (the oh-so-type-cast obvious) Robert De Niro (we just refuse to name any of his thousands of films) is busy preparing his two sons Frankie and Lenny to take over the family business. Frankie is the chip off the ole fish-cake, which is what makes him the perfect choice to be the new head of the family, and is portrayed by the voice of Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”). Lenny, played by Jack Black (Shallow Hal, School of Rock), is the sweet, sensitive, closet vegetarian, not the son of first choice to take over the family. Meanwhile Oscar learns the hard-shell-fish way that being showered with fame and fortune may come at a high fish market price! His very own life is now threatened. He finds himself in very shallow waters.
That's all we are giving away, readers. Just swim with the “fishes” yourself or go to the fish mattresses to find out the rest of this little fishy salt-watery tale.   

The Blonde: Action, adventure, gangsters, mobsters, and animation all in the same film. Shark Tale was like Goodfellas meets “The Sopranos” meets Finding Nemo meets The Little Mermaid meets Analyze This meets the fish tank at the Mirage Hotel. Maven, judging by the first week's turnout, I think the public is crying out for more fish movies. And, there was so much truth spinning, that it reminded me of the debates.

The Maven: We are not going there!

The Blonde: Oh, please! I'm all bottled up. When Kerry and Bush said…

The Maven: NOOOOOOOO! The first two minutes of this film had me hooked, no pun intended. It had everything from humor to dance numbers and a moral, to boot. So often you hear stories of the difficulty faced by a teen when he marches to a different drummer and the parents don't understand. Teens will identify with Lenny for that was exactly what he was going through.

The Blonde: UMM, Maven, in all due respect, this wasn't that DEEP of a movie… And the pun is intended!

The Maven: Come on! Didn't you feel for Lenny the shark?

The Blonde:  You are really scaring me now, you stopper of debate conversations! It was a children's movie! I am going to move on for you, while you dry your salty tears. Here's just a touch of movie trivia. Usually when an animated film is ready for the vocals, they bring the actors in one at a time. Shark Tale makes a bit of animated movie history as they brought in De Niro and Scorsese together and Black and Smith together. This also helped to promote many of the funny lines, as much of the script was ad-libbed.

The Maven: Well, I enjoyed everything in Shark Tale, stereotypes included. Pure genius, the way the CGI created the characters to look so much like the actors who voice them. At one point, I was so into the story that I forgot it was animation.

The Blonde:  No! I knew at all times it was an animation. This was a charming, delightful, entertaining, funny, clever, perfectly cast film. ‘Ya know Maven, casting is most crucial to the believability, power and realism of any picture. In the case of animation, it is even more crucial as the actors, director and writer rely on the vocal acting only to portray the story. The animators do their best to also put the facial expressions and features of the actors as well. It is such a goof to see a shark with a mole making the notorious De Niro faces.

The Maven: I absolutely loved the music. Anytime disco wants to come back, I'm there.

The Blonde:  Okay, stop! Now YOU ARE REALLY SCARING ME! You lost me at DISCO! Speaking of Tiger Woods, he got married this past weekend. The wedding cost 3 million dollars. Man, do some people throw away money… He should have saved it for the divorce lawyers. Hey Maven, I AM CERTAIN  that there was NO disco played at the wedding reception!

The Maven: His loss! Anyway, it was unique how this movie made you fall in like with shark characters!

The Blonde: Speaking of sharks, Martha Stewart went to jail October 8 to start her sentence. I feel bad for her though….

The Maven: OH, leave poor Martha alone!  By the way her sheets are on sale at K Mart!

The Blonde: Getting back to the film, it was quite interesting that Angelina Jolie is even beautiful and sexy as a fish. They had her down to the thick lips!

The Maven: That didn't surprise me…but what did was how well Scorsese can act. I spell an Oscar! Pun intended.

The Blonde: Oscar? Oh Maven, do I need to find another partner? It was a CARTOON! He didn't really ACT. They were voice-overs!

The Maven: If you can tear yourself away from politics or debates for 90 minutes, go have some fun watching Shark Tale. I rate it a B, only because I can't bring myself to give an animated movie an A, but it deserves it!

The Blonde: OH, you can bring up the debates!  I enjoyed this film as well. I rate it a B because that's what it deserves. I rated Beauty and the Beast an A. Shark Tale is fun for all ages. I suggest you eat some shark or some other fish for dinner to get you in the mood. Then, at the movies have some Swedish Fish candy and don't forget to put some sea-salt on your popcorn and wash it down with some fresh water.  Maven, ‘ya  wanna do K Mart for sheets?

The Maven: You got it!

P.S.:  The film Team America by the writers of South Park was an absolute over-the-top, creative, hilarious, animated, political action comedy. We loved it! However, here is a BIG WARNING! This film, although hysterically funny, has crude remarks, terrible language, vulgar metaphors, and just simply put, very nasty scenes. If all of that won't offend you, then you will really enjoy Team America. The writers, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are also now enjoying the success of their political satires, This Land and Good to be in D.C. Go to Jibjab.com and view them.

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