Perhaps this week will bring about a debate, perhaps not. In my opinion, this movie is fun and heartwarming, but I know of some out there who’d laugh me out of the room for saying that. Regardless, this week I’m recommending Shark Tale, which is not only nostalgic AF, but also really cool. Come at me.
I’ll keep it short this week, because despite animated movies being capable of being enjoyed by adults, they’re still technically meant for kids, and we should mainly expect to have a good time, not deep commentary on moral issues and the likes.
Without further ado, GD’s 10 reasons why Shark Tale is awesome and you should totally watch it (again):
1. Despite what I said above, the movie does address some adult issues, although not in your face. Lenny the Shark being a vegetarian and afraid of telling his family, dressing up as a dolphin, finally being accepted by his father for who he is after Oscar’s heartwarming speech… does that ring a bell? Can an association be made with… say… coming out to your family? Perhaps. I sure saw it that way. Apart from Lenny’s gay metaphor, there’s also the idea of class and discrimination, represented through loads of characters, but especially Oscar (the scene in Sykes’ office with the whole “sharks are at the top, you are way at the bottom” reminder). Although maybe not handled like other animations might, these topics are still present, so I say it did its part for the adult agenda side of things.
2. Similarly, Oscar’s main drive throughout the film is to make it to the top because it’s been hammered into him from an early age that being poor makes him insignificant. That’s a pretty dark idea to introduce, but the film executed it in a really fun way, and made it clear from the get-go that Making It like Oscar did, through lying and no actual effort involved, ultimately amounts to nothing. The fact that all everyone cared about was Oscar’s money and celebrity status (all except Angie and Lenny) only emphasized the idea further. Oscar was really living the life as the Shark Slayer, huh?
3. Say what you will (hah), but Will Smith was really charming as Oscar. Although Oscar was a bit of a bastard for a lot of the film, Smith managed to make him a funny bastard you couldn’t help but root for. I know, I know, he’s the main character so you have to root for him, but when his partner is Jack Black’s Lenny, that feat becomes a bit harder to achieve, so kudos to Will Smith for his work.
4. Since we’re talking cast and characters, how good is the cast??? Angelina Jolie (although I admit she was underused), Jack Black, Robert de Niro, Martin Scorsese to name a few!! Incredible. Michael Imperioli is a delight to hear and so easy to recognize, and he really made me miss The Sopranos, not gonna lie. Making the sharks Italian mobsters gave the movie a hilarious layer of depth, and the choices of voice actors were perfect. Also that Christina Aguilera/Missy Elliott final duet is incredible.
5. The sheer ‘00s essence of this movie is bound to make you nostalgic. Don’t deny yourself a trip down memory lane just because you hate CGI Will Smith as a fish, man.
6. The soundtrack is fire, and Gold Digger by Jamie Foxx and Kanye West is just a rip-off of Shark Tale’s Gold Digger by Ludacris. Other notable artists to lend their voices for the OST are Justin Timberlake, Jojo (!!! what a nostalgia queen), Mary J. Blidge, and Sean Paul. It doesn’t get better than this to be honest.
7. Lenny is hilarious, but that’s to be expected considering Jack Black voices him. His journey is really heartwarming, and what makes it better is that despite his initial fear and the pressures he felt from his father and brother, he’s never not been loved. Frankie found him quirky, sure, but he helped him out without much complaining, and Don Lino was adamant that Lenny was an important part of the business because of his smarts even when everyone else laughed at the idea. I have to say, this family was really lovely, and the dynamics they reach with the fish at the end is really adorable.
8. The jokes and puns are hilarious, but I won’t give examples because that’ll ruin how funny they are in the movie.
9. The dialogue is simple, but effective. It’s a low-effort movie you can enjoy while chilling without worrying too much about missing some important piece of information.
10. Same can be said for length. A comfortable hour-thirty. I feel like movies have gotten too long, Shark Tale’s runtime is perfect if you have other things to do or can’t stay engaged for over 2 hours of the same thing.
I’ve lived my entire life loving this movie and if anyone would ask, I’d probably name it one of my favorite animated movies of all time. A lot of people would beg to differ though, which is something I don’t quite understand. It might not be as iconic as Shrek, but truthfully, it should be. It’s cool as hell.
If you dislike Shark Tale, please leave me a message and tell me why, because I’m baffled by how underrated and hated this movie seems to be.
As always, thank you for reading. See you next week!