Guest Author - Mystic Ransdell
Directed By: Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman
Release Date: October 1, 2004
Run Time: 90 minutes
Oscar (Will Smith) is just a little fish living a simple life as a tongue scrubber at the same Whale Wash his father worked at his whole life. But Oscar wants bigger things. He wants to live at the top of the reef. Unfortunately, his "get-rich" schemes (marketing bottled water in the ocean - really?) are always failing and he now owes his boss, blowfish Mr. Sykes (Martin Scorsese), 5000 clams.
When Mr. Sykes has a falling out with the Godfather of the sharks, Don Lino (Robert De Niro), he needs his money immediately. Oscar better find a way to pay Mr. Sykes before he unleashes Bernie and Ernie (Doug E. Doug and Ziggy Marley), his Rastafarian jellyfish henchmen, on Oscar as punishment.
Angie (Renee Zelwigger) is the receptionist at the Whale Wash and she is totally in love with Oscar. Unfortunately, Oscar only sees her as his best friend, a fact that breaks her heart. But she keeps hoping that someday soon, he will open his eyes and see what is right in front of him. When she finds out that Oscar is in trouble, Angie offers him her most prized possession - the beautiful pink pearl her grandmother gave to her.
Unfortunately, instead of paying Mr. Sykes back, Oscar gambles it at the Seahorse Races, losing it all on a "sure thing" he heard about, drawing the attention of Lola (Angelina Jolie), a beautiful gold-digging fish, and angering Mr. Sykes once and for all.
It looks like Oscar is a goner when suddenly, fate intervenes. Just as Ernie and Bernie have him tied up so they can zap him with their tentacles, they see a shark and swim away in fear. The shark is one of Don Lino's sons, Lenny (Jack Black). His brother Frankie (Michael Imperioli) is trying to teach him to hunt, but Lenny doesn't want to hunt. He may be a shark but he's a vegetarian and doesn't want to kill. He tries to set Oscar free, instead.
This infuriates Frankie. But in the process of trying to attack Oscar, Frankie is killed in a freak accident. Seizing the opportunity to save himself from the Jellies, Oscar tells them he killed the shark.
Suddenly, Oscar is telling the tale to all the fishes around, and when Katie Current (Katie Couric) interviews him on television, he becomes an overnight sensation, known as the Shark Slayer. Suddenly, he's doing celebrity endorsements for big companies like Coral Cola and Gup and moving into his very own penthouse apartment at the top of the reef. He has everything he's ever dreamed of, including the gold-digging Lola by his side when she shows up to stake her claim on her very own rich boyfriend - breaking Angie's heart in the process.
I find this movie to be a pure delight. It is bright and colorful and fun, as you would expect from Dreamworks. The music is wonderful, with updated versions of "Car Wash" by Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliot, "Three Little Birds" by Sean Paul and Ziggy Marley and so much more. The city scenes are amazing. The fish world version of Times Square alone is amusing and wonderful, with black and yellow fish looking like cabs, billboards, traffic and odd little shops (like the sushi shop that has NO business). The world of Godfather Don Lino and the sharks is plush and sophisticated, with nice touches, like the drawing of Rose from Titanic hanging on the wall.)
This is no simple kid's movie, either. While enjoyable for the whole family, there is plenty to keep the adults entertained. The Godfather's family deals with serious issues - the death of one son and the disappearance of the other, as Lenny runs away because of his father's inability to accept him for who he is. An unlikely, and quite wonderful, friendship spring up between Oscar and Lenny, the little fish and his "pet shark" (as Angie calls Lenny at one point). They work out a plan together to help them both, putting things in motion that neither of them ever expected.
And at the heart of it all is Oscar, the little fish who wants to be a big fish, and who must figure out a way to come to terms with who he is, who really loves him, and who he truly loves. Big concepts really, but this movie handles them with gentleness and laugh-out-loud humor. I quite love this movie and can easily watch it again and again. It truly is fun for the whole family!
(I was not paid to endorse this movie in any way. I watched it from my own private video collection and my opinions and thoughts about it are my own.)
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