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Shark Tale

Year: 2004
Studio: DreamWorks
Director: Bibo Bergeron/Vicky Jenson/Rob Letterman
Writer: Rob Letterman/Michael J Wilson
Cast: Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Martin Scorsese, Doug E. Doug, Ziggy Marley, Peter Falk

In a scene where the octopus consigliere to Mafia Don Lino (De Niro) pours a cup of tea out of a pot for his boss, the tea simply drifts away - being as it is underwater. A few seconds later, we see the hapless right hand man inspecting the cup and shaking it up and down, wondering what happened to the tea. It's this healthy sense of the ridiculous that Dreamworks have just right about their films.

With a minimum of the kind of Disney clag that inevitably ruins an entertaining kids movie (and being from the same stable as Shrek) you can be guaranteed of a good time with lots of laughs, cutting edge animation and brilliant scripting, with characters so on the mark to the dialogue you can hardly believe it's not really them talking.

Will Smith is Oscar, a wannabe gangsta getting himself into perpetual trouble with his puffer fish boss Sykes (Scorsese), who in turns answers to fearsome shark Mob boss Lino. Lino, in turn, is trying to groom his two sons to take over the family business, and when one is killed in a freak accident, the other, soft-hearted vegetarian Lenny (Black) talks Oscar into posing as the killer to help take the heat off him. Finding superstardom, Oscar then has to maintain his front while everyone wants a piece of him.

The parody of modern human society is spot on, and despite seeming a little less sure of itself than Shrek , Shark Tale will please kids of all ages.

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