Shark Tale (2004)

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Released 23-Feb-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Trailer-Madagascar, Wallace And Gromit
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers'
Featurette-Rough Waters
Featurette-Star Fish
Featurette-The Music Of Shark Tale
Featurette-A Fishified World
Featurette-Gigi The Whale
Featurette-A Tour You Can't Reef-Use
Featurette-Club Oscar
Featurette-Club Oscar - Get Your Groove On
DVD-ROM Extras
Featurette-Dreamworks Kids - Rock The Reef, Fin-Filled Scenes
Game-Disguise Lenny, Place Your Bets!
Easter Egg-Shark Tale Color Script
Music Video-Car Wash
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 86:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (25:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bibo Bergeron
Vicky Jenson
Rob Letterman
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Will Smith
Robert De Niro
Renée Zellweger
Angelina Jolie
Jack Black
Martin Scorsese
Ziggy Marley
Doug E. Doug
Michael Imperioli
Vincent Pastore
Peter Falk
Katie Couric
David Soren
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Christina Aguilera
Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott
Trevor Morris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The fourth digitally animated feature film from the Dreamworks studio, Shark Tale, follows on from the success of Antz and the two Shreks. As with most of the other modern animated films these days, it follows the sure-fire money-making convention of appealing to the kids with the fun colourful story and eye-catching characters, and for the adults with the contemporary pop-culture references set against a more high-brow story context.

    Oscar (Will Smith) is a lowly tongue scrubber at the Whale Wash owned by the taskmaster puffer fish Sykes (Martin Scorsese). Oscar dreams of big things. He wants to break out from scrubbing the gunk off the tongues of whales and climb the ladder of success to the trappings at the top end of town (or the reef). Oscar is given the opportunity he needs when he stumbles into shark territory and the dangerous Frankie (Michael Imperioli) and soft-natured Lenny (Jack Black), sons of the head of the fish world mafia Don Lino (Robert De Niro). When Frankie spots Oscar he sees dinner, but an ensuing accident sees Frankie inadvertently killed and Oscar taking the credit for killing the much-feared shark. Suddenly he becomes known around the reef as the Shark Slayer and his fortunes take off.

    Oscar's masquerade is aided when it is discovered that the surviving shark, Lenny, is not keen on following his brother into the mafia world and is in fact a good-natured pacifist vegetarian (not a good thing for the supposed man-eater of the sea). With his soaring popularity, Oscar has new-found friends coming from all angles. His former boss Sykes is now his manager, while the sexy vixen Lola (Angelina Jolie) is vying for his affections in competition with Oscar's good friend at the whale wash, Angie (Renee Zellweger). Of course, just as things start to look up for Oscar something happens to bring his big lie undone.

    Things get tough for Oscar when Don Lino learns that his favourite son has been murdered by the feared Shark Slayer. Overcome with grief, the Don sends out the boys to bring in the Slayer to answer for his crimes. Don Lino is also so ashamed of Lenny finally admitting he is a vegetarian that he expels him from the family. Lenny seeks refuge with Oscar and the two become unlikely allies.

    The digital animation on offer here is nothing short of superb. It is bright, colourful, vivid, and full of plenty of depth. It is very different to the more natural world of Finding Nemo (the film this one will be most obviously be compared to). The world of Shark Tale is modelled more on real life. There are all manner of shops, streets, traffic lights, and even a race track (where seahorses race of course!). There is even a television news service and news crew roaming the streets reporting on the deeds of Oscar the Shark Slayer. Incidentally (and I don't know if this was the same in the theatrical version here in Australia), the voice of the reporter Katie Current is provided for the Region 4 release by Nine Network Today host Tracey Grimshaw. One of the other key differences with this film is the modelling of the animated characters. Many of them (Will Smith's Oscar and Robert De Niro's Don Lino in particular) bear uncanny resemblances to the actor performing the voice talent.

    A lot of people have complained that Shark Tale isn't a patch on some of the other animated films such as Toy Story or Finding Nemo. To be sure some of the charm of those stories is simply not here, but with a huge all-star cast, some really great visuals and a foot tapping soundtrack, this will still delight everyone in the house.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    As expected this is a transfer that does not require a significant amount of analysis. It is essentially flawless and will make a superb demonstration disc.
   
    The video is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced.

    Given the nature of animation these days, anything less than absolute exquisite sharpness and detail would be disappointing. This video transfer does not disappoint here at all. It is clear, clean and colourful with no problems of any sort.

    The undisputed highlight of the video are the colours. They are exquisitely vibrant and offer a very wide palette. Bold reds, blues, yellows, greens and all shades in between abound around the reef. All round, the colours are very pleasing to the eye and I'm sure the kiddies will appreciate it.

    There are no MPEG or any other artefacts present at all.

    There are only two subtitle tracks available, these being the standard English flavour and another English set for the commentary. Both were remarkably accurate.

    The single disc is dual layered with the layer change occurring very early at 25:00.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

      Unlike the video this is not the sort of soundtrack that will blow you away and not one to show off your home theatre setup. It's not bad, just not as enticing as something like the recent release of The Incredibles.

    There are only two audio soundtracks available for selection. These are both in English, with one for the film and one for the commentary.

    This is a moderately enveloping soundtrack that does not feature a great deal of crash and bang. The dialogue is excellent with obviously no audio sync problems (not really an issue with an animated feature). The music and songs are what makes most use of the surrounds and the subwoofer.

    In fact, the songs are one of the highlights of the film if you like the hip hop style. Various artists such as Missy Elliott, Christina Aguilera, Sir Mix-a-Lot, The Pussycat Dolls, Sean Paul and Ziggy Marley can be found in this soundtrack.

    The use of the surround channels is not overly aggressive. In fact, there are only a couple of instances where they burst into life.

    The subwoofer also sees little use, though when called into action it complements the audio seamlessly and does not attract undue attention.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer - Madagascar, Wallace And Gromit

    The only annoying thing about these trailers is that you are forced to watch them before the main menu appears. That said, Madagascar (1:43) in particular looks like a hoot. The other trailer is not so much a trailer as a three minute sneak peak behind the scenes of the making of the new Wallace And Gromit film.

Main Menu Introduction

Menu Animation & Audio

Audio Commentary - Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jensen and Rob Letterman (directors)

    A competent commentary that discusses all aspects of the film's creation, covering story, character development, the script, the voice talent and of course the visual effects.

Featurette - Rough Waters

    Believe it or not, but even a digitally animated film encounters bloopers. This is a 1:42 look at some of the high-tech computer animation that didn't quite work as intended.

Featurette - Star Fish

    More of a making of that focuses on the stars that lend their voices to the characters in the film. Runs for 11:28 and includes interviews with Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith and Jack Black.

Featurette - The Music Of Shark Tale

    An obvious title for a 4:23 featurette that looks at the range of hip hop tracks used in the film.

Featurette - A Fishified World

    Running for 5:47 this is a brief look at some of the crazy things that were created to make the fish world seem normal. Things like billboards, street lights, apartments, the race track and the like.

Featurette - Gigi The Whale

    A bit of a spoof, this 1:17 featurette has Robert De Niro out of character, only the vision on screen is that of Don Lino the shark recording the lines for the film, all with De Niro's reading specs perched on the end of his nose. He goes on about some acquaintance called Gigi the Whale. Quite funny.

Gallery - A Tour You Can't Reef-Use

    A series of drawings and other artwork based around the various locations used in the film. You can select to view artwork from the Whalewash or the race track, uptown, downtown and a host of others in between. Comprehensive.

Featurette - Club Oscar

    Running for 3:36, this is a repeat of the closing scene in the film where Oscar and the other fish show some funky moves on the dance floor at the Whalewash.

Featurette - Club Oscar - Get Your Groove On

    Want to learn to dance like Oscar and the other fish? Well, in this 17:20 featurette, a dancer called Hi-Hat (great name) takes you through all the moves with lots of explanation and repetition so you too can do The Hustle. Great for the kids.

DVD-ROM Extras

    Aimed at the kids again, this DVD ROM content includes links to the Shark Tale and Dreamworks websites, and a series of Shark Tale and Club Oscar printables for your computer including bookmarks, postcards and colouring in pages.

Featurette - Dreamworks Kids - Rock The Reef, Fin-Filled Scenes

    Not so much an additional extra, but rather a kid friendly way of moving to some of the more popular scenes quickly. Scenes such as any one of the song and dance numbers or the shark fart joke scene can instantly be relived without having to wade through all of the film. A nice touch.

Music Video - Car Wash

    Join Missy Elliot and Christina Aguilera as they perform their take on the 70s classic (did I really say classic?) tune Car Wash. Runs for 4:01.

Game - Disguise Lenny, Place Your Bets!

    A couple of silly games best suited to the younger children in the family. The first allows you to select from a variety of costumes and paint colours to disguise Lenny the shark, while the second allows you to have a punt at the sea horse race track and then watch the race to see if your runner comes home (the latter game is probably not that well suited to the younger children come to think of it!).

Easter Egg - Shark Tale Color Script

    No left turn from the main menu will take you to a series of storyboard style colour scripts which show the rough elements of the film as a series of colour drawings.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Aside from including a few bios for the cast and crew, from what I can gather the Region 1 disc is identical to the Region 4.

Summary

    Shark Tale is the latest digitally animated feature from Dreamworks following on from the success of Antz and the Shreks. It is the tale of a fish who dreams of bigger things against the backdrop of a godfather style saga. While not as charming as Toy Story or Shrek, this is still solid entertainment with an all-star cast in fine form. The kids will love it.

    The video is exceptional - easily a top ten entry in the handful of demonstration discs.

    The audio is excellent, though not as enveloping or solid as one would have expected.

    The extras are comprehensive if perhaps a little childish, further highlighting the target market for the disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, April 18, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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