made its worldwide debut in international waters on September 10 in the Venetian lagoon. Five thousand fans snatched up their tickets for the wide screen projection of the film in the historic San Marco square in a matter of hours-- a screening that cost five million dollars. On hand to kick off the show were Robert de Niro, Michael Imperioli, Angelino Jolie, Will Smith, Dreamworks Jerry Katzenberg and director Vicky Jenson. "Whooooo!" yells Will Smith on several occasions at the press conference the previous day and his voice is soon recorded by a young Italian who wants the chant for his cell phone ring signal. Director Jenson said that she thought "Shark Tale" was a great story and fell in love with this "reef city that looked like Times Square".
It is the story of young whale scrubber Oscar (Will Smith) who lies about killing a shark and becomes the town hero. His manager Sykes (Martin Scorsese) then promotes him as a media star. Oscar however risks the admiration and loyalty of the girl at work, Angie (Renée Zellweger) and is then pursued by the “ fish fatale” Lola (Angelina Jolie) - who admits she is shallow and wants to be with a "winner". Jolie said it was fun to play "a naughty girl" but that at times she improvised too much and was embarrassed. Will Smith quipped that he had a voracious desire for sushi while playing opposite Jolie.
When Oscar becomes famous there is the classic rollout of magazines with cover stories of his heroics and his feats are shown on widescreen TV with instant replay. This emphasis on the quick to get famous super hero is by now terribly overused. Katie Curic gets a chance to play herself as newsanchorwoman, Katie Current. Its bad enough to watch the shallow Curic on national television without listening to her voice as herself, art immitating life, life immitating art. The animated feature lacks depth despite being a deep sea saga - a panorama of US products such as "Kelpy Kreme doughnuts", "Preparation O" and "Fish King" outlets. As the credits roll, the animation remains keeping the audience on hand as MTV, Blockbuster Video and Bob Marley are thanked. Thanks for the plug ins. Kids will know where to reel in their parents. Jerry Katzenberg snarled that critics hadn't even seen the film before they attacked the consumerism But, its there!
Overall the characters are not very complex and seemed forced into the plot. Robert De Niro is the voice of killer shark Don Lino?" out to avenge the death of his son Frankie - the voice of Michael Imperioli who plays Christopher on "The Soprano’s". Imperioli joked that he did a lot of research for his part as the son of Don Lino. Lenny, the other son of Don Lino is the voice of Jack Black. Probably the only minorly cute twist to the tale is that he is a vegetarian and dolphin cross-dresser.
All actors said that their roles were tutored to them and adjusted for their voices – and that they had fun!
In response to his choice of stereotypical Italian American roles, De Niro claimed they were "characters like any other", and is proud of being asked to become an Italian citizen by the government. "I'm Italian, Dutch, French and Irish, but my name is Italian and I feel mostly Italian", he said. When asked to choose between Italian women and food he shrugged, "Why discriminate?". Will Smith added that the characters he represents were “distinctly Negro”. Unfortunately, there is not much to Shark Tale. Who cares about a refurbished mafia story? Having no other message then a school of famous actor fish and tie ins, I felt empty like I had the bends
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Venice Italy.
© 2004 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 10/04