As I sat watching the opening of “Shark Tale,” I couldn’t help but be reminded of “Finding Nemo”- more specifically, the scene in which Nemo, is christened “shark bait” by his elder fish friends. “Shark Tale” begins with a worm on a hook being cast into the open ocean, attracting a pair of sharks almost immediately. “Shark bait” indeed.
Thankfully, that was the only scene that conjured up visions of “Nemo,” with the filmmaker having gone to great lengths to separate “Shark Tale” from its aquatic predecessor. Whereas “Nemo” took place in a semi-realistic Great Barrier Reef, “Shark Tale” is set in a fictitious underwater metropolis, which includes mock-ups of both Times Square and the Hollywood Walk of Fame[[ok]]. “Shark Tale” absorbs itself in its own underwater city, which, along with the lack of human beings, serves to help the viewer remember that this isn’t “Finding Nemo 2.”
The story centers around Oscar (Will Smith), a part-time whale-wash employee and full-time slacker with ambitions of being a rich “somebody.” In his quest for status, he borrows a considerable sum from his boss, Sykes (Martin Scorsese), who in turn borrows that sum from the shark mafia kingpin, Don Lino (Robert DeNiro). At the same time, Lino tries to convince his son Lenny (Jack Black) to give up being a vegetarian by sending him out with his carnivorous brother to eat fish. Through a convenient coincidence, Lenny’s brother spots Oscar and forces Lenny to eat him. When Lenny can’t do it, his brother decides to finish the job when suddenly he is struck by an anchor and killed. Lenny flees, and the entire fish world is led to believe that Oscar killed the shark. He is hailed as the “shark slayer” and quickly earns wealth, fame and official “somebody” status. Unfortunately, he can only keep up his image as a shark slayer for so long. Eventually he learns the inevitable lesson that there’s more to life than being “somebody,” after some help from his friend Angie (Ren