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"Don't you worry, boy, I learned from the greatest gangster movie of all time: Shark Tale."
—Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
This 2004 movie produced by Dreamworks Animation has probably the biggest ensemble cast in an animated Dreamworks movie. Starring Will Smith, Jack Black, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Renee Zellweger and even director Martin Scorsese. Every character in the movie looks worryingly like the actor voicing them.
This mafia movie, set in the world of saltwater fish, is the story of what happens when the son of the shark boss (De Niro) of a fish crime family is killed by a dropped anchor, and a bottom-feeder named Oscar (Smith) is found at the scene of the crime. Hoping to win favor with the enemies of the ganglord, the fast-talking hustler poses as the killer known as the "sharkslayer", but soon learns it's a dangerous game in a world where the big fish generally eat the little fish...
This movie contains examples of:
- Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: no one seems to mind Lola beating the ever-loving crap out of Oscar, even though she does it in front of at least 20-30 people
- Actor Allusion: When Oscar shouts "You had me at hello!" on tv, Angie is seen grinning. Renee Zellweger, who voiced Angie, stars in Jerry Maguire where the quote is said by her character in the movie.
- Also, lines such as De Niro's character Don Lino saying, "I heard things" plus a conversation between the De Niro character and the Scorsese character (Sykes) spoof their infamous repeat the same lines back at one another.
- The crowd even shouts "Oscar Bumaye!" the same where a crowd shouts "Ali Bumaye!" to Muhammad Ali (Will Smith plays Ali in his 2001 Biopic)
- Oscar's "Pants" are big like Will Smith's clothes were before in his older works
- Adult Child: Ernie & Bernie
- All-Star Cast
- Amplified Animal Aptitude
- Ambiguously Gay: Lenny. He's vegetarian, wishes to be a dolphin and tries to hide this secret to his family.
- Don't forget the speech Oscar makes after he's trapped Lenny and Don Lino in the whale wash: "What is your problem? So, your son likes kelp. So, his best friend is a fish. So he likes to dress like a dolphin, so what?! Everybody loves him, just the way he is. Why can't you?"
- May be more like Does This Remind You of Anything?.
- Ambiguously Jewish: the shark mobster who offers to sing the Titanic song
- Ass in a Lion Skin: Lenny the shark passes himself off as Sebastian the Dolphin.
- Betty and Veronica: Angie as the Betty and Lola as the Veronica.
- Big Bad: Don Lino, the leader of the Great White Sharks. He and Lola form a Big Bad Duumvirate in the third act.
- Big Eater: Don Lino and Frankie
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Lenny and Oscar
- Big No: When an anchor lands on Frankie, Lenny screams this just before he tosses the anchor aside like a cotton ball.
- Billed Above the Title: The poster says it all. So did all the commercials, which did everything they could to make it seem as if the whole thing was just an excuse to have all the biggest superstars of the early 2000s (and Martin Scorsese) appear in a movie together.
- Carnivore Confusion: Lenny the Shark, a principled vegetarian who refuses to devour sapient creatures, and massive disappointment to his father, makes an unsuccessful attempt to eat a sobbing shrimp who begs for his life.
- Also, in the second scene, which shows off the city, we have a brief look at a sushi bar. There is not a single customer, to the owner's frustration. Guess why.
- Celebrity Voice Actor: Dreamworks really went above and beyond for this one. In addition to casting just about the biggest name actors they could, they even went after non-acting celebrities like Martin Scorsese and Katie Couric.
- Cool Loser: Oscar, though he doesn't seem to realize it.
- The Ditz: Ernie & Bernie
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The movie wears some distinct resemblance to 1996's Dragonheart, which is about a knight and a dragon who ends up in a stalemate during a fight and decides to cooperate, to which they do by faking battles in front of awestruck villagers that the dragon pretends to attack, with the knight pretending to kill the dragon at the end.
- Dueling Movies: Finding Nemo
- Easily Forgiven: Oscar doesn't exactly hold the fact that Sykes ordered him murdered against him, even going so far as to let Sykes profit off of his new image.
- Electric Jellyfish: Ernie and Bernie.
- Fat Idiot: Sykes
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Oscar is hailed as a "shark slayer" (the film's original title) after the shark chasing him is killed by a wayward anchor and he takes all the credit.
- The Family for the Whole Family
- Father, I Don't Want to Fight
- Fictional Counterpart: Coral Cola and Gup, anyone?
- Don't forget the Kelpy Kreme
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Bernie calls Oscar a "Wiener".
- An early shark tells Lino where Frankie is going when he dies.
- Gold Digger: Lola. In her first scene, she even calls herself superficial!
- Also the name of the song by Ludacris and Bobby Valentino featured in her introduction.
- Herbivores Are Friendly: Unlike most sharks, Lenny is actually a vegetarian and is also pretty friendly since he doesn't want to hurt other fish. That doesn't stop the fish from being scared of him though.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...:
Frankie: [dying] Lenny, is that you?
- Which is hilariously misleading, when you consider that Great Whites are among the few shark species which actually are warm-blooded. Then again, maybe that's why Frankie called him a moron.
- Idiot Hero: Oscar makes incredibly dumb and selfish decisions, such as taking credit for killing a shark (and not just any shark - the son of Don Lino, the head of the shark mafia) and betting the money at a seahorse race instead of paying his debt. Honestly, he deserves every bad thing that happens to him.
- Ink Suit Actor: And how!
- I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Robert De Niro to Martin Scorsese.
"We've worked together for a real long time."
- Jerkass: Oscar, Don Lino, Sykes, Ernie, Bernie & Miss Sanchez.
- Kids Are Cruel: The Shorties
- Leno Device: Katie Current.
- Logo Joke: The boy from Dreamworks Animation casts his line and the action switches to the worm at the end, which segues into the movie proper.
- The Mafia
- Mister Big: Sykes
- The Napoleon: Mr. Sykes
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Don Lino
- One-Scene Wonder: The shrimp that is almost eaten by Lenny. Sort of.
- A Party - Also Known as an Orgy
- Shadow Archetype: Lola represents what Oscar could have become had he kept up his lie about being the Sharkslayer. Just watch how Oscar was at the beginning and Lola's Establishing Character Moment for proof.
- Shoot the Hostage: Oscar attempts to fake this when the Sharks kidnap his girlfriend by having his "dolphin" partner pretend to eat her right on the spot (he grabs her in his mouth, but doesn't swallow) on his order to show that he didn't care. Fails as the "dolphin" is a vegetarian shark who is repulsed by the simple taste of fish. He spits her out along with the contents of his various lunches.
- "Don't swallow." "Oscar?" "No, it's Pinocchio. Of course it's me!"
- "They gave us an offer we can't refuse."
- "The horror! The horror!"
- "And why are you still living in this Love Boat?"
- "Moving On Up" is sung in this movie.
- Lenny crashes through a Jaws billboard. The theme tune is also played in the movie.
- "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you."
- SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!
- A shark painted as a clown repeats some lines from Joe Pesci's "Funny like a clown" scene in Goodfellas.
- "You can't handle the truth!"
- When the whale burps in the whale wash, Oscar looks into the bucket of slime, which makes rings in the slime, like the famous water glasses in Jurassic Park.
- "Fuggedaboutit" from Donnie Brasco.
- ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?
- At one point in the film, a spoof of the Kate Winslet portrait from Titanic is shown in the shark's home. Also the sharks house looks an awful lot like the Titanic.
- Heck, in the funeral scene, one shark asks someone to play "My Heart Will Go On".
- At Frankie's funeral, a portrait of him in framed in a life preserver from the RMS Titanic.
- "Oscar the Shark Slayer", anyone?
- "You think you know but you have no idea." from MTV's Diary.
- Another MTV example: "I just pimped your hide".
- "You're fired!" and sticking hand in face.
- The Smart Guy: Lenny - you think at first it's just wishful thinking on Don Lino's part, but Lenny is pretty sharp. He thinks up a plan to fake his own death. He disguises himself as a dolphin. He even skillfully blackmails Oscar into taking him - a shark - home. When he talks all smooth and "God forbid somebody should find out the truth", you remember that yeah, he may act cute and vegetarian, but he's still the son of a Mafia Shark - and he knows how to get his way with that veneer of amused dismay and some totally innocent suggestions.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Ernie and Bernie.
- Tsundere: Angie.
- Uncle Tomfoolery:Oscar .
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Angie. Became victorious in the end.
- Water Is Air: Lampshaded when a race seahorse Oscar had bet on trips before the finish line.
Oscar: He trips underwater? Now who in the halibut trips underwater? And, by the way... on what?
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: To the fish population of the Reef, Lenny the Shark is scary as a shark, but cuddly and safe when he disguises himself as a dolphin. Just so we're clear, dolphins eat fish too, but they're cute! (This led to a few reviewers reading a stronger metaphor in it...) Funny thing, is, the movie actually uses this, when Oscar tries to subvert I Have Your Wife by having Lenny fake eating his girlfriend. The "attack" appears to be just as quick and almost as savage as... well, a shark attack.