September 29, 2004

Shark Tale: A Little Bit Gay and A Little Bit Racist

Merce, Carlos, and I were some of the first people in line for the pre-screener of Shark Tale, or as it should be called: Gay Shark Tale. Jack Black's hilarious performance as a shark who's a little bit "different" was touching - as much as it could be in an over-the-top stereotyped blaxploitation animation flick. Jack's portrayal as a shark masquerading as "Sebastian, the dolphin" was well received from the collegiate crowd we joined at the theatre.

The obvious comparison to Finding Nemo lies in Shark Tale's almost complete failure to create a sense of depth and texture from the most important element of an underwater adventure: the water itself. Objects floated somewhat naturally, but everyone interacted in what looked like air. The confusing lighting (everything has faux-twilight 3-point studio lighting) and predictable pattern of air bubbles for every movement (big and small) was also annoying.

And you gotta question the film's racist casting. The "taxi" fish were Middle Eastern, the "car washing" workers were Mexican, the manager was painfully "white," the "mob" leader was Italian.

Renée Zellweger was a joy however, providing the most heart and just as much humor as fellow comedian Jack Black.

Spoiler Alert!
Catie Couric was perfectly cast as a ruthless reporter fish; Missy Elliott and Christina's cameos were worth the price of admission alone.

All in all, the movie made me laugh more than it bothered me how racist we still are as a country - if of course you can overlook the tragically strong influence of MC Hammer and Sir Mixalot in Will Smith's performance. See this movie because it's fun and gay, gay, gay; don't see this movie because you're looking for Ellen, Ellen, Ellen.

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