I’m as to Will Smith’s real appeal these days. Every role he’s in, he basically plays himself, and in “Shark Tale”, Will Smith plays Will Smith… as a fish; How incredibly original. Oscar, his character is very superficial. He has no real redeeming qualities, is more based on his personality than actually making him a three-dimensional character with traits, and never really convinces me that I should like him, and I ended up liking Lenny (Jack Black) much more. Every other character is just there to pop jokes in now and again.
Meanwhile, there are pop culture references thrown every which way and it ends up becoming confusing as to what the makers are trying to pull off. Is this striving to be an anti-“Finding Nemo” or just another version of “Shrek”? We see a “Jaws” poster in the background, and we have many “Godfather” jabs that kids surely won’t recognize. I doubt any child in the target audience has ever seen or even understands “The Godfather”. And this really doesn’t tackle pop culture as well as “Shrek” did, and don’t capture underwater life as well as “Finding Nemo” did, and just ends up being in-between.
The film as a whole is very lifeless with a bland plot, listless energy and doesn’t give us anything really worth remembering. The film can also be very loud and ugly. From the hip hop soundtrack blaring literally non-stop that is just incredibly irritating. When we were with the mobsters it became very clever and fun, but the time spent with the other characters is time wasted as many of them are just endlessly shrill, and bear no personalities beyond the gags they’re supposed to represent. In the end it’s a waste of time and just becomes distracting instead of entertaining. “Shark Tale”, instead of becoming an anti-“Finding Nemo”, it just becomes a poor man’s “Shrek”. It’s obnoxious, derivative, and ultimately an empty experience.