One fish must find his destiny to save his home and the love of his life from a bullying shark.One fish must find his destiny to save his home and the love of his life from a bullying shark.One fish must find his destiny to save his home and the love of his life from a bullying shark.
I read that this film was a joint venture between the U.S.A. and South Korea; ugh, what do these two nations have in common when it comes to film-making? Shark Bait's cast includes R. Lee Ermey; John Rhys-Davies; Donal Logue; Rob Schneider and Freddie Prinze Jr. Love or hate any of the cast, that's still an impressive array of different personalities but judging by the animation, did they blow all the money on the cast? There used to be a time when it didn't matter who was doing the voiceovers and the goal was to create a dynamic and visually impressive experience, not any more it would seem; now we have to have names to fill up the posters and get people in but get them into what?
A word on the animation. On this occasion, the film looks more like a badly rendered PC screensaver produced by a second rate company for an equally second rate computer, and that's at the best of times. There is one occasion when the animation threatens to pull through and that's when the hero and his girl are above the sea level watching the moon the ripples in the water and clouds above seem impressive enough, but that's when you realise the two fish have been above the water for so long, they would've 'drowned' by now.
Also, a point on the joint U.S.A./South Korea set-up is that they're two very different nations when it comes to animation or cartoons. When I think of Korea, I guess I think of 'funimation', or 'cute' animation, something that has perhaps spilled over from Japanese contemporary culture. Now, it's all well and good saying this is a kids film and so forth and that it fits but there is a clash of ideas here. The Americans have made some cracking animated films in the last few years such as Monster's Inc.; Ice Age and Finding Nemo but these were American through and through and there is no 'influence' or clashing from other nation's animated ideas.
The Shark Bait of the title is Pi (Prinze Jr.), a young fish whose family is swept away by a human fishing net and flees to a fish sanctuary far away to live with a relative. It's here he meets girlfriend Cordelia (Evans-Wood) and shark bully Troy (Logue), who wants Cordelia for himself can you imagine what the kids between a shark and an angelfish (or whatever Cordelia is) would look like? Anyway, Pi must come to learn that just taking something is the wrong belief and sharing what Troy thinks is additionally incorrect so he must go through a training montage with an elder mentor and on and on it goes. Now, delivering this sort of message to very young kids is fine, I suppose, but when a film is so inept that it sounds like the voice talent was recorded in someone's living room and the script sees needs-must to throw in homosexual German crabs and a photographer of French decent as well as Jamaican and Southern United State accents for the hell of it, it grates on me.
Additionally at Shark Bait's centre is the idea that Cordelia, the female the two males are fighting over, is nothing but a mere prize to be won and that's the catalyst for the whole film to even happen - that part certainly isn't a positive message. The film is all feint, feint set up and no payoff. Did I mention Cordelia is supposed to be some sort of fish celebrity that appears on the cover of National Geographic? I guess the fish know that because one of them must've seen a discarded issue, amid all the other trash, on the bed of where Pi was living at the very beginning. But, this celebrity status is non-existent from the beginning and she manages to go to a concert with Pi without anyone noticing her that's before the trip above water where they should've died.
The film wonders on and Pi eventually undertakes a training routine from a turtle that knows some sort of martial art in which controlling water bursts and moving at high speed are key; Pi only cracks it when he actually builds up enough energy to get genuinely angry. Everything from Troy's nasty sidekicks, one of whom seems to posses an accent reminiscent of a 1930s Hollywood gangster whilst the other seems to be doing a really bad Christopher Walken impression, to Troy's own frequent rhyming as he attempts to get across a sense of evil; it all fails and fails big time.
- Nov 18, 2008