The Reef : Shark Bait!

Rhonda November 5, 2011

This movie has several titles, was released in several nations, and came screeching in on the tails of other underwater animated films of much higher quality like Finding Nemo and Shark Tale. It did not get much press or advertising, and rightly so. Even though it has a brilliant voice cast, the story was weak, and had been done far too many times. Let’s get back to the beginning, back to the polluted waters of Boston Harbor.

Pi (Jimmy Bennett) is a small fish that lives with his parents in the over-fished Boston Harbor. A pod of porpoises is passing through during migration season, and Pi makes friends with Percy (Dylan Cash). So, considering Pi’s situation, life could be rougher, and it is about to become that way. A fishing trolley sweeps the harbor, and Pi and his family get caught in a net. Pi is small enough to escape, but has to watch as his parents disappear to the surface with a school of cod. His mother tells him to get to the Reef and find help from his Aunt Pearl (Fran Drescher). He catches a ride to the Caribbean with Percy and his pod. Along the route, Pi (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Percy (Trent Ford) grow up, and they find the reef to be protected and amazingly colourful.

Aunt Pearl is an unusual fish-fortuneteller, and she shares her sea anemone home with her son, Dylan (Andy Dick), and now Pi is part of her family. While Pi, and the nerd-fish Dylan are just swimming about the area one day, they come up on a photo shoot for a nature magazine, where human divers are taking pics of one lovely pink fish. Cordelia (Evan Rachel Wood) is the catch of the town, and her lovely hue makes for great photocopy. She even has a coach and assistants to take care of her. Yep, she’s a diva, but a reluctant one. The reef’s one big tough guy, Troy, the tiger shark (Donal Logue) does not see Cordelia as another meal, but his mate, and he will stop anyone else who might take a shine to her. Pi, being the new guy in town, is willing to take that risk, which is fine, because Cordelia does not really mind the attentions from this northern boy. Once Pi crosses the line, and takes a beating by Troy, Cordelia promises to take Troy’s offer of marriage to protect Pi.

The thing is, most of the population of the Reef has had it with tough guy troy and his nasty friends pushing everyone around. There is one guy who can help them defeat him, and Pi turns to the old sea turtle, Nerissa (Rob Schneider) to help him train. Nerissa shows Pi some great, quick moves to get the jump on Troy, using the terrain around them, but it still won’t be enough for one little fish to take on a big shark to save the lady he loves.

…And so it goes again, in a very similar plot to The Karate Kid, but with some bad animation looking to ride in on the fishtails of a mid-2000’s trend in movies, but sadly, this little whale of a tale could not hold up to the competition for all its great casting, and some points the animation itself was so flawed, it looked like it had been done by the company that made the commercial for Blue Tax. If I had the cash to go snorkeling along the keyes in the Caribbean, I would have done that for an hour and a half instead of watching this movie about it. I normally love family films, but this one left me as cold as the Arctic Ocean it should have been thrown into.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★☆☆☆☆ 

Available on DVD from Amazon
Available with Amazon Instant Video
Available on Blu-Ray from Amazon