Shark Tale appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While usually pleasing, the image could feel a little inconsistent.
Sharpness became the main up and down element, though the movie usually looked good. This meant most of the flick came with nice accuracy and definition.
However, wider shots leaned a bit soft, and the package lacked the fine detail I’d expect from a computer-animated affair. No signs of jagged edges, moiré effects or edge enhancement appeared, and the movie also was totally free of any source flaws.
The ocean setting of Tale offered a bright and varied palette, and the disc reproduced the colors wonderfully. From the many hues of sea critters to the vegetation to the other natural elements, the movie demonstrated a terrific variety of hues, all of which seemed vibrant and lively.
Black levels also looked deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately heavy but not overly dense. Though most of the movie offered appealing visuals, the occasional soft spots left it as a “B” transfer.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Shark Tale seemed perfectly solid, though it could have demonstrated a little more pizzazz. The ocean setting offered a lot of opportunities for a nice sense of atmosphere, and the movie delivered them reasonably well.
Quieter scenes presented good ambience, and the louder ones kicked the action into gear nicely. These only occurred a few times, but they served to create a lively setting when necessary.
The elements seemed well placed and integrated cleanly. The surrounds added a fair amount of unique audio during the more active scenes, though they weren’t terribly involving the rest of the time. I thought the mix needed more lively usage of the rears, though enough happened there to make the audio positive as a whole.
Audio quality seemed solid. Speech was distinct and natural, and I noticed no signs of edginess or problems with intelligibility.
Music was bright and dynamic, as both the songs and score sounded concise and full. Effects also sounded tight and accurate.
The various elements were well defined and detailed, and they presented fairly good low-end response. Overall, this was an above-average soundtrack, though not a stellar one.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? The lossless audio felt more full and dynamic, whereas the visuals looked tighter and more vibrant. Even with my minor complaint about sharpness, the Blu-ray improved on the DVD.
Most of the DVD’s extras repeat here, and we open with an audio commentary from directors Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman. While the trio covers a nice mix of topics, they toss out too much praise and happy talk to make this a consistently enjoyable track.
Among the subjects discussed, we learn about the cast and their work, visual schemes and animation issues, storytelling concerns and deleted concepts, various references, and character development.
In other words, they go over pretty much all the notions one would expect, and they do so in a bubbly manner. I feel as though I should really like this commentary, but it just indulges in too much fluffy content to really excel.
I’m happy they like their movie so much, but I don’t want to hear about it over and over again. Still, despite those flaws, this track acts as a good overview of the requisite topics.
Up next comes Rough Waters, a one-minute, 46-second clip presents a compilation of “technical goofs”. These echo similar features on the Shrek discs. They’re occasionally creepy and moderately entertaining.
Fans will enjoy Club Oscar, a four-minute, five-second short created for the old DVD. Similar to Shrek 2’s “Far Far Away Idol”, this one offers a dance sequence in which we see movie characters strut their stuff to various tunes. It’s nothing special but it’s fun.
The “Club Oscar” areas also includes Get Your Groove On!. Led by choreographer Hi-Hat, we get a 17-minute, 29-second compilation that teaches different dance moves. It’s another cute feature that kids should like.
In a featurette called Star Fish, we get an 11-minute, 30-second look at the cast. It brings comments from Bergeron, Jenson, Letterman, producers Jeffrey Katzenberg, Allison Lyon Segan, and Bill Damaschke, actors Will Smith, Jack Black, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, and Martin Scorsese.
We get a few insights into approaching the characters and the work, but mostly we just hear a retelling of the story and lots of praise. I do like the parts that show the recording sessions, though, and it’s especially fun to watch Black and Smith interact. Those parts help redeem this otherwise fluffy piece.
Another featurette entitled The Music of Shark Tale follows the expected subject matter. This four-minute, 28-second piece includes notes from musicians Missy Elliott, Christina Aguilera, Ziggy Marley, Sean Paul, Justin Timberlake, Ludacris, and Mary J. Blige.
We hear a smidgen about the particulars of a few songs, but this exists mainly as a puffy promotional program aimed at moving some albums. It’s a waste of time.
A Fishified World lasts five minutes, 52 seconds. It offers statements from Katzenberg, Jenson, Jolie, Smith, Black, Bergeron, producer Janet Healy, CG supervisor Kevin Rafferty, production designer Dan St. Pierre, visual effects supervisor Doug Cooper, lead character technical director Kevin Ochs, surfacing supervisor Wes Burian, and art directors Sam Michlap and Seth Engstrom.
They discuss taking human elements and transforming them into the underwater setting. We also find comments about general visual design. As usual, some generic praise pops up here, but it proves substantially more informative than the prior featurettes as it gives us decent insight into the various decisions. It remains superficial but at least it’s worth a look.
For the one-minute, 21-second Gigi the Whale, we get an odd piece. It takes a recording studio chat about a real mobster called “Gigi the Whale”, but it’s been animated so it looks like an actual killer whale taped it. The story is entertaining, and this becomes a clever way to present it.
Although I wasn’t wild about Shark Tale, it came as a pleasant surprise. Perhaps that’s because I had low expectations for the flick, but I still enjoyed it most of the time despite a mix of flaws. The Blu-ray brings generally good picture, satisfying audio and a reasonable set of supplements. Don’t expect this to turn into a great movie, but it delivers decent entertainment.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of SHARK TALE