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|The Reef 2: High Tide|
dir Mark Dippe
scr Chris Denk, Johnny Hartmann
prd Dan Chuba, Mark Dippe, Youngki Lee, Ash R Shah
voices Drake Bell, Jamie Kennedy, Rob Schneider, Donal Logue, Busy Philipps, Frankie Jonas, Andy Dick, Fran Drescher, Stephen Stanton, Matthew Willig, Jack Mullins
release US 30.Oct.12, Kor 10.Jan.13, UK 25.Oct.13
Under the sea: Pi and Cordelia
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
While 2006's animated comedy adventure The Reef was pretty forgettable, this sequel is a bit more entertaining. Mainly because it has some witty banter to go with a rather nutty plot. The animation is stronger too, still oddly designed but technically sharper and more inventively deranged.
After being banished from the reef, nasty shark Troy (Logue) has been captured by humans who inject him with bulking-up drugs. Then he's freed by tiny shark Ronny (Kennedy) and vows to get revenge against his tiny tormenter Pi (Bell), but it's four days until the tide is high enough to swim over into the reef. So with advice from guru turtle Narissa (Schneider), Pi trains his wife Cordelia (Philipps), son Junior (Jonas) and goofy cousin Dylan (Dick) to fight. But Troy sends Ronny in disguise to foil their plan.
Ronny's distraction is to get everyone to put on a big show, ostensibly to get the attention of humans who would then protect the reef. This gives the filmmakers an excuse to stage several ridiculously elaborate musical numbers, complete with choreographed jellyfish and break-dancing prawns. These scenes and Pi's slapstick bootcamp are clumsily directed, but they're colourful enough to keep us from being bored.
It also helps that the voice cast plays along gamely, delivering the dialog's corny fish cliches (like a reference to "Buoyancé Knowles") and movie references. Even with adult-oriented gags ("That's a mighty big fin you have there!") and childish toilet jokes, the whole thing feels like a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon. At least the animation is stronger this time, still plasticky but more detailed with subtle 3D touches. Although we'll never get used to watching fish with human faces.
The story is brisk and so stupid that we can't help but laugh both with it and at it, even as it pushes its simplistic message about how a great leader helps others find their true potential. Which is kind of undermined when Narissa heads off to raise some sort of mythical sea dragon. But never mind, the big final sequence is lively and inane, and it's followed by the long-awaited musical show-stopper, which is oddly truncated. So even if the filmmakers botch pretty much everything, it's still an enjoyable diversion.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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