Help! I’m a Fish
Munch! Lunchtime under the sea?
Hjælp! Jeg er en Fisk

dir Michael Hegner, Stefan Fjeldmark
scr Stefan Fjeldmark, Karsten Kiilerich, John Stefan Olsen
voices Alan Rickman, Terry Jones, Jeff Pace, Aaron Poul, Michelle Westerson, David Bateson, Teryl Rothery, John Payne, Pauline Newstone, Louise Fribo, Ian James Corlett, Michael Dobson
release UK 10.Aug.01
01/Denmark-Ireland 1h18

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

European animation doesn't have a great track record (A Monkey's Tale, anyone?), and with a title like this I approached with caution, knowing that I'm a trained professional who can sit through anything (Autumn in New York, anyone?). So it was quite a nice surprise to find this to be an entertaining, very well-animated little film without any Hollywood studio pretensions. The plot is simple (and silly): Three little kids sneak out from their babysitter to go fishing, encounter a wacky mad scientist (voiced by Monty Python's Jones) and are accidentally transformed into fish when they drink a potion he's working on to help humans breathe in water after the polar ice caps melt (!). Now they have 48 hours to find the antidote, which has transformed a fish named Joe (Rickman) into a megalomaniac who hatches a plan to take over the undersea world.

OK, we know exactly what's going to happen, but who cares? The script has more than a few clever zingers in it, with characters that spring nicely to life with heart and soul. And the animation looks terrific, very unlike the Disney school, combining simple cartoon characters with lushly detailed panoramas that are often breathtakingly beautiful. Alas, there are several very weak songs plus a few nagging lapses in logic ... but then, if we accept the basic premise, anything goes, right? The un-starry vocal cast generates real chemistry; Rickman is just as good at being comically villainous when you can only hear his voice as when you can see him on screen! And some of the design is truly stunning, such as Joe's headquarters in a massive sunken ocean liner. The filmmakers skip the overblown set pieces but include all the usual action-adventure plot points and some truly soppy sentiment, wringing virtually every ounce of emotion and suspense from the story. But above all they avoid all delusions of grandeur, remaining small in scale and large in charm.
some suspense cert U 7.Aug.01

send your review to Shadows... R E A D E R   R E V I E W S

Susi, Germany: "The film is fantastic and the text of the film is very good, too. Alan Rickman is my favorite actor because of that I want to see the English version. (I'm German.)" (2.Apr.02)

Jacek Dobrzyniecki, Poland: 5/5 "It's absolutely FAN-TA-STIC." (27.Mar.04)

© 2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall