REEF, THE: DVD
Pi (voice of Freddie Prinze Jr) is orphaned when his parents are caught in a fishing net and heads for the colourful coral reef where his Aunt Pearl (voice of Fran Drescher) lives and where he makes new friends. He quickly falls head over fin for the gorgeous pink supermodel fish Cordelia (voice of Evan Rachel Wood), but there's trouble in paradise, when the nasty shark Troy (Donal Logue) threatens Pi and the whole fish community. In a bid to save Pi, Cordelia agrees to accept Troy's pearl, if he leaves him alone, much to Pi's horror. With the help of Nerissa (voice of Rob Schneider), the wise turtle and the sage sea lion Thorton (voice of John Rhys-Davies), Pi begins his training for his inevitable confrontation with the evil Troy.
Review by Louise Keller:
It was called Shark Bait in some territories, but The Reef is a much better title for this colourful and family friendly animated ocean tale. The storyline is far from original (and not as engaging as Finding Nemo and Shark Tale), but the characters are appealing as they are inhabited by a talented voice cast.
The story begins in Boston Harbour, where we are told the water is the colour of phlegm. Hardly the kind of place a fish would like to swim out his days. After his parents are caught in a net, Pi is taken to the reef by some friendly porpoises, and there he meets his 'crazy lady' Aunt Pearl (ingeniously voiced by the distinctly voiced Fran Drescher), a New Age fortune teller type with a bright purple face, generous pink mauve lips, a becoming pink shell hat and hip green shell earrings. 'The reef is where you'll find your destiny,' she tells Pi, gazing in her huge pink pearl. 'It's where dreams come true.'
Pi knows his destiny straight away - it lies with the drop-dead gorgeous Cordelia (voice of Evan Rachel Wood), who is wide eyed and pretty in pink. 'Worship from afar,' is the advice he is given, but he is smitten, and they start to make eyes at each other through the water. He takes her to the surface - somewhere she's never been - to look at the stars. But Pi also learns that while the reef has wonders like Cordelia, it also has sharks with teeth, like the intimidating Troy (voice of Donal Logue) who fancies himself as a rapper. 'Who's the shark with more bite than bark / who gets the applause because he's got the jaws.' It gets worse 'Who can part the sea like Charlton Heston / Who's going to do as I say or find themselves in my large intestine.'
Troy agrees to leave the little orange striped fish Pi alone, if the lovely Cordelia agrees to accept his pearl. Meanwhile Pi gets some tips about self-protection from Nerissa (voice of Rob Schneider) the wise old turtle, who teaches him that the reef can be his best weapon, if he can master it himself.
Everything points towards the climactic confrontation between Troy and Pi, in which Pi clearly shows that while he may not be able to beat the shark physically, he can outthink him. It's mediocre entertainment and children will enjoy the colourful characters that include the greenish sea lion (voiced by John Rhys-Davies), who delivers the film's best line 'I am largely blubber; my rear end alone contains a fatal dose of cholesterol'.
Published July 31, 2008
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REEF, THE: DVD (PG)
VOICES: Freddie Prinze Jr., Rob Schneider, Evan Rachel Wood, Donal Logue, Andy Dick, Fran Drescher, John Rhys-Davies, R. Lee Ermey
PRODUCER: Mark A.Z. Dippé, Young-ki Lee, Ash R. Shah
DIRECTOR: Howard E. Baker, John Fox
SCRIPT: Scott Clevenger
EDITOR: Tom Sanders
MUSIC: Christopher Lennertz
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jun Ho Lee, Jung Hoon Yeon (Art direction)
RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary; trailers
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: June 18, 2008