08/07/2013

Help! I'm a Fish (2000)

Film: Help! I'm a Fish
Alternate title: A Fish Tale
Release: 2000, theatrical
Starring: Alan Rickman, Terry Jones, Aaron Paul
Directed by: Stefan Fjeldmark Michael Hegner Greg Manwaring 
Description: When three kids sneak out for a fishing trip, an accident involving a strange potion and a nutty professor turn them into aquatic animals. They have to get the antidote before 48 hours has passed or they'll be sea creatures forever!

Hans' thoughts:

This movie was a very big deal when it came out. It was a fully-fledged Disney-like Danish produced animation. While Denmark has certainly produced animated movies before, never to this extent. 

So you have this pretty cool setup, three kids encounter a friendly but bumbling professor and through unfortunate events they end up turned into aquatic animals and thrown into the sea. Well, I say aquatic animals but through the movie all three of them are referred to simply as "fish". This is strange, considering that only one of them are actually turned into an actual fish. The two others are turned into a starfish and a jellyfish. I know the word "fish" is in their names but that doesn't actually make them.. oh you don't care.

The strongest point of this movie is it's visuals. Well-deserving of the setting of the sea, this movie has some beautiful sceneries and visuals. At times, this movie get's considerably dark, the villains live in a sunken freight ship which lends itself really well to some absolutely grim imagery. The high-point of this being a scene in which Joe, played by Alan Rickman, has his villain song. It draws a lot of parallels to nazi germany, north korea and soviet russia. You see, the potion that would just have served as an antidote to the kids actually works to make normal sea creatures more intelligent. It's not very plausible but it makes for a nice plot device. 

The songs in the movie is well.. it was made in 2000, so you get a lot of 90's Europop in there. There are two songs sung by actual characters in the movies, but they could be so much better. I have to admit, I'm not really a fan of Alan Rickmans singing voice compared to the Danish version. Rickman has this very pronounced voice that's easy to recognize but it just doesn't lend itself to singing in deep monotone. If you want to hear Alan Rickman singing considerably well, go check out Sweeney Todd.

All in all, I consider this movie to be fiercely underrated, certainly better than some of the Disney movies that came out at the same time (Pocahontas spring to mind). However, that isn't really saying much. You can take this as proof that European animators know their trade just as well as Japanese or American.Kids will probably love it though.
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