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Shark Tale: The Complete Story

Released in October, 2004, Shark Tale is a computer-animated, children's film that, as DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg crows with unabashed pride, is an amalgam of "...everything from The Untouchables to Some Like It Hot to all three Godfather films."

No Shark Tale The story's venue is a fictitious undersea world populated by anthropomorphic fish - not unlike Disney's Little Mermaid (1989), but with an exceptionally sordid twist. Like a perverse kiddie morality play, Shark Tale relates the unhappy results of one unlucky sea creature's involvement with the under-the-sea underworld. As viewed in the DreamWorks promos, the maritime mobsters take the form of cartoon sharks.

And yes, with names like Don Lino and Don Brizzi, they are given unmistakably Italian American identities. For added 'authenticity', DreamWorks has lined up Robert De Niro, Michael Imperoli, Martin Scorsese, and others who have shamelessly built their personal wealth and fame on the prostrated back of Italic culture, to do the voice-overs.

It could and has been argued that The Sopranos, Goodfellas, or anything else in the interminable procession of movies and TV shows in which Italian American characters are relentlessly portrayed as deviates and criminals, were devised for adult consumption. And though we're more than prepared to confidently argue much to the contrary, adults, we are told, are supposed to be able to distinguish reality from fiction, But Shark Tale is targeted squarely at children. And that's where we really must draw the line.

As announced in our October, 2003 news release Why Doesn't Steven Spielberg Respect Our Children? - The Italic Institute of America has launched a campaign with the aim of preventing the release of Shark Tale as currently scripted (see summation of our position below). As expected, our initial statement prompted the following (typical) responses from Spielberg fans and other defenders of the film. Our replies appear in italics. (Click on each question to see the reply.)

Summary of Our Position

* The Italic Institute of America is committed to prevent the release of Shark Tale as currently scripted.

* It is our position that Italian American children should be afforded the same consideration as children of other ethnic/racial groups in terms of "positive imagery", and should be spared both the internal and external effects inevitably resulting from a Hollywood cartoon parable that yet again associates their surnames with criminality.

* It is further our position that DreamWorks should take measures to ensure that the mobster characters in the film are not specifically ethnically-identifiable by names, accents of speech, or mannerisms.
Visitors to this web page are encouraged to join the Institute in this initiative.
  • Please address your comments and endorsement of support to Italic One.
  • Read support statements, letters, etc. Click here: Consensus
 
 

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