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|Shark Bait (AKA: The Reef)|
South Korean film poster
|Revised Romanization||Pai seutori|
|Directed by||Howard E. Baker
|Written by||Scott Clevenger
Timothy Wayne Peternel
|Starring||Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Evan Rachel Wood
and Rob Schneider
|Music by||Christopher Lennertz|
|Edited by||Tom Sanders|
|Distributed by||CJ Entertainment
The Weinstein Company (USA)
Warner Bros. (UK)
Shark Bait (The Reef in the UK, Australia and North America, Pi's Story in South Korea) is a 2006 South Korean-American computer animated film. The plot revolves around Pi and his attempt to win the heart of Cordelia while dealing with a tiger shark who is terrorizing him and the reef's inhabitants. The film was a commercial failure. It was largely criticised for borrowing heavily from other films such as Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo, DreamWorks' Shark Tale and Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid (and at one point, a reference to Star Wars and The Karate Kid) and, despite the amount of talented actors and comedians involved in the voiceover work, was a box office bomb. Despite being an American-South Korean co-production, the movie did not receive a theatrical release in the United States, where it was released direct to DVD in 2007.
Pisces, or Pi (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), is a 5 year old orange fish who lives happily with his parents Pike and Piper in the polluted harbor of Boston, Massachusetts, until a fishing boat scoops them from the sea. Pi's parents manage to help him escape, but cannot escape themselves. Before Pi's parents are taken away, Piper tells Pi to promise her he would go live with his aunt. Pi's porpoise friends Percy (Trent Ford) and Percy's mother Meg (Megahn Perry) take Pi to live with his aunt Pearl on an exotic reef. When Pi reaches the reef he is 20 years old and has stayed with the porpoises for most of his life. As he tries to settle himself in this new world, the sweet and well-meaning Pi makes some good friends in his new home, the first residents Pi comes across are three elderly marlins named Moe, Jack and Manny who direct him towards Pearl's home. On his way there, Pi immediately falls in love with Cordelia (Evan Rachel Wood), a celebrity fish who has appeared of the front cover of National Geographic Magazine. Also meeting his cousin Dylan (Andy Dick) who quickly becomes Pi's best friend.
However, Troy (Donal Logue), the meanest, toughest tiger shark in the ocean, is not only terrorizing everyone in the reef community, but also has his eye set on Cordelia to become his mate. Pi tells Troy to leave Cordelia alone, only to have Troy smack Pi with his tail. Cordelia tells Pi that Troy is her problem, and to not interfere. Pi and Dylan find their way home, where Pearl (Fran Drescher) is excited to see that Pi has arrived. She is a fortune teller using a pink pearl that Dylan's deceased father gave to her. Pearl reads Pi's future and is surprised, saying that he is destined for great things and that the reef is the best place he will be able to find it. While out on a swim with Pearl and Dylan, Pi is told by Dylan about Nerissa (Rob Schneider), a wise old hermit turtle who lives in the Old Ship Wreck and practices martial arts, leading to rumours that he is a wizard.
When Pi helps Cordelia after she gets a hook in her fin, she invites him to go to a concert with her. While there Pi learns about the performer Thornton (John Rhys Davies) a harbor seal who tangled with a large creature. Afterwards, Pi and Cordelia look at the stars and she falls in love with him. An enraged Troy starts abusing Pi worse than ever, until Cordelia makes him a deal: if he leaves Pi alone, she will marry him (which, in this case, is done when someone "accepts someone else's pearl"), Pi is knocked unconscious by Troy and is carried to Nerissa's shipwreck by a current.
When Nerissa tells Pi the following day, he decides he has had enough of Troy's abuse towards him, and asks Nerissa to teach him martial arts to combat Troy. Nerissa initially refuses, but Pi persists and he finally agrees. Nerissa starts by telling Pi that Troy picks on anyone smaller than him, he than says the ocean itself is bigger than Troy and if Pi can use the ocean against him his size wouldn't matter. On Pi's first day of training Pearl tells Pi that she couldn't live with herself if Pi was killed, Pi then tells Pearl that he couldn't do anything to save his parents, but he could do something to save Cordelia. Nerissa leads Pi down a valley with obstacles including razor-sharp elkhorn coral, burning fire coral, a long narrow tunnel known as Bottleneck Alley, and finally a current known as the West Indies current full of portuguese man o' war that could kill someone Pi's size.
Meanwhile, Troy's henchmen Bart and Eddie try to steal Nerissa's pearl, but are frightened away by Pi and Dylan. Cordelia is informed by Buddy the decorator crab and Lou the sawfish about Pi's upcoming battle with Troy. Cordelia finds him and tells him she can't allow him to fight Troy, Pi asks why she cannot believe in him. That night Pearl's pearl has been stolen by Troy's henchmen, she is heartbroken being as Dylan's father gave her the pearl, Pi realizes that he cannot back down now no matter how much everyone else doubts him. After mastering the martial arts, Pi's friends Thornton, Buddy and Lou, Moe, Jack and Manny (three marlins that were friends of Nerissa's) Cordelia and Dylan decide to band together to stop the abuse and terror that has caused fear within the reef's population. After training his friends, Pi leads the charge and they deal with Troy's crew in a final showdown.
When Pi taunts and insults Troy, Troy chases him. Pi leads Troy through the valley Nerissa instructed him to take, Troy is hit by all of the obstacles until they get to the open sea. Nerissa tries to help by throwing an old boot at disabling Troy's henchmen Bart and Eddie, but is then injured by Troy's attack. Pi is then swatted by Troy's tail into a cliff burying him in rocks. Percy and Meg return and help free Pi. Troy then sets Percy as a target. Pi distracts Troy long enough to allow Percy to escape, Troy targets Pi and chases him up to the surface where he manages to trick Troy into chasing him into a fishing net and narrowly escapes the shark's jaws as he leaps through the top of the net. Troy, trapped in the net, is lifted from the sea. Pi is proclaimed a hero by the population of the reef, Nerissa gives Pi his pearl because Nerissa sees Pi as his son and if he had one himself he would have given it to him. Cordelia accepts the pearl that Pi gives her and they share a kiss as the reef celebrates.
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Pi (Pisces), a male orange wrasse fish, who is orphaned when his parents were caught in a fishing net.
- Evan Rachel Wood as Cordelia, a female pink angelfish model for National Geographic and Pi's love interest.
- Rob Schneider as Nerissa, an old widowed hermit loggerhead sea turtle and Pi's mentor.
- Donal Logue as Troy, a tiger shark who terrorizes the entire population of the reef and Pi's chief nemesis.
- Andy Dick as Dylan, a teal fish who is Pi's cousin.
- Fran Drescher as Pearl, a purple fish who is Dylan's mother and Pi's aunt and adoptive mother, she is a fortune teller.
- John Rhys Davies as Thornton, an elderly harbor seal who is very poetic.
- R. Lee Ermey as Jack an overweight marlin.
- Jimmy Bennett as Young Pi
- Dylan Cash as Young Percy
- Richard Epcar as Moe, an elderly marlin.
- David Fickas as Max, a flamboyant crab that is Cordelia's boss.
- Trent Ford as Percy, a porpoise that is Pi's adoptive brother for 20 years.
- Joel Michaely as Lou, a sawfish who is Buddy's assistant.
- Megahn Perry as Meg, Percy's mother, Pi's surrogate mother.
- Mel Rodriguez as Manny, a flatulant Spanish marlin.
- Lena Gleen as Buddy, a flamboyant decorator crab who is Lou's boss.
- Bruno Alexander as Pike, Pi's father.
- Reedy Gibbs as Piper, Pi's mother.
South Korean cast
- Kim Hyung-jun as Pisces ("Pi")
- Im Chae-moo
- Park Myeong-su
- Kim Kyu-jong as a clam and a crab
- Kim Hyun-joong as a crab
- Park Jung-min as a dolphin
The reviews of this film were largely negative. It has been berated as a 'Finding Nemo rip-off'[by whom?] as it heavily borrows from the film as well as borrowing from other films such as Shark Tale and Karate Kid. It was also criticized[by whom?] for its poor animation and its visuals which were considered outdated.
eFilmCritic.com's David Cornelius described it as "undoubtedly one of the cheapest, ugliest cartoon features ever produced" criticizing its CGI, graphics and animation. He also criticized its plot saying "the script also rehashes every conceivable cliche the kid flick book".
Vince Leo from Qwipster's Movie Reviews gave the movie 2 out of 5 stars saying "Shark Bait (aka The Reef in some markets) certainly is testing the limits. It's easily the worst CG-animated adventure to date (up to 2007), burdened with lame puns...". He criticized the animation calling the character designs "lackluster" and the background "overly simplistic".[unreliable source?]
- Richard Epcar – voice director