Directed by Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson and Rob Letterman, starring the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, Martin Scorsese, Michael Imperioli, Ziggy Marley and Doug E Doug.

Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese team up for another Mafia film - but this ain't no 'Mean Streets'. Scorsese's not sitting in the director's seat, the whole film is set beneath the sea and De Niro really is a shark, the voice of shark mafioso, Don Lino, to be exact, while Scorsese takes the role of pufferfish Sykes in DreamWorks' animated extravaganza.

Oscar (Smith) is a big-dreaming little fish who works as a tongue-cleaner at Sykes' Whale Wash and has his eye on a luxurious life at the top of the reef. So focused is he on moving on up, he misses the fact that the Whale Wash receptionist, his best friend Angie (Zellweger), is in love with him.

Don Lino, meanwhile, is having problems handing over the running of the reef protection racket to his sons. Frankie (Imperioli, from 'The Sopranos') is mean and merciless, to his father's delight, but Lenny (Black), a closet vegetarian, seems to have taken the "fish are our friends, not food" message of 'Finding Nemo' too much to heart.

Both plot lines - literally - collide when Frankie, while chasing Oscar, gets killed by an anchor. Oscar takes credit for the shark's demise and all his dreams come true when he becomes an instant hero and is acclaimed as Oscar the Sharkslayer. Lenny knows the real story but promises not to tell if Oscar will hide him from his father.

As annoyingly evident as the morals - be yourself and don't forget where you've come from - are, there's still enough entertainment value to keep 'Shark Tale' afloat. Grown-ups and parents will enjoy the cinematic references and way that the characters, especially fish fatale Angelina Jolie, resemble the humans that voice them, while kids will love the bright colours and zippy plot.

There are some beautifully realised pieces, including the whale wash, a shrimp cocktail that begs for its life and morning rush-hour in the intricately detailed world of the reef, but the 3-D computer animation here simply can't compete with last year's Disney/Pixar underwater adventure 'Finding Nemo'.

'Shark Tale' is fun - but it's no classic.

Caroline Hennessy