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Trained in the skills of sea power, Pi the fish can fight a shark, sink a squid or batter any random predator that ever threatens his friends and neighbors on the reef. Unfortunately, being the only hero in town can take its toll, especially when a group of sharks declares that the end of the reef is soon at hand.Written by
The good news? It's much better than the first. Bad news? It's still not very good
As someone who really disliked the first film, this viewer was not expecting very much from its sequel but gave it the benefit of the doubt as a fan of animation and because people had said it was better than the first film. After seeing it, it's not great or even good but it is an improvement.
The Reef 2's biggest improvement is in the animation, it's much more colourful and polished. While the stiff and sometimes too creepy character designs leave much to be desired, the primary colours are incredibly vibrant and quite beautiful and the fish world is portrayed far more imaginatively. The soundtrack is bouncy and characterful, bringing a real energy to what's happening, while the story is a little tighter in places and much less of a rip-off than the first film was- as well as actually having a nice message- and there are some fun moments like the break dancing prawns, the choreography of the jellyfish and some sly references and jokes that might mildly amuse adults.
On the other hand, the characters are stiff in movement with very limited expressions, and some for the villain characters may be too much for youngsters (I've seen worse character designs certainly, but that doesn't stop the characters from looking less than appealing). They are less than appealing in personality too, being a mix of dull stereotypes (especially the villains) or being annoying (Andy Dick's Dylan). Pi manages to be both. The voice work is certainly much more involved than the voice work in the first film, with the voice actors actually sounding like they were trying, Jamie Kennedy in particular is surprisingly good and this is coming from a non-fan. Some however do overdo it to the point of being grating, Andy Dick being the worst offender (then again Dick is annoying in a lot of things), and while Drake Bell has more energy than Freddie Pinze Jnr. and he's a touch more subtle than he was in this year's A Mouse's Tale he's a bit shrill and wooden still in places.
The script and humour have their moments, but they do lack sharpness and come about all over the place, once again there is too much toilet humour that comes randomly and doesn't belong really in the film. The dialogue is mostly very, very cheesy, with most of the puns inducing more groans than laughs. The story is better executed than that of the first film, but does have a good deal of dull stretches that lead to little, it is often incredibly dumb and while it is not derivative of other movies as such there is still an over-familiarity and a distinct lack of charm and heart. The climax is far too silly to be tense and is very rushed as well.
In conclusion, an improvement but still not very good. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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