Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring (voices of): Freddie Prinze Jr, Evan Rachel Wood, Donal Logue

Directors: Kyung Ho Lee, John Fox, Howard Baker

A CGI animated, underwater adventure, THE REEF is a heart warming and uplifting tale that younger children will enjoy immensely. Very much a good versus evil themed movie, we meet our hero, Pi (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr), a young Boston fish who has to grow up fast when he brutally loses his parents to a fishing net. Befriended by a family of porpoises, he migrates with them to the reef where his eccentric Aunt Pearl (Fran Drescher) lives.

Leaving Boston’s murky and polluted waters behind, a visual feast of vibrant colours greets Pi once he reaches the reef. Life here seems pretty cool on the surface until he meets the fish of his dreams, the beautiful Cordelia (Evan Rachel Wood). Life then becomes paradise… for a few minutes… until his daydreaming is rudely interrupted by the ominous presence of Troy, a huge, bullying and jealous Tiger shark, who dangerously has his sights set on winning Cordelia’s heart. Uh oh! Who’s going to win this contest?

The storyline is simple but enchanting with some ingenious twists and turns. It is also interspersed with some scary moments that will have young children flinching. But the menacing moods soon move on and are counteracted by the vivid colours of the tropical fish and coral reef plant life that are especially captivating for youngsters to focus on. Even now when I see a tropical fish tank on display I find myself drawn to the multitude of colourful fish darting about that seem to radiate calming and dream like qualities.

The ensemble stellar cast bring the characters and story to life. Ultimately though love conquers all – for the right guy, or should I say fish, of course!

4 out of 6 stars