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Joe (Help! I'm a Fish!)

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Once, there was only silence, and not a speck of hope in sight. And every tiny bubble burst on its journey towards the light. But the spark of creation will flicker again, it's a brand new era... about to begin.
~ Joe
Joe is the main antagonist of the 2000 animated Danish film, Help! I'm a Fish. Joe is a pilot fish, who was formerly a simple cleaner but ended up drinking some of Professor MacKrill's antidote potion, became intelligent, and then decided to take over the seas with an army of intelligent sea creatures.

He is voiced by Nis Bank-Mikkelsen in the Danish version and the late Alan Rickman in the English dub.


Joe is calm, collected, suave and smooth-talking. He rarely loses his calm and remains level-headed even when angry. Having drunk much more of the fish-into-human potion than any other fish, he is by far the smartest of them. Unfortunately for everyone, he is also evil, ruthless and power-hungry. He is very prideful and boastful, reveling in his higher intellect and enjoying to rub his superiority in his follower's faces. He evidently resents the heroes for their innate intelligence, and while he wants to use them, he strives to get rid of them and displays great delight when he manages to outsmart them.

While indeed very intelligent, able to organize an extremely developed human-like micro-society in little more than a day, to seize opportunities when they arise and skillfully adapt to the situation, Joe has yet to fully come to term with behaving like a human, prompting him to act on impulses, to dismiss his followers and to make mistakes. And like many villains, he ends up undone by his own arrogance. Joe is a highly persuasive orator, described as "inspiring" by the other evolved fishes, able to present himself as a benefactor to recruit them. However, people turned into fishes like Fly know better than to blindly follow him and provide an intellectual match, leading to his downfall.

In addition to his intellect, Joe also proves much stronger and tougher than his small size would make it appear. However, this is still not enough to put up with a pissed of shark.

Joe's main minions are a dim-witted Lemon Shark named Shark who just thinks about food, and a soldier crab named Crab, who both eventually turned against Joe.


Joe was initially a Pilot Fish swimming aimlessly alongside Shark. One fated day, the hero, a young boy named Fly, goes at sea with his overweight cousin Chuck and a scientist named Professor Mac Krill, searching for Fly's little sister Stella, who got turned into a fish by accidentally drinking Mac Krill's potion and fell into the ocean. As soon as Fly turns into a fish to look for her, a storm breaks up and the boat sinks, along with the antidote, making it appear that Mac Krill drowned, forcing Chuck to turn into a fish as well avoid drowning. Joe and Shark came near the bottle of antidote, which was opened and was spilling in the sea.

They both drink it and gain human-like features and personality, and become talkative. The pilot fish (who names himself "Joe") figures how to use it. He promptly drinks more and starts "evolving" other fishes, while making sure to make them less intelligent that he is. Over the next forty hours, Joe establishes himself in a sunken Ocean Liner and starts a town-like society of evolved fishes, with him in charge. He has them build a huge statue in his likeness on the liner's deck, and organizes whale-buses trips to his lair, for the evolved fishes to come and watch his conferences.

Fly, who was reunited with his sister and his cousin, is searching for the antidote, for they need to drink it within two days, lest they stay fishes for the rest of their lives. They eventually board a whale-bus and sneak into Joe's conference room, as the villain is singing a song about granting every fish and sea creature the gifts of speech and intelligence to lead them to greatness. Fly starts singing along, pretending loyalty to grab the bottle, but he cannot drink the antidote at the bottom of the sea, lest he drowns when he turns back to human.

Joe immediately figures out that they are more than mere evolved fishes and has them arrested. He later has them brought to the captain's cabin which he turned into his office. He asks for the formula of the antidote so as to mass-produce it, and offers to welcome them in the society he wants to build, granting them enormous influence over it, but all they want is to turn back into humans. (In fact, Joe's real motive is to feed them to Shark once they outlive their usefulness, lest they outshine him.) Shark did not understand that he was not to eat them immediately, and his blunders, as well as Joe's obvious lack of sincerity, prompt Fly to tell him off.

Joe has them caged and guarded by Crab. Fly attempts to goad Crab into cutting the bars, but he is too one-track-minded to do so. Fortunately, Stella's pet seahorse Sacha manages to steal the keys and they escape. When Joe realizes it, he has his entire armies of crabs, sharks and swordfishes look for them. Joe captures the heroes and takes Sacha hostage. He offers once again to make them leaders of his armies, but Shark (the current leader) has had enough of this and turns against him, while Crab drinks more antidote to become stronger, and wounds Fly in the ensuing battle. Crab declares himself the new leader and attempts to grab the bottle from Joe, but Shark eats him. Joe escapes the wrath of his angry follower when a boat piloted by Professor Mac Krill and the heroes' parents searching for them enters the fray. The whirlpool caused by the boat (looking like a hurricane under the sea) disperses Joe's army and traps Shark in the tube, but Joe escapes and ends up drinking the last drops of antidote to spite the heroes.

Fly, Stella, Chuck and Sacha go to Mac Krill's house and enter through the pipes connected to the sea, searching for a second bottle of antidote, but Joe follows them without them knowing. They flood the house to search for it, but Joe steals the bottle once they find it and opens the tank full of carnivorous fishes, leaving them to get eaten while he escapes through the pipes. Chuck manages to defeat all the fishes, and Fly rushes after Joe.

Being wounded and Joe having become much bigger and stronger than he is, he challenges his foe's intelligence by asking many difficult questions, making Joe drink more antidote to answer each one of them, while gradually turning into a hideously deformed, half-human half-fish mutant. After Joe becomes more human than fish, Fly asks him a final question: "Can a human breath underwater?" Joe answers "Of course not!" and realizes too late that he was tricked. He drowns, and his lifeless, mutated body is then carried away by the current.


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