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Finding Nemo (2003)

3 June 2003 by Gnoll One Comment


2003, dir. Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich

96 min. Rated R.
Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe.

Review by Noel Wood

Well, Pixar entertainment and Disney has a whale of a record when it comes to feature films. So far, they’ve yet to disappoint, and their latest whopper FINDING NEMO is no different.

Just to show that previous works like TOY STORY 1 & 2, A BUG’S LIFE, and MONSTERS, INC. were not flukes, Andrew Stanton has reeled in yet another brilliant accomplishment in computer-generated entertainment. After months of waiting, I was more than ready to shell out my eight clams to see it, and I was quite impressed. Even though I saw it on opening weekend, in a theater packed like sardines, and full of shrimpy little kids who were screaming so much that it gave me a haddock, I couldn’t kelp but enjoy it.

Even more of a treat was that it came out on my birthday weekend, and I knew I was going to get tanked later that night. But before I did that, I couldn’t fathom making it through the day without seeing NEMO. Maybe I was being shellfish. But they had been advertising this movie for ages, and as soon as it was released, I couldn’t help but take the bait.

As I mentioned, FINDING NEMO is a real pearl of a movie. Like its Pixar predecessors, it balances a basic story with far from shallow moral lessons while flexing its mussels to provide a fun tale for the adults in the audience. Only a real crab would have trouble finding entertainment in the story of Marlin the clownfish and his quest to find his son Nemo. I mean, holy mackerel, this was leagues above the majority of kids’ fare out there, and really server a porpoise other than just to give kids some eye candy. If you go in with a negative attitude, I’m sure it won’t take long for the movie to change your tuna.

You’ll definitely get your sand dollar’s worth when you soak in a viewing of FINDING NEMO. It’s really one of the best films to come down the pike so far this year. So stop floundering, get off your dorsal, and go see this movie. I mean, if anything, you should see it just for the halibut.


One Comment »

  • Susu.ro said:

    Has there ever been a better-looking feature-length animated film than `Finding Nemo’? We doubt it. With its shimmering underwater landscapes – be they in the vast immensity of a limitless ocean or the cramped confines of a dentist office aquarium – the film sports a look unlike anything we have ever seen before. The fish tank setting, in particular, is a veritable wonderland of eye-popping, many-hued visual splendor.

    Although the script by Andrew Stanton doesn’t scale the comedic heights of, say, `Aladdin,’ `Shrek’ or `Toy Story 2,’ it still sparkles with enough wit and inventiveness to entrance youngsters and beguile the grownups who will be joining them in their viewing. I hasten to point out that the screenplay is blessedly free of all the double entendres and off-color humor that have blighted so much alleged `kiddie’ fare in recent years. This is a film on e can watch with one’s children and grandchildren and not once have to blush or turn away in embarrassment while doing so. Creators of children’s films please take note (and take note, too, of its phenomenal box office take).

    Like many tales designed for the junior set (`Dumbo,’ `Bambi’ etc.), `Finding Nemo’ taps into the fear all children have of being separated from their parents – and the concomitant fear all parents have of being separated from their children. It is upon this common ground that members of both generations will meet in their emotional response to this film. In this case, it is little Nemo, an adorable clownfish, who is plucked out of the ocean and plunked down into the saltwater aquarium of a dentist in Sydney, Australia. The subject of the film’s title is Marlin, Nemo’s overprotective, worrywart dad who swims his way towards the continent to find and rescue his little tyke. Along the way, this Nervous Nellie parent learns a little something about giving his son the freedom a boy needs to grow up and become a man, and Nemo, himself, learns a thing or two about just what kind of a fish his dad really is.

    Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres are brilliant as Marlin and Dory, respectively, the latter a befuddled, daffy and utterly good-natured fish who helps Marlin in his epic quest not only for his lost son but his own definition of filial love. Those familiar with these two fine comedic talents in their live-action performances will actually be able to see many of their distinctive inflections and facial expressions reflected in the animated characters they are portraying.

    As directed by Stanton and Lee Unkrich, and executed by an army of wonder-working animators and technicians, `Finding Nemo’ takes PIXAR technology to its ultimate, final level of perfection – till the studio’s next release, that is.

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