A fish must find his son across the open ocean.
Finding Nemo graced our screens over fifteen years ago, and its magic and wonderment still remain as strong today as it did back then. This is quintessential Pixar viewing and I've seen it countless times, and I plan to watch it countless more after this review. An incredible amount of heart and humor went into this and not one frame is wasted, the creators hit the ground running with this one and never stop until the fulfilling finish line.
Besides “Up”, “Finding Nemo” has the saddest intro to a Pixar movie, with father clown fish Marlin (Albert Brooks, “Drive”) and mother clown fish Coral (Elizabeth Perkins) gazing at their 400 plus allotment of fish babies almost ready to hatch, reminiscing on how they met but only to be encountered with destruction from an ocean predator who kills everything except one egg and Marlin. Marlin names the last egg Nemo (Alexander Gould), Coral's last wish before her death, and vows to protect him no matter what. Roll title card. It's a pretty extreme way to set up the film, but it gives viewers a wonderful set up to a fairly simple story. Then years later when Nemo, with a bad fin disobeys his father and swims too far out in the ocean he gets captured by a human, and is whisked away by boat, leaving Marlin only one choice; save his son despite his deep fear of the ocean. This film is full of heartfelt messages and surprises which include vegetarian sharks, giant whales, stoner turtles, bouncy jellyfish, it's endlessly entertaining for any age group, and to this day remains my favorite Pixar movie of all time.
It goes without saying that the Animation is still flawless, and while it's not quite as technically impressive or expansive as “Monster's Inc.” or “Wall-E”, that definitely works for it's benefit, the ocean looks great but it's a simplistic thing to create, it's the fish life that fill the deep blue that really give this film its flawless form, instead of distracting background movements, everything is in the forefront, it's intentional and it's beautiful.
Every character is a breath of fresh air, from the school children who claim with endearing tenacity that "I'm obnoxious!" to the singing sting ray who serves as the school teacher. From the start Marlin befriends Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a fish with short term memory loss, oh the irony. Marlin and Dory encounter dangers and adventure aplenty, first the 'in recovery' sharks led by Bruce (Barry Humphries) who believes fish are friends, not food, then there's a mine field, followed by a stoner turtle named crush (Andrew Stanton) who is absolutely a classic Pixar character, eventually without spoiling everything, leading up to be swallowed by a whale, the whole thing exudes excitement.
All while Marlin is out trying to reach his son, Nemo is trapped in a fish tank at a dentist office located in Australia, P. Sherman Wallaby Way Sydney, to be exact. With Nemo in this tank are myriad of sea friends, including an angel fish with a gimp fin like Nemo named Gill (Willem Dafoe, “At Eternities Gate”), a most observant star fish Peach (Allison Janey, “I, Tonya”), an ever cleaning shrimp Jaques (Joe Ranft) and the list goes on. Their main goal is to help Nemo escape and reunite him with their father, with constant teamwork and help from their Pelican friend Nigel (Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”) they must learn to overcome their obstacles, before Nemo is given away to the dentist's neice Darla, the terrible fish killing child, who when on screen a Psycho-esque song is played to great humorous effect. The two stories play alongside each other perfectly balanced and well paced, even on my umpteenth viewing I found myself cheering for Nemo and Marlin.
Overall Finding Nemo still remains as a Pixar classic, near perfect animation and writing bring this vivid ocean world to life. With a vast array of fun characters and set pieces it is impossible to become bored, the humor spreads across every age range, from one of the most perfectly timed fart jokes, to Crush the turtle saying he waxes his shell, there's never a shortage of belly laughs. Pixar really nails down their message with his how far a father is willing to go to save his son, with an underlying theme of teamwork and acceptance. This is a film for animation and non animation fans alike, there's something in it for everyone, as it's just an absolute gem of a movie. I give Finding Nemo 5 stars out of 5.
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