[MOVIE REVIEW]Delivering 20,000 laughs under the animated seaPixar Studios, the computer animators who brought us “Toy Story” and “Monsters Inc.,” is back with a story that is its most amazing technically, but also its richest at a story level. And it is very, very funny.
But first, “Finding Nemo” opens with a tragic scene apparently designed to emotionally scar a whole new generation of children too young to ever have known the horror of seeing Bambi’s mother get shot. Very sad, and rather intense for young children, but it sets the stage for Marlin (voice by Albert Brooks), the rather unhappy and definitely overprotective clown fish.
Marlin lives in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with his son Nemo (Alexander Gould). His son is full of life and wants to explore everything, but the neurotic Marlin is petrified of life and everything in it.
Fed up with his paranoid father, Nemo snaps one day and performs a very daring stunt. But in the process, he is discovered by some human divers who put him in a plastic bag and take him away to an aquarium in Sydney. Marlin rushes to save his son, but is no match for a motorboat.
The rest of the story details Marlin’s attempts to find his son, and Nemo’s attempts to free himself from the aquarium and get back to the ocean.
Both will find a lot of help along the way. Marlin soon befriends Dory (Ellen Degeneres), a dotty tang with a short-term memory problem. Dory may not remember much, but she has a whole bunch of surprising talents, especially with language, that often emerge when least expected.
Nemo, in the meantime, teams up with the other aquarium dwellers, all of whom want to get to the ocean. When the fish learn that the tank owner intends on giving Nemo as a present to his satanic 9-year-old niece, Nemo’s quest for freedom suddenly becomes all the more urgent.
Throughout the story, the level of rendering on the computer animation is simply amazing, creating a world that is full of detail, and that feels as vast and as mysterious as the ocean should.
The biological details are so well done (ignored on occasion only by design, not by accident), that “Finding Nemo” could help usher in a new generation of oceanographers. From the surface to the ocean’s depths, from the rich life of the coral reef to the polluted desert of a city harbor, “Finding Nemo” is like an encyclopedia of the world’s oceans.
And no matter how creative the writers get, the whales still act like whales, the sharks act like sharks and the seagulls act like the flying idiot vermin that they are.
How is Pixar able to do it? Film after film, its animators create stories that are creative, engaging, smart and fun (call Pixar the Un-Matrix). I have no idea what the secret is, but I hope they keep on using it.
Animated comedy / English
by Mark Russell