Director: Andrew Stanton Voices: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney
Duration: 101 minutes
We can get an idea of how film lovers must have felt throughout the late 30s & early 40s as Disney unveiled each new film: Snow White. Pinocchio. Fantasia. Dumbo. Bambi. 70-some years later we're treated to an equivalent renaissance: Toy Story. A Bug's Life. Toy Story 2. Monsters Inc... and now Finding Nemo.
Following the earth-cracking success of Monsters Inc., the Pixar braintrust (Peter Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird and Pete Docter) set their sites on an underwater theme, and to precisely nobody's surprise, their Finding Nemo has been a resounding success the world over. It earned a record-breaking $320m at the US box-office and raised £7.3m in just its opening weekend in the UK. DVD sales have been nothing short of staggering.
Albert Brooks leads an all star cast of voice-overs as Marlin, a clown fish whose peaceful existence with his mate ends in disaster as he is left alone with a single egg from his entire brood. That egg becomes Nemo (Alexander Gould), Marlin's reason for living and his last tether to his ever-present past. On his first day at school, the friendly manta ray teacher takes the kids to the "Drop Off" better known as the continental shelf. Horrified by the thought, Marlin races off to protect his little Nemo. Nemo, thinking his father is afraid of doing daring things, swims out to a boat in defiance of his father's impassioned pleadings to the contrary. A pet shop tropical fish collector captures Nemo and takes him off on an adventure into the world of mankind.
Distraught, Marlin immediately swims off to try to follow his son and hopefully rescue him. Sadly, his small body simply can't keep up with the motor-powered boat. Along the way, he meets a short-term memory-stricken fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) who agrees to help him rescue his son, but often forgets their task as they travel on and encounters schools of mimicking fish, vegetarian sharks and embark on other grand adventures. Meanwhile, Nemo is introduced into a fish tank where he meets the film's other vocal talents. His aquarium friends include Gill (Willem Dafoe), a depressed fish who consistently tries to escape the tank but has yet to succeed; Bloat (Brad Garrett), a puffer fish who blows up when he gets nervous; Peach (Allison Janney), a starfish who spends most of her time glued to the side of the tank, telling everyone what she sees in the outside world; Deb (Vicki Lewis) who always talks to her sister Flo, which is nothing more than her reflection; and several other fascinating characters.
Finding Nemo is a beautiful tale about the love of a father for his son forcing him to grip too tightly to the apron strings, suffocating his offspring and forcing a rebellion. It's also the story of a son whose lack of faith in his own father's bravery fails to believe that his dad would even come looking for him when he's lost. The movie examines the delicate relationship between new found friends on a common mission and the bond that can develop when they come together.
The voice work in this film is fantastic. DeGeneres is mind-blowing in her brilliantly manic way. She defines forgetfulness while creating a character that is extremely memorable. Likewise, Lewis and Janney are simply irresistible. They use the hilarious script effectively creating a bevy of personalities that leap from the screen. The screenplay by director Andrew Stanton along with Bob Peterson and David Reynolds is fantastic. It tells a meaningful story that allows the viewer to feel the emotions alongside its characters as well as give the audience a chance to laugh with everyone else at the ludicrous situations that make life underwater a stranger experience than outer-space.
All ages will enjoy Finding Nemo's raucous spirit and outrageous moments which take place while exploring the frailties of a relationship so fresh and meaningful. Don't skip the credits on your DVD or you'll miss some great interactions between the film's fishy denizens and the scrolling credits.
DVD Extras: Disc One: Widescreen version. Turn your TV into a virtual aquarium with animated scenes from the movie. Filmmakers' commentary including deleted scenes and recording sessions. 'Making Nemo' documentary. Review The Art Of Nemo (narrated by the artists themselves).
Disc Two: Full frame version. Exploring The Reef With Jean-Michel Cousteau. Turn your TV into a virtual aquarium including never-before-seen animation. The Pixar short film 'Knick Knack'. Sneak peek at Pixar's The Incredibles. School Of Fish. Mr. Ray's Encyclopedia. Behind-the-scenes tour of Pixar. Storytime Fun. Play 'Fisharades'.