Release: May 30, 2003
by Kevin Lang
Although not as enjoyable as last year's Pixar treat "Monster's Inc.", "Finding Nemo" was still a delightful film filled with intelligent touches of humor that kept me laughing to myself throughout. Like the previous Pixar films, "Finding Nemo" again carried a positive message that the filmmakers emphasized effectively through the use of creative storytelling and characters. The story highlighted the importance of facing your deepest fears to travel (in this case swim) beyond the boundaries that restrict you.
Young Nemo's father, Marlin (Albert Brooks), ventured out in search of his son, who had been caught by a scuba diver and put into the scuba diver's office fish tank. Marlin had feared the ocean ever since Nemo's mother, brothers, and sisters had been killed in a shark attack. Some of the film's shark scenes were rather frightening, and I would perhaps caution against bringing very young children to the film. Even the kind sharks had terrifying razor sharp teeth.
Marlin met another fish, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), while he searched for Nemo. Dory suffered from short-term memory loss, which provided for some of the funnier moments of the film. At first, Dory seemed to be a drag for Marlin, but gradually Marlin realized Dory's uniqueness. This was a theme that spanned almost all of the characters in the film, including Nemo, who was born with an underdeveloped fin, but had a great amount of courage.
"Finding Nemo" was definitely an imaginative film. However, it didn't quite leave me with the overwhelming satisfaction of other computer-animated films like "Toy Story" or Dreamwork's "Shrek." Although the humor was there, children may find the fish characters less appealing than toys that come to life or monster's that come out of their closets. Still, it was hard not to be impressed by the animation as well as the sound.
As the technology advances, Pixar seems to outdo itself with each subsequent filmmaking effort. Every wave, splash, bubble, and movement was highlighted with such accurate sound effects that at times it was hard to believe that what I was watching wasn't real. Then again, reality is rarely as colorful as the animated textures of the ocean environments of "Finding Nemo." The film is evidence that Pixar is continuing to master the domain of computer-animated films that they started with 1995's "Toy Story."
Nemo's" menacing sharks, beach bum turtles, hungry whales, and perching
pelicans, there was enough goofy humor to sustain oneself for the film's
entire 101 minutes. However, the film's attempt to be heartfelt felt more
forced here and lacked the conviction of "Monster's Inc." Even
so, kids will nonetheless leave the theater as if they had traded brains
with a wave-riding turtle. I can already hear them now...
"Finding Nemo" Review written May 29, 2003, CTF.
ChasingtheFrog.com, CTF Media