Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Film Review: Finding Nemo

From a pride of lions in the plains of Africa to a baby deer in a wooded forest; Disney has given much acknowledgment to the animal kingdom. When Disney merged with Pixar Animation in 1995, the concept of animals as characters were long but forgotten. In the year 2003, Disney Pixar turned to the sea as inspiration for their next major animated film. The motion picture Finding Nemo was released and became the world’s highest grossing animated film of all time (Pixar).

Pixar is a studio that specializes in computer animation for short and feature films. “Pixar's objective is to combine proprietary technology and world-class creative talent to develop computer-animated feature films with memorable characters and heartwarming stories that appeal to audiences of all ages”(Pixar). One unusual challenge was setting the story in the ocean. It posed problems with lighting, texture, scenery and movement. The Pixar animation team overcame these problems with outstanding results. Finding Nemo’s intricate animation will make it stand out for years to come.

Finding Nemo, directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, is the story of a clown fish, Marlin (voice by Albert Brooks) and his wife and proud mother to be, Coral (Elizabeth Perkins). The two are setting up a family and a life in a new coral reef. Since Finding Nemo is Disney movie, of course there has to be coping with the loss of a parent. Before the first scene has even ended, a barracuda fish attacks Coral and Marlin’s new home eating Coral and all but one of the little clown fish eggs. Though Marlin is spared, he’s heartbroken and vows to "never let anything happen" to his only child named Nemo by Coral. Nemo is forced into a sheltered childhood because of Marlin’s fears of the cruelty of the outside world. When Nemo is finally allowed to go to school he decides to rebel against Marlin’s paranoia by swimming out into open water. Through this act, Nemo ends up being kidnapped by a scuba diver and learns that sometimes father really does know best. A frantic Marlin fears for his child, the only thing he has left in his life, and sets off to do what any other parent would; to find Nemo. Marlin sets off on his long journey and is joined by another fish, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). Dory is well intended though she suffers short term memory loss and Marlin who is frustrated and desperate has to deal with constantly reminding Dory of simple details. Together they travel an epic journey in which they encounter many other interesting sea creatures who help the duo along the way. While Marlin is faithfully searching the whole ocean for his child, Nemo has been taken to a fish tank located in an Australian dental office. Little Nemo befriends the other odd fish in the tank but wants nothing more than to return to his dad in the ocean.

Finding Nemo is a surprisingly compelling and funny story of the lost and the found that will make any person young or old feel warm and fuzzy by the end.

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