Sorry to do this to you again, guys, but I am being drowned in work and am unable to go to the cinema this week once more. However, I have two weeks with minimum shifts, because I think I have earned it. I might even try to squeeze in two films for next Friday, but no promises. Once more, I apologise.
Director: Andrew Stanton
Cast: Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres, Alexander Gould, Eric Bana and Willem Defoe
Plot: Nemo the fish gets lost and ends up trapped in a fish tank at the dentist’s, sending his nervous father on a mission across the ocean to get him back.
This film was made at a time, when a new Pixar movie guaranteed one of the biggest movie events of the year. The Toy Story trilogy could very well be an outsider contestant for best trilogy in cinema and Monsters Inc and Bugs Life are also some fantastic pieces of cinema. However, maybe best of all, and that is a very strong statement to make when discussing the geniuses at Pixar, comes Finding Nemo, the story about a little fish and a very big ocean.
Nemo is the last survivor member of Marlin’s clownfish family. His wife and the rest of his eggs were devoured by a deadly barracuda, leaving him one of the most protective, fussy fathers around. Nemo, being at that age, desires to get away, but in exploring alone, he ends up caught by a diver. Nemo ends up trapped in a fish tank in the dentist’s office, which forces the timid Marlin to begin a massive journey to Sydney, Australia to get him back. Accompanying him is a forgetful Blue Tang, Dory, and along the way, he meets vegetarian sharks, the deadly creatures of the Twilight Zone and perhaps the funniest flock of seagulls to ever grace the big screen.
The first thing that strikes you about Finding Nemo is just how beautiful it actually is. The ocean has never looked so beautiful. In most animation, or films everywhere, I guess, the ocean is seen as an endless void, but Pixar shoots it so masterfully that it seems like a thriving thing, constantly shifting and showing us flashes of light from the surface. It could have been possible to show us nothing but the back drop to Finding Nemo and the adults in the audience would have been just as amazed as they were with the finished product. Before Finding Nemo, I always thought as animated movies as little more than the kind of movies you watched before, you were old enough to appreciate the rest of cinema. Pixar totally reverses this theory and we end up coming away from this film, truly believing that animated movies can be a form of art, when in the right hands. And Pixar Studios are, without a doubt, the right hands.
The story is good too. With a lot of kids movies, the director picks a fun background and setting to work with and then just writes a story that is little more than an excuse to get some visual gags into the mix. Pixar however, despite having so much talent in the artistry and direction of their work, believe that the script is still the most important part of the movie. Therefore, we are treated to a great adventure with some very clear morals. There is a strong message about the strength of family and also trust. There is also this idea that it is a very big and dangerous world out there that should not be taken lightly, no matter how glorious and pretty it looks. We get some good solid characters telling this story (Albert Brooks is on top form and Dory is, of course, one of the best Pixar creations out there), and some hilarious dialogue. Everything just works so perfectly.
There are so many good moments that it is impossible to select a few out to talk about. The film is constantly switching styles, never going for the same strand of adventure, although it never becomes manic. It is simply fun. We have one of the most bizarre shark appearances in cinema, the terrifying world of the Twilight Zone and then we have some encounters with some wacky and wonderful sea creatures, from some miming salmon, a peaceful group of surfer turtles and a blue whale, a scene which literally throws Dory into movie history. Everything works. It has been finely tuned to the point of total mastery of the film. A tremendous effort on the part of Pixar.
Final Verdict: Pixar hasn’t been this good in a long while. Finding Nemo could be one of the best animations in cinematic history.