In a world where fish have personalities, and have lives of their own, the life of clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) is shaken when his only son Nemo is taken from him by divers. He goes on an oeanwide journey to find his son, meeting a friendly but forgetful blue tang fish Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a cool sea turtle Crush, and many other creatures-learning a valuable lesson along the way.
So the question is….Does Finding Nemo still hold up after being out and about in public for thirteen years?
Well….That’s a definite yes. With an attraction at Walt Disney World Resort where you can talk to Crush, or ride in a sub at Disneyland and now with a “companion piece” which is a much nicer term for a film like Finding Dory out and breaking all sorts of records at the box office, Finding Nemo’s staying power seems to be going strong. But why? Let’s take a look.
- The ANIMATION
- The ocean is a stunning, dangerous, beautifully gorgeous place. And even though this movie was released in 2003 and production years before, when CGI wasn’t at the place it is now, the film holds up extremely well in blu-ray and Digital HD. The lighting, the flowing animation, the way the characters are designed, the sound effects of the water….everything is done just beautifully.
- The CHARACTERS
- All of the characters are wonderful. Especially the two leads Marlin and Dory. It’s important the audience like your leads; they don’t like your leads they very well won’t like your movie. Thankfully, these leads are wonderful. Marlin’s character is more than understandable after the horrific loss he suffered at the movie’s prologue at the hands of a nasty predator known as a barracuda. He’s manic, overbearing, over-protective, distrusting, and just downright neurotic type of fish. His exact counterpart is Dory; a fun-loving, lives in the moment regal blue-tang. His adventurous son Nemo is cute to a degree, the Tank Gang is funny and holds up the subplot well enough and the characters Marlin meets along the way are funny and memorable. Particularly Crush dudes.Also Marlin is one of cinema’s BEST dads ever. For a lot of reasons-in particular his sheer determination to find his son.
- The SOUNDTRACK
- The soundtrack completely fits the movie; mysterious, energetic, depressing, and just relaxing. Exactly like the movie, and exactly like the ocean in which this takes place.
- The VOICE ACTING
- Everyone brings their A game in this movie. It actually took me a LONG while after this movie was released before I even knew Dory was voiced by THE Ellen. Albert Brooks does a remarkable job on Marlin, and Alexander Gould as Nemo, Willem Dafoe as Gill (go figure eh?), Geoffry Rush as Nigel a pelican, and Andrew Stanton as the 150 year old sea turtle Crush, bring about wonderful and memorable characters. Voice acting often revolves around actors just in a booth surrounded by pictures of their characters and how the director wants them to read their lines. It’s a hard task to pull off well and these guys did over the moon amazing. Albert Brooks in particular really sells Marlin’s misery and woes in the beginning and his determination to find his son.
- The LESSON
- The lesson for this movie is more so for parents than kids. Marlin as stated before is overbearing and over-protective, and doesn’t seem to lose traits completely in Finding Dory. He only slightly overcomes these traits during his epic voyage….Which is what happens in real life. He slowly but surely comes out of his scales, and learns the value of having friends, of trusting others (there are quite a few scenes that almost hammer this in for Marlin but not to the point of “ok we get it already”) and in the end, he learns to let his son go. Which is the lesson here; go to the ends of the earth for your child, but learn when it’s time to let them go. More often than not, an animation (which typically are seen as “just for kids” movies) have lessons thus geared for the children. So for an animation from Pixar no less to have a lesson for adults isn’t something you see everyday.
In the end, there are plenty of reasons why Finding Nemo is still remembered, still regarded as one of Pixar’s BEST films, won the Academy Award for Best Animation, and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. It’s just a wonderful, heartfelt story about a father’s determination to save his son, and a father’s journey to grow as a character. Sometimes the movie can be a little to dialogue heavy, but for the most part, the movie just breathes. This movie is all about “Show don’t tell”; it just lets the audience experience this beautiful world Pixar has created. It’s no wonder they decided to create the sequel/Companion piece Finding Dory.
Finding Nemo deserves nothing short, of a 5/5 from me.
Also every dad ever should watch this movie with their kids.