Finding Nemo

UK release date: Sep 8 2009

cast list

Albert Brooks
Ellen DeGeneres
Alexander Gould
Allison Janney
Geoffrey Rush
Willem Dafoe

directed by
Andrew Stanton

Pixar Animation Studios have produced four great computer-animated featuresover the past eight years – the two Toy Story films, MonstersInc. and A Bug’s Life, but the ads for this feature didn’t impress.

One should never put too much stock into comingattraction trailers.

Life along the Great Barrier Reef is full of dangerswhen you are a tiny clown fish. And for Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), asingle parent determined to protect his only son Nemo (Alexander Gould),there are constant fears and anxieties. On his first day of school, Nemodefies his father and swims off alone to investigate a boat; a diversuddenly scoops him up as Marlin helplessly watches.

Marlin turns desperate as he frantically swims off insearch for his son. He soon bumps into Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a likeablefish with severe short-term memory loss, who offers to help. The odd coupleset out to, yes, find Nemo, contending with sharks, deadly anglerfishes anda forest of jellyfish. Meanwhile, in a dentist’s office overlooking SydneyHarbor, Nemo has landed in a fish tank that is home to a colorful group ofcharacters that want to initiate him into their gang. When word of Marlinand Dory’s ocean adventures gets back to Nemo, he is so thrilled to learn ofhis father’s search for him that he becomes motivated to move forward withan escape plan of his own.

Single-minded seagulls that only say “Mine!”Vegetarian sharks with Australian accents enrolled in a 12-step recoveryprogram. Neurotic Clown Fish who aren’t very funny. These are but a fewthings that help make Finding Nemo perfect entertainment for everyoneyoung and old. Director and co-screenwriter Andrew Stanton, who alsoprovides the voice of a surfer-dude turtle named Crush, and his team ofprofessionals do a great job combing a well-conceived concept, a solidstory, rich characters worth caring about and eye-popping animation to makea through and through winner. Nemo is filled with enough smarts and genuine,heartfelt emotion to fill any three of live-action films currently cloggingthe multiplexes.

Brooks does a fine job with conveying Marlin’soverprotective parental anxieties while also successfully playing straightman to DeGeneres’ scene-stealing turn as the absent-minded Dory. Gould isalso great as Nemo, while Willem Dafoe, Allison Janney, Brad Garrett andVicki Lewis as fellow fish tank captives who try to help Nemo reunite withhis dad, Geoffrey Rush as a seagull and Barry Humphreys, a.k.a. Dame Edna,as a shark named Bruce, are all also first-rate.

If all film productions took the time the same way thefolks at Pixar Animation Studios do to develop and produce the best filmpossible, maybe going to the movies wouldn’t so often be an ordeal. Since that isunlikely to happen, we’ll just have to consider ourselves lucky that atleast one studio does and be grateful for them turning out gems like Finding Nemo.

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