Finding Nemo (2003) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring (voices of): Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe
Director: Andrew Stanton

FINDING NEMO, the latest offering from the renowned Pixar Animation Studios who thrilled us with THE TOY STORY movies, A BUG’S LIFE and MONSTERS, INC., is certainly a film that will swim into the hearts of most of its audience. Not only is FINDING NEMO exceptionally funny and will have you laughing out loud, but the attention to detail and sheer intricacy of the animation that has become Pixar’s trademark is absolutely superb.

The movie has a heartrending opening when Marlin (Albert Brooks), a clown fish living amongst the coral of the Great Barrier Reef, loses his mate and most of his future unhatched family to a ferocious, marauding predator. After some frantic searching Marlin finds one survivor, his son Nemo (Alexander Gould). He watches over his son and is understandably over-protective with Nemo especially since he has a ‘special’ fin that is smaller than the rest. Then the day dawns when Nemo starts school and… swims into a whole lot of trouble.

Despite rigorous reminders on the perils of the open ocean, Nemo being naturally adventurous and independent swims the furthest away from the protection of the coral and straight into a net! Scared and lonely Nemo is taken by his captor, a Sydney dentist-cum-fishing enthusiast, back to his dental practice and joins some other fish in a large tank in his office watching the joys of the daily life of a dentist at work. But Nemo is determined to escape back to the ocean that he can see from the window and find his dad especially when he learns he is to be given as a gift to the dentist’s niece from hell – the dreaded Darla!

Meanwhile dad (Marlin) who witnessed his son’s capture is in hot pursuit. In possession of some goggles he retrieved from the crime scene he swims frantically after the retreating boat and collides headlong into Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a blue tang fish. Dory joins forces with Marlin and can actually read (with incredible difficulty as she has severe short-term memory problems) the tag on the goggles, which gives a Sydney address. So now Marlin has a destination to reach and whole lot of adventures to overcome to save Nemo.

FINDING NEMO is a truly delightful and thoroughly entertaining movie to watch and director/writer Andrew Stanton has not become complacent through his past involvement with the successful TOY STORY and A BUG’S LIFE etc and delivers another blockbuster hit that includes the usual Disney family themes. Although Nemo is featured throughout the movie more of the story is about Marlin finding Nemo and the hilarious adventures that happen on route with Dory but it is nonetheless exceptionally well made and well paced, and holds the attention of audiences of all ages.

5 out of 6 stars