Academy Award-winning film Finding Nemo returns to the big screen in thrilling Disney Digital 3D for the first time ever. Teeming with memorable comedic characters and heartfelt emotion, this stunning underwater adventure follows the momentous journey of an overprotective clown-fish named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and his young son Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould)––who become separated in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken far from his ocean home to a fish tank in a dentist’s office. Buoyed by the companionship of Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), a friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish, Marlin embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic effort to rescue his son––who hatches a few daring plans of his own to return safely home.
Much like the Disney movies of old like Bambi, Finding Nemo has it’s share of darkness and sadness but it gets it out of the way right at the start of the film. We see two clown-fish checking out their new home where they are going to raise their children. The eggs are about to hatch and Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Coral (Elizabeth Perkins) couldn’t be happier. Their happiness is short-lived when a barracuda arrives and attacks them, knocking out Marlin and killing Coral when she tried to save the eggs. When Marlin wakes up, Coral is gone along with the eggs except for one damaged egg. Heartbroken, but happy to have at least one egg left to remember Coral by, Marlin names the egg Nemo which was the name Coral liked.
Time passes and Marlin in the meantime has become an overprotective father to Nemo, partly because of what happened to Coral and partly due to Nemo’s bad fin that was damaged when he was in the egg. During Nemo’s first day of school, Marlin is a nervous wreck and ends up embarrassing Nemo due to his unchecked worrying. Nemo acts out by going out into the ocean against his father’s wishes and ends up getting captured by a well-intentioned dentist who thought Nemo was struggling. The diver returns to the boat and takes off before Marlin can catch up in time to save his son. The only clue to where Nemo was taken is the diver’s mask that fell off the boat that has his address on it.
While chasing after Nemo, Marlin literally runs into a friendly fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) who it turns out suffers from short term memory loss. Dory offers to lead Marlin in the direction that the boat went, but after a couple of minutes she has completely forgotten all about the boat and Marlin. Things get even worse when they get surrounded by sharks, but lucky for them these sharks are part of a “Fish Are Friends” group that’s trying to stop eating other fish. Marlin and Dory are forced to go to the intervention meeting with the sharks where they are supposed to participate. When Marlin accidentally gives Dory a bloody nose, the scent of her blood makes Bruce (Barry Humphries), a giant great white shark go blood crazy and he tries to eat them. During their escape, Dory remembers that she knows how to read so she’s able to read the address on the mask so the two know that Nemo was taken to Sydney, Australia.
Meanwhile, Nemo is having an adventure of his own now that he’s been dumped in a fish tank in the dentist’s office. There he discovers the “Tank Gang” that consists of a puffer fish known as Bloat (Brad Garrett), a yellow tang named Bubbles (Stephen Root), a starfish named Peach (Alison Janney), a Royal gramma named Gurgle (Austin Pendleton), s shrimp known as Jacques (Joe Ranft), a Blacktailed Humbug named Deb (Vicki Lewis), and their scarred leader Gill (Willem Dafoe). They warn Nemo that the dentist plans on giving him to her as a present, which would be a bad idea because she has a tendency to kill fish from being too rough on them. Gill concocts a plan for them to escape that puts Nemo at risk, but Nemo is desperate enough to escape that he accepts the danger. When a visiting pelican named Nigel Geoffrey Rush) shows up. the fish tell him all about Nemo’s tale.
En route to Sydney, Marlin and Dory encounter dangerous jellyfish, a whale that swallows them, and rode with a convoy of turtles in the East Australian Current, (or the swirling vortex of terror as Marlin likes to call it). Their journey has become famous as the various birds, fish, dolphins and more all pass on the story and it becomes so well known that when Nigel hears about it, he instantly realizes that Marlin is Nemo’s father and he returns to the fish tank to let Nemo know that his dad is coming for him. Knowing that his overcautious father was looking for him and facing the by now exaggerated risks to do so, Nemo decides to take some risks of his own in order to escape the tank once and for all. By the end of the movie, both Marlin and Nemo are driven to reunite by their love for each other and they are helped by a collection of new friends that they met in the process.
Finding Nemo is one of my favorite Pixar films as it has a fantastic script that works on many levels and also because the characters are so well-defined and the animation is just beautiful to see. It’s also rare that you get to see a father trying to save his son, so as a father to a young boy, this story also touched more more than most. Every parent can relate to wanting to protect their child at all costs, even to the point of inadvertently over-protecting them. Of course, that kind of love and protection can come at a cost. As Dory points out, “ You can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.” The movie offers a lot of good lessons that are presented with humor such as learning to let go, trust in your friends, and always hope for the best. It was great seeing this movie again in the theater and the 3D for it was excellent. The added depth really made the undersea environments come alive and look even more beautiful. This film didn’t have a whole lot of the 3D gags but it did add a very nice extra layer of immersion to the movie and I’m looking forward to the 3D Blu-ray this December!
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