Directors: Lee Unkrich, Andrew Stanton
Cast: Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Defoe
Running Time: 100 min
Release: 29 March
3D: Only available in 3D
Finding Nemo is a beautiful film about family, bravery, loss, perseverance and one of several Pixar films that doesn’t so much pull your heartstrings as piss out of your tear ducts. It followed in the wake of Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 2, and fairly cemented Pixar’s reputation as a studio that made incredible, touching, accessible films that for once really did appeal to ‘all the family’. They were clever without being smug (Dreamworks went down this road, quickly becoming nauseating) and touching without being twee. Part of the reason for their films’ power was their willingness to put their characters in real peril, and to have them struggle and strive for happiness. Sadness exists in Pixar movies (if the start of Up doesn’t at least make your lip quiver then you are a monster), but it’s this sadness that allows them to be so wonderful, because it’s a real, recognisable sadness, the kind we all need to overcome.
Lets address the reason for the re-release. The 3D is perfectly fine, and does a good job showcasing the vastness of the ocean, yet it still struggles to prove its worth as more than a curio. Certain scenes fill the screen very effectively, but Finding Nemo is so well animated it doesn’t take much to make it seem grand. The most common trick of the 3D here is to drop little bits of flotsam in the middle ground, away from the action; an interesting addition, but one that’ll hardly add to your enjoyment of the film. On the plus side, this is a film that isn’t hurt by being a little darker than normal, the usual side effect of effectively wearing sunglasses in the cinema.
Now that that’s out of the way: Nemo (Gould) is a clownfish, the only one of his father Marlin’s (Brooks) clutch that survived a barracuda attack. As a result of this trauma, his father is terrified of anything happening to him and shelters him to the point that Nemo resents him. This resentment leads him to swims out open water; an act of defiance that leads to him being caught by a scuba-diving dentist. Said dentist keeps him in a tank in his office in preparation for gifting him to his fish-slaughtering niece, Darla. Thus the film splits into two narratives, Marlin searching for Nemo with the aid of the memory addled Dory (Degeneres), and Nemo trying to escape back into the ocean with the help of his tank-mates, including a Willem Defoe voiced angel fish who’s essentially the same character Defoe plays in Platoon. There are sharks, sea turtles, jellyfish, seagulls, spinning drills and terrifying beasts from the depths of the ocean. Defoe is hilarious and Brooks is a great reluctanct hero, but the film belongs to Degeneres. She’s absolutely wonderful.
Chances are you know most of this already. Chances are you’re already singing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” in your head. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter how recently you’ve seen this or how old you are. You should probably go see Finding Nemo again, because it’s bloody lovely.