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Finding Nemo

A 2003 American computer-animated film by Pixar.

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A Solid Piece of CG Feature Film Even Today

  • Jan 24, 2011

Back in 2003, when Finding Nemo hit the big screen, Pixar had a track record of only four prior feature films! Having covered such topics as living toys, the day in the life of a bug, and blue-collar trials and tribulations of the average working monster, Finding Nemo represented a departure from land-based set computer wizardry to oceanic exploits of the grandest scale.

Finding Nemo takes its viewers along on the offbeat voyage of an overprotective clownfish father, Marlin (Albert Brooks), as he attempts to locate his lost (abducted) son, Nemo (Alexander Gould). See it turns out that while defying his father, young Nemo wanders too close to a human scuba diving expedition and ends up becoming a salt-water aquarium specimen.

In an instant, the once free clown fish finds himself captive (with several other inhabitants) in the waiting room of an Australian dentist’s office.  The film basically divides its time flashing between the two environments: Marlin’s trek across the ocean to reach Sidney Harbor (with the aid of a forgetful regal tang named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) and a hippie aquatic turtle named Crush (voiced by director Andrew Stanton)) & Nemo’s time in captivity, planning a great escape.

At a runtime of 100-minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes), Finding Nemo is one of the lengthier entries into the CG feature genera; a condition further exemplified by the plot pacing, which though certainly passable, seems to harken back to an era before the Pixar gang turned the craft into a well-oiled machine.

On the surface the Finding Nemo formula is pretty simplistic, almost too linear for my own tastes but a little deeper examination reveals a pretty solid grasp of the complex relationship between a father and son; one in which all that remains of a once-thriving family (with 399 siblings) is one another.

I have actually followed along on studies that set out to prove that in each other’s absence, each of the title clown fish discover the missing element of their relationship: Marlin finds himself befriending a creature (Dory) who proves that survival is possible in the rough and tumble ocean without short term memory or even much common sense while the captive Nemo finds himself under the tutelage of a father figure (Gill) who finds no fault in continually putting Nemo in harm’s way.  Without revealing too much of the film’s conclusion, the arc of the story is in fact a lesson in perfecting the relationship between parent & child.

The lighting effects and underwater setting of the film are still quite spectacular even to this day.  Scripting is, as is expected of the Disney/ Pixar machine, quite polished.  The humor is actually a little weak, especially when compared to the more risqué overtones made famous by prime competition DreamWorks.  The Thomas Newman composition/ scoring is subliminally brilliant throughout.

It should also be noted that the influence Finding Nemo has had on the collective industry in general is undeniable.  DreamWorks answered with their own underwater adventure a couple years later in Shark Tale, Weinstein Company’s The Reef would follow suit two years after that and even 20th Century Fox wanted in on the action with 2010’s The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer.  Of course it could be argued that none were near as successful at delivering such a simple prose laced with such complex emotions.

In all Finding Nemo has certainly earned its place in the hallowed halls of CG feature fame despite the fact that it’s difficult for me to consider its delivery revolutionary.  It does nothing worthy of complaint, make no mistake, but in my opinion nor does it excel in the arena of humor, plotting or sheer Pixar-esque cleverness.

By the way, the making-of featurette contains a segment that demonstrates Pixar’s study of real aquatic environments as so thorough that early graphic tests were “too realistic”. The appearance of the environments had to actually be cartooned for the actual production.  The comparison shots here are truly so amazing as to be worth the price of admission alone.  In all a very worthy addition to any collection.

A Solid Piece of CG Feature Film Even Today A Solid Piece of CG Feature Film Even Today A Solid Piece of CG Feature Film Even Today A Solid Piece of CG Feature Film Even Today

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January 24, 2011
Excellent review once again good Sir
January 25, 2011
Thanks FM_A! I'm finally digging through the pile of CG animation I amassed over the holidays! Any new pieces grace your collection?
January 25, 2011
Yeah I got that Shrek collection as well, along with some great Animes, How to Train Your Dragon, and Despicable Me.
January 26, 2011
All GOOD stuff. Awesome.
January 24, 2011
Nice review and pretty fair coverage of what I thought was a good movie but not a great one. Degeneres stole the show on this one. Don't laugh, I was more entertained with Shark Tale for some reason LOL!
January 25, 2011
I'm with you Woop, I remembered this one being a little more epic than it really was. Be on the lookout for a strange piece of CG reviewed tonight. Thanks for the read bro.
More Finding Nemo reviews
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Down right funny and a little sad but the movie was a hit I do not care who hated it because the people who hated it have no humor what so ever and should be forced to watch it over and over again until they find it some what funny. It might be harsh but some times people need a push. So how did every one else find the movie and rated it or even better if you did not like it then say why. But if you say it was to childish then get the point it is a kid movie. I want to tell every one if you do not …
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Another example of Pixar genius, Finding Nemo proves a parent will do anything to protect their children, no matter what the cost. Ellen DeGeneres is hilarious.
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Good movie to show the kids great graphics and I love the colors so much
review by . May 28, 2003
Pros: Great Graphics and laughs     Cons: Some scenes may be to scary for younger viewers     The Bottom Line: A true family classic that is easily the best work at Pixar.     The technical magicians at Pixar are back with the new animated film “Finding Nemo” that tells the story of a loving but overprotective Clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks), as he ventures out into the deep ocean to save his son Nemo (Alexander Gould), who …
About the reviewer

Ranked #10
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated film written by Andrew Stanton, directed by Stanton and Lee Unkrich and produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. It tells the story of the overly protective clownfish Marlin, voiced by Albert Brooks, who along with a regal tang called Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, searches for his son Nemo, voiced by Alexander Gould. Along the way he learns to take risks and that his son is capable of taking care of himself.

The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It was a financial blockbuster as it grossed over $864 million worldwide. It is the best-selling DVD of all time, with over 40 million copies sold as of 2006and is the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time. In 2008, the American Film Institute named it the tenth greatest animated film ever made during their 10 Top 10. It was also the first Pixar animations studio film not to be released in November.
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