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Finding Nemo (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (2003)

Kids & Family movie directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

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Falls short of its illustrious predecessors

  • Mar 8, 2004
  • by
Inevitably, computer animated films will be compared against each other. I don't normally like doing that, but here a small bunch of films vie for the same market with the same qualities (technical excellence, anthropomorphic comedy and adult/kid crossover appeal) so it is a very easy thing to do.
On that basis, Nemo ranks well down the tables; behind Shrek, Monsters Inc and either instalment of Toy Story.

No quibbles technically. Extraordinary. But then again, the films in this bracket are all extraordinary, so it's not such a big deal. In any case technical virtuosity by itself does not great cinema make.

As a child placator, it can't match any of its Pixar predecessors or the brilliant Shrek. In fact, Nemo isn't really a kid's film at all. Our Monsters Inc-mad 3 year old, whose tastes are admittedly somewhat eclectic (also a big fan of Blade Runner, for some reason), was simply terrified and now refuses point blank to watch the DVD. I can see his point: Nemo is quite violent in places - it may be cartoon violence, but given the technical achievement, these cartoons are now so realistic that the very idea of cartoon violence begins to lose its meaning.

As a parent placator, Nemo isn't a great deal better. One of the truly shining qualities of the earlier Pixar releases is their rewatchability factor - since you are forced to endure them over and over at your children's behest, this is an inestimably vital quality. Every pass at Monsters Inc. reveals a fertile crop of partially buried cinematic references, visual gags and cheeky quips from background characters. Nemo is stonier ground. Nor is the script as funny - there are some nice touches, to be sure (Barry Humphries' Bruce the Shark is a cracker, but gets precious little screen time) and while Ellen DeGeneres' Dory is funny enough, in her I think the production doesn't have quite the same calibre of comic timing offered by a Billy Crystal, Tim Allen or Eddie Murphy.

The overall vibe of the picture - a cloyingly redemptive weepy, basically - is so Disney it hurts. In case you were wondering, I mean that in a bad way. The earlier Pixar movies largely avoided this, and were all the better for it. Nemo charts a course straight back into Bambi territory.

Apparently Pixar has nixed its relationship with Disney (I wonder if this sort of editorial influence in part brought that about), and it would do very well to go back to the anarchic post-modern comedy and lay off the maudlin moralising next time.

Lastly a couple of points on the DVD: as seems to be Disney's wont, the pre-menu stage is jammed with advertisements for other Disney pictures you have to actively avoid (though at least now you *can* actively avoid them - in Toy Story you have to cue through the blighters) and the making-of documentary reveals a horribly self satisfied bunch who were openly of the opinion that they were making one of the best movies of all time - which is a sure recipe for a stinker.

As it happens Nemo isn't a stinker, but it isn't a great film either. We're still in full-frontal Disney hype at the moment, of course, but I suspect time will come to judge Nemo rather more harshly than has the box office.

Watch those sale bins.

Olly Buxton

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More Finding Nemo (Two-Disc Collect... reviews
review by . April 08, 2007
Finding Nemo is probably one of the best movies ever produced by Pixar and Walt Disney. It was a hit at the theaters, and also a hit on the DVD release. This two-disc set features the same movie as the original theatrical release, plus lots of extra features. There are extra scenes and deleted scenes, but these are mainly sketches and hence are not included as part of the regular movie. The movie itself is worth buying this set; its bright and flashy with cool visuals and special effects that make …
review by . December 03, 2005
Finding Nemo is a great movie! It starts out a little scary perhaps for the really little ones, but once it gets going, the personalities of each character each take over. The story of how fearful Nemo's father is of letting anything happen to him prevents Anything happening to Nemo, so he rebels, and get's separated from his father. The lesson of letting go is loud and clear. My kids absolutely love's this movie and its one of there top favorite.  In this film, the characters are quite …
review by . January 31, 2004
As grandparents, my wife and I appreciate films such as this which really do offer "something for everyone," especially when our grandchildren urge us to see it with them again and again and again and again....The same is true of Antz, A Bug's Life, Shrek, Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and Monsters. All of these animated films offer an interesting story line and memorable characters, to be sure, but they also offer wholesome humor on several different levels of sophistication, humor which thus delights …
review by . November 10, 2003
"Finding Nemo" is an enjoyable film to watch. With characters like "Bruce" and "Dory," this story is sure to hold the attention of any young child. My two and one-half year old loves it, and not a day goes by when she wants to watch the "fish" show.   Like other Pixar movies, this story features great animation, although I noticed a couple of frames in the DVD looked rather "digitized" compared to others. The story isn't too violent, is geared towards younger audiences and has a few laughs …
review by . September 03, 2003
Pixar does it again! What sets their previous efforts apart from other computer animated films has been their equal emphasis between aesthetic quality and a quality story. And again they succeed on both counts.It's a multilayered set of themes that make this story so effective. There is the basic umbrella of a parent frantically trying to regain his son, while working against his own fears. Meanwhile the son strives to master his own potential and an independence thrust on him by his own rash action. …
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Olly Buxton ()
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About this movie


A delightful undersea world unfolds in Pixar's animated adventureFinding Nemo. When his son Nemo is captured by a scuba-diver, a nervous-nellie clownfish named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) sets off into the vast--and astonishingly detailed--ocean to find him. Along the way he hooks up with a scatterbrained blue tang fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), who's both helpful and a hindrance, sometimes at the same time. Faced with sharks, deep-sea anglers, fields of poisonous jellyfish, sea turtles, pelicans, and much more, Marlin rises above his neuroses in this wonderfully funny and nonstop thrill ride--rarely does more than 10 minutes pass without a sequence destined to become a theme park attraction. Pixar continues its run of impeccable artistic and economic success (their movies includeToy Story,A Bug's Life,Toy Story 2, andMonsters, Inc). Also featuring the voices of Willem Dafoe, Geoffrey Rush, and Allison Janney.--Bret Fetzer
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Genre: Family
DVD Release Date: November 4, 2003
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Video
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