Had a blast last night watching Pixar's Finding Nemo. Yes, I had high expectations after Monsters, Inc., and the Toy Story movies which I thoroughly enjoyed. Pixar has a way of involving both adults and kids in their comedies: there is physical comedy and a whole bunch of one-liners and running gags for the more mature audience. Needless to say, I enjoyed both tremendously.
There had been so much hoopla about this movie, Andrew Stanton's brainchild: the various features (especially on Disney channel), the so-many-years-in-the-making, the thrill of having Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush, and Willem Dafoe voicing an animated feature [which I am not feeling for Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-J.-D., Michelle Pfeiffer and Joseph Fiennes in Sinbad... maybe because I really have a crush on the Green Goblin dude]. But I was not disappointed. Pixar has made a beautiful movie, strangely hypnotic like the aquarium channel (sometimes looking even more vivid and real than the aquarium channel!), with a whole lot of love. I already marveled at the CGI of Monsters, Inc. This movie's animation is pretty darn great. Aside from the rendering of the ocean (diffused light, currents, and particles floating), there was a particularly wonderful sight of water gleaming off a fish's scales. I suggest you watch it somewhere near the middle of the cinema where the screen is the only thing that you see. Superb.
Albert Brooks' Marlin is a neurotic father who loses his wife and almost all his children to a barracuda, and as a result is overly protective of his one remaining son Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould) who has an abnormally small dorsal fin. When Nemo is caught by a diver and placed in a fish tank in a dentist's office, Marlin takes on the ocean, meets the memory-challenged Dory (played to scatter-brained glory by Ellen DeGeneres), some sharks (Bruce Humphries, whom I particularly know as Dame Edna on Ally McBeal, plays a great white named Bruce, an homage to Jaws), sea turtles, angler fish, jellyfish, and pelicans, and rides the East Australian Current (the EAC), all to find his son. Nemo, meanwhile, ends up with a motley bunch of fish who have neuroses to rival his father's, a weird fraternity thing and a working knowledge of dentistry. Most remarkable of these is Gill, a Moorish Idol voide by Willem Dafoe (yay!). There is Bloat, voiced by Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett, and Geoffrey Rush's pelican Nigel who has befriended the fish-tank bunch and brings news of the outside. Even the Hulk's Eric Bana, Bruce Spence (the Mouth of Sauron in LoTR: The Return of the King, as my friend Mike pointed out) and the West Wing's Allison Janney are in on the fray in supporting roles that really work to weave a wonderful story together.
Never mind that fish can't have facial expressions or swim backwards and swordfish don't actually fence-spar with British accents. Who cares if it's highly improbable that fish and pelicans can be friends? What matters is that this movie, for lack of a better term, simply rocks. Pixar has done it again: this is one movie that you can watch over and over, especially since I haven't spotted the Hidden Mickey. Just stop your kids/sibs if they try to liberate your pet fish by flushing them down the toilet, especially if your pet fish are arowannas. Finding Nemo is a wonderful find [pun intended], a respite from the wham-bang action films that proliferate during the American summer, a modern-day fable about family life that touches the hearts of kids and grown-ups alike. Even those of us somewhere in the middle.
These sea-monkeys can have my money anytime.
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