After losing his wife and all but one egg, Marlin the clownfish is left extremely paranoid and overprotective of his only child Nemo. However, Nemo is a risk-taker at heart, and grows increasingly frustrated living under his father’s oppressive rules. In an effort to impression his classmates, Nemo swims his way up to a boat, only to be captured by a dentist who plans to gift Nemo to his fish-killing niece. The always cautious Marlin must explore the ends of the ocean to find Nemo and along the way meets a collection of characters including the absent-minded fish Dory and Crush the surfer dude turtle.
This film is responsible for the comeback of comedian Ellen DeGeneres. While her television alter-ego’s coming out was a television landmark, her show has cancelled the following year and DeGeneres spent half a decade trying to reclaim her place in Hollywood. Along came Dory, a role written specifically for her, to remind the public how likable DeGeneres naturally is. Dory is forever cheerful despite, or a direct result of, suffering from one of the most severe cases of short-term memory loss in film history. Her mantra, “Just Keep Swimming” helped make Dory one of the best beloved characters in Pixar, or Disney, history, and propelled DeGeneres back to the A-list. She now hosts her own talk show where her forever perky, always dancing persona reminds one of Dory.
One thing I love is while Marlin and Dory develop a kind of love for each other, the filmmakers didn’t push a romantic relationship for the two. It’s very rate to have a male and female character be unrelated and not have them become romantically involved.
Pixar seems like one of the best places to work. While I’m sure team members work long hours, they are often rewarded by having one of their inside jokes stuck into the background or having a character named after them, like Darla, the feisty tot who is every fish’s worst enemy, who is named after long-time Pixar producer Darla K. Anderson. They also love to sneak cameos in the background from other Pixar characters past and present.
Pixar is always making new innovations in computer animation. Toy Story was the first full-length computer animated film and the shiny plastic toys were a good fit for the still somewhat limited artform. With each film they pushed boundaries and developed new techniques. A new shading system called “transblurrency” was developed for the jellyfish sequence. The animators were too talented for their own good, creating surface water that looked so lifelike they worried viewers would think it was live action and had to go back to make it look more fake.
While Pixar has one of the best track record in Hollywood, Finding Nemo is one of their more popular films. While it didn’t touch me quite like Up!, Wall-E, or the Toy Story films do, it’s consistently cute and funny, and who can’t relate to Nemo’s need to pull away from his dad’s controlling way or Marlin’s need to protect his son? Pixar is brilliant at creating stories everyone can connect to and that’s their ultimate weapon.