This Friday Pixar’s Finding Nemo 3D hits theaters. Instead of shelling out $14 for glasses like a did for The Lion King, I popped in my Finding Nemo 2-Disc Collector’s Edition and enjoyed a seminal animation studio at their very best.
Finding Nemo is a sublimely paced adventure through Pixar’s lush rendering of the Indian Ocean. In their fifth full length feature, Pixar’s commitment to concise, heartfelt storytelling has never been more pronounced.
The otherworldly designs of underwater life dazzle. Precise lighting is detailed from the opening scene, as the vibrant reef is doused in harsh grays with the sudden arrival of a prowling barracuda.
A focused and engaging narrative is constructed alongside the winning animation. The lovable Nemo and neurotic Marlin discuss sharks and sea turtles at the start of the movie, iconic images of the ocean wilds that reoccur throughout. Dory’s short term memory loss provides further reoccurring elements, such as the miraculous chorus of P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. P. Sherman…..
Marlin’s frantic race after the boat holding his abducted son falls so smoothly into the Sharks Anonymous meeting, one almost forgets the movie is named after Nemo. Pixar flexes their narrative muscles again, and the first section of the film ends with a bomb.
Nemo’s arc in the film plays like an sitcom compared to the dramatic events outside. He meets an eccentric cast of dentistry-obsessed pet store fish suffering from cabin fever. The film’s most interesting character movement takes place in the tank; the timid Nemo finds a father figure in Gil, another fish with scars, who dares Nemo to take on the world, lucky fin be damned.
This claustrophobic tank/ocean contrast is played up big time when Nemo gets stuck in the tank’s filtration system, nearly drowning, before we fade into the jaw-dropping East Australian Current sequence. Marlin receives his own fatherly education here from Crush, the 150 year old sea turtle, who allows his own child to deal with danger on his own.
This father/son dynamic culminates in a climactic scene, as Marlin allows his newly recovered Nemo to risk his life to save a school caught in a fishing net.
The visual feast that is Finding Nemo cannot be understated. Flying over the Great Barrier on the back of a stingray is more of a stimulant than any $65 million explosion or garish 3D trick. Whales are painted with appropriate mysticism, while the black depths of the ocean floor provide for a terrifying set piece. The inside of a whales stomach haven’t been this memorable since Pinocchio.
The 3D release will likely be spectacular, but with so many more rereleases of the same nature coming down the pipeline, as well as a Nemo sequel in the works, I’m not sure if I’m ready to pull the trigger.
Finding Nemo: 8.8/10