It’s been nearly 10 years since Finding Nemo was first released in theatres. I remember how enamored all my friends were after first seeing it, but unfortunately for me—a die-hard Disney/Pixar lover—I wasn’t so much a fan of the underwater film. Yes, Nemo was funny, beautifully animated and essentially flawless, but I just didn’t think it was that great.
Well, I can gratefully say that after seeing Finding Nemo 3D, my original thoughts and opinions have changed.
Finding Nemo is one of Pixar’s greatest masterpieces.
The film follows the story of an overly protective father clownfish, Marlin, and his son, Nemo. As Nemo starts his first day of school, he ventures out into dangerous deep waters and gets himself caught by a scuba diver. Marlin begins on a frantic (and seemingly hopeless) search to rescue Nemo, while encountering many different friends and foes along the way: a blue tang named Dory who suffers from short-term memory loss, a trio of sharks, thousands of jellyfish, sea turtles and a lot more sea creatures.
The story moves relatively quickly and feels slightly episodic, especially as Marlin and Dory (his new tagalong) jump from danger to danger. While detrimental to most films, the episodic storytelling completely works. We encounter tons of new characters, but surprisingly it’s not overwhelming. Each character appropriately has the right amount of screen time, while still making you fall in love with them. (For example, Crush the seaturtle is particularly endearing.)
One thing that really stood out to me this time around was Finding Nemo’s humor. Pixar always does a terrific job at establishing appropriately humorous undertones in its films, but Nemo stands out. Humor is one of the driving forces of the film, which is displayed in the beginning when we realize that Marlin, a clownfish, really isn’t all that funny (thankfully for the audience, everything else around him is). He’s quickly juxtaposed with Dory, who at first seems like your typical comic-relief side character. Cut scenes and background characters add quick comedic moments that keep a smile on your face the entire time. Whether its explicit jokes or quick blink-and-you-miss moments, the jokes in this movie are numerous and enriching.
The 3D conversion for Nemo was breathtaking. John Lasseter said in the a promo featurette that “Finding Nemo is the perfect movie in 3D”, particularly because of the “particulate matter” that floats around the viewer in every scene. I personally feel that computer animation is a match made in heaven for 3D. Everything in the film was crisp and detailed: I was particularly amazed by all the fishes’ textures, especially Marlins’ pearlescent scales. I never noticed these small details before and loved discovering what every nook and cranny of this deep-sea world had to offer.
I think I may have been too hard on Pixar back in 2003 when I first saw this film. Finding Nemo can really do no wrong. I was laughing throughout the film, while still getting caught up in the emotional moments. This is a movie I can watch over and over again and love it everytime. What really was a testament for this movie’s legacy was that in my screening the entire audience gave a raptuous applause during the credits. I feel the same way. Bravo, Pixar!