Director: Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
Voice Talent: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush, Willem Dafoe, Alison Janney
Released: May 30, 2003
View in theaters: June 2, 2003
Best Animated Movie (won)
Best Score - Thomas Newman (lost to Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
Best Sound Editing (lost to Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)
Best Original Screenplay - Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, and David Reynolds (lost to Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation)
Finding Nemo is a road trip movie, a coming-of-age story, a relationship between a father and a son, and an abduction/escape thriller all rolled up into one animated feature starring fish and other creatures that dwell in or near the sea. We start out with one of the most depressing beginnings of a Pixar film (or any film, for that matter!) Clownfish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and his wife, Coral, have just bought a new place with an "ocean view" (oh, Pixar, you and your clever jokes!) and will soon be the parents of 400 (!!!) children. Coral and 399 of the eggs are eaten by a barracuda leaving only Marlin and one unborn fish who he names Nemo, a name Coral was keen to. Being what happened to his wife and pre-born children, Marlin is very protective of Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould who would go on to play the younger son on Weeds). Nemo is a bit embarrassed by the way his father treats him and wishes he could have more freedom.
While Marlin is looking for his son, he runs into Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) who is a blue tang. Dory has short term memory loss and it's a running gag throughout the film. I'm guessing they made this as a joke as all fish have a memory of like two seconds. I know goldfish do, anyway. Maybe saltwater fish have a ten second memory. Who knows! I remember going to the aquarium at my zoo a couple years after the release of this movie and there were a few blue tangs in the tank and there was this one little boy going, "It's Dory! It's Dory!" It was so cute! He was just so excited that he saw Dory!
I love the scene where Marlin and Dory encounter a blue whale (which Dory calls "little guy" when he's still in the distance and looks small) and Dory says she knows how to speak whale. A year after this movie was released I was in Whidbey Island, Washington, on a boat to go whale watching with my family members. We must have been on that boat for almost six hours and all we saw were whale tails in the very distance. My aunt, cousin, and I would speak in "whale" to see if that would work, but alas, it did not, but we did have fun speaking in whale. "Wheeeeerrrrreeeee aaaarrrrrrrrreeee yoooooouuuuuu?"
I loved whenever Marlin or Nemo had to go to the surface, they would take a deep breath in the water, then poke their head out. That was a cute and funny touch.
Marlin's journey to his son gets out and soon even Nemo hears word about it and has a lot more respect for his dad when he finds out what Marlin has gone through to get to Nemo. Father and son are eventually reunited (after a hilarious scene in the dentist's office and with a little help from Dory) and Marlin lets Nemo be more free and gains more confidence from his journey. And like any other Pixar movie, this one made me tear up just a little. It was the part where Dory tells Marlin, "When I look at you, I see home." Awww.
This is one of my favorite Pixar movies. Highly recommended.