Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Fishy Tale

Finding Nemo
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

Oscar nominations:
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.

Fishy, fishy! 
The abduction part of the film comes in when Nemo is scooped up by a scuba diver and finds himself in an aquarium in a dentist's office in Sydney with other fish (voiced by Willem Dafoe, Alison Janney, Stephen Root, and Brad Garrett). He learns in five short days he will be going home with Darla, the dentist's niece who killed her goldfish because she shook the bag it came in too much. I don't understand the thought process of the dentist. Why would he give his niece a clownfish, a saltwater tropical fish, when she can't even take care of a simple goldfish? That's like giving a kid a Ferrari when he can't even drive a golf cart. So stupid! The fish come up with a plan for Nemo and the rest of them to escape.

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!

Vegetarian sharks
Nightmare fish!
Marlin knows that Nemo has been taken to an address in Sydney because it was on a pair of goggles the scuba diver dropped. He and Dory set off to find Nemo and thus we have the "road trip" part of the movie. Water trip? Being that the ocean is a huge place and there are plenty of creatures that live in it, Marlin and Dory meet some friendly -and not so friendly- characters along the way. The main "bad" characters are three sharks, but they're not really bad, except for the main one who does chase after them. These three sharks belong to a group where their motto is "Fish are friends" and have vowed not to eat fish. However, the creepiest fish, hands down, is the anglerfish. (I had to look up what it was called). It's the scene where Marlin and Dory are going after the pair of goggles that has fallen into the very depths of the ocean where it's pitch black. They see a tiny light in the distance and as they swim closer to it, they get disoriented and it makes them feel happy as though they're on drugs. The light is attached to the head of the anglerfish, which is the stuff what nightmares are made of. It is so creepy looking with its huge teeth and huge soulless eyes and :::shudder::::! And those are actual fish! I looked up photos of the real thing and yikes! They are CREEPY!

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 him. 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.

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