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Finding Nemo (2003)

  Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
Written by: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Barry Humphries, Bill Hunter, Geoffrey Rush, Andrew Stanton
Links: Finding Nemo on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 7.50 (4 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 81st of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Finding Nemo (2003) is also mentioned in mino's review of A Bug's Life (1998), mino's review of Ice Age (2002), em_fiction's review of Knick Knack (1989), mino's review of Knick Knack (1989), pearly's review of Knick Knack (1989), pearly's review of Olive, The Other Reindeer (1999), andy-j's review of School of Rock (2003), pearly's review of Shark Tale (2004), pearly's review of Shrek (2001), em_fiction's review of The Incredibles (2004) and pearly's review of Toy Story (1995).

"Showing Disney how it's done" - a review by mino

Let me say it straight up: Finding Nemo is another wonderful animated feature from Pixar. That in itself should be enough to convince you to see the movie if you haven't already.

Nemo is the story of a clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) who is left to raise his son Nemo (Alexander Gould) as a single dad after Nemo's mother is killed. When Nemo is caught by a scuba-diving dentist (Bill Hunter) and deposited in a tank in his office, it's time for Marlin to go and find his son.

The lion's share of this movie is split between Marlin's search for his son, and Nemo's adventures with his new tankmates. Marlin is accompanied for most of his search by an amnesiac Blue Tang named Dory (the very entertaining Ellen DeGeneres — and believe me, I never thought I'd say those words together), who proves a fantastic comic foil.

Like the other Pixar movies, and the better Disney movies before them, Nemo is made great by the characters. While the plot and the gags are important (though neither is as impressive here as in previous films), it's really the characters who make it. They're genuinely funny little critters, and you can't help but cheer them on (or boo them, as the case may be) despite yourself.

Add in some great bit parts (Barry Humphries in particular, his recovering-fishaholic shark amusingly reminiscent of his newspaper editor in the underrated Spice World (1997)), and you've got a recipe for success.

A few years ago, when the Pixar/Disney animation began with Toy Story (1995), the impression was that a gracious and benevolent Disney corporation, in the middle of a golden era following their latest successes in Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994), was kindly allowing small, struggling Pixar to work for them: tossing them a few scraps from their animation table because they couldn't be bothered doing it themselves.

Now, eight years later, it's the reverse. Pixar, suddenly the powerhouse of animation after producing another three instant classics (A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), and Monsters, Inc. (2001)), is graciously allowing the now-struggling Disney to distribute its movies. This arrangement is apparently due for renewal soon. Somehow, after the turn for the worse that Disney movies have taken since Toy Story (see The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) and The Emperor's New Groove (2000) for two particularly soulless examples), I think the begging cap will suddenly have changed hands.

Pixar are five from five when it comes to producing truly great feature-length computer-animated movies. Let's hope they can continue to produce such corkers.

mino gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 26 Sep 2003

"Two fins up" - a review by pearly

A couple of things made me want to see Finding Nemo. Firstly, there was the Australia association, with part of the setting being Sydney (even though I live in Sydney's mortal enemy town of Melbourne). Secondly, Geoffrey Rush voices one of the characters, and he's ace (plus, it's another Australia association). And thirdly, it's a Pixar movie, and Pixar movies are always great.

Before Finding Nemo, Pixar released Monsters, Inc. (2001), which I happened to be lucky enough to see the Melbourne premiere of (I even saw Tottie Goldsmith there!). Whilst I was impressed with the animation, the storyline didn't really grab me as being that fantastic. Finding Nemo is certainly an improvement on that. The incidental characters are funnier and more interesting, as is the main plot.

After the death of his wife and all of his children bar one, Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) becomes incredibly protective of his only child Nemo (Alexander Gould). But Nemo wants to be independent, and in his haste to prove how grown up he is, he is caught in a human net and whisked away. Marlin is powerless, but he vows to find Nemo and bring him back to their home in one piece, and this journey becomes the focus of the film, as well as the basis for its title.

Along the way, Marlin meets up with many interesting sea creatures, including a fish with a bad short-term memory who loves to sing, named Dory (brilliantly voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), a shark named Bruce (Barry Humphries, sounding nothing like Dame Edna) who's campaigning for equal fish rights, and the Keanu Reevesesque surfer-turtle Crush (Andrew Stanton). Similarly, Nemo meets up with some new fishy friends in the tank that he ends up in.

Kids will absolutely love this movie, and non-kids will enjoy the journey too (as long as there's still a bit of kid left inside them). From the soundtrack (Dory's singing is great fun), to the visuals (there's always plenty to look at), they won't even realise they're learning something whilst watching it (as is the case with all good Disney/Pixar films). Don't forget to stay until the end of the credits, and be on the lookout for a cameo from Mike Wazowski (the little green guy who was voiced by Billy Crystal in Monsters, Inc.) partway through the credits.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 10 Sep 2003

"Finding Disney" - a review by citizenjoe

One of the things I have always loved about Pixar is that they understand the Disney model better than anyone else. Here is the Disney model according to me:

  1. The story is normally based on a childhood fear (think Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and the witch, Pinocchio (1940) and the whale, Bambi (1942) seeing her mother shot by hunters)
  2. The theme is one that adults can relate to (banishment, rights of passage, loss of innocence)
  3. There are enough gags in there for both kids and especially enough for adults (think Toy Story (1995) when the toys are discussing their history. While some are playschool toys, Rex the dinosaur describes himself as part of a leveraged buyout cum merger.)
  4. Disney and Pixar stories appeal to the child in us all and then go on to also satisfy the adult

If you contrast this with the other successful animation films of recent years the formula is actually quite different.

Take the 1998 animated feature Antz (1998). It's really a romantic comedy, "boy meets girl" movie.

The other example is the woeful Shrek (2001). Again another "boy meets girl" romantic comedy.

I am a big NON fan of the romantic comedy film, a genre that is the equivalent to the chinese takeaway meal - it feels filling, but give it a little time and you're soon hungry again.

I am a big fan of the Disney model.

So, let's get back to Finding Nemo.

Nemo is a young fish in a big sea. In true Bambi fashion, his mother is killed in the opening sequence and he grows up with his over-protective, continually concerned father. Nemo is taken by a diver and placed in a fish tank. From there on, the film is a "road" movie with Nemo's dad trying to find his son.

Finding Nemo is a Disney film. It has both elemnets of loss of innocence and rights of passage. It is one of the best animated films you'll see. Its presentation of the sea in all its beauty and wonder is spectacular. Ellen DeGeneres is fantastic as the forgetful Dory. Albert Brooks as Nemo's dad plays the role as if he were the sterotypical Jewish mother. The Australian sharks with Geoffrey Rush as Nigel are very funny.

However, for me the film gets a little confused. Is it about Nemo or Nemo's dad? There is no real villain. No great fear factor.

However, my daughter, who is 8, laughed much of the way through and she really liked it. But I think she found it only slightly more fulfilling than the chinese meal we had after.

I still think Nemo is better than most other animated features. It just doesn't rise to the heights of Toy Story (1995) or A Bug's Life (1998).

It reaches the child but doesn't go the extra step.

citizenjoe gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 8 Sep 2003

Movie review statistics

Ratings given without reviews:

Number of reviews: 3
Number of ratings: 4
Average rating: 7.50
Lowest rating: 6 (by citizenjoe)
Highest rating: 8 (by em_fiction, mino, pearly)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. Finding Nemo is the best movie of all. It was the most coolest movies of the year. It is my favorite movie. I loved the fish. I did like Dory, but sometimes I found her a whole lot annoying and stupid. I love Nemo. The EAC scene was really cool. In sum, THIS MOVIE ROCKS!!!!!!!! EVERYONE IN THE WORLD SHOULD SEE THIS MOVIE AND GET ALL THE FISH IN THE MOVIE!!!!!! Now after Finding Nemo, clownfish are my favorite fish, and saltwater fish are my type of fish to have as a pet.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Evan on Thu 23 Oct 2003 11:47 #

  2. we are doing a report for school and would like to know about how u make an animated movie

    A comment from lexie on Tue 15 Mar 2005 07:30 #

  3. Hey Lexie,
    Check out - they've got some pretty interesting bits and pieces which should help you.

    A comment from nofreelist's own pearly on Tue 15 Mar 2005 12:05 #

  4. this was such a grate movejensadncvuo;erubvqw;onc

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from courtney on Fri 18 Mar 2005 17:16 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (2 ratings)

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