Saturday, June 26, 2010

#5 - Finding Nemo - 2003

The fifth film I decided to watch was Disney Pixar's Finding Nemo. As mention previously in the Monsters Inc blog I indicated 2 of the final three films I had yet to watch I felt were in the top 3 Disney Pixar films ever made and sure enough this is the 2nd one! A sensational film from start to finish and again one of my favorite Disney ones ever. Below is my detailed review.

In Disney Pixar's Finding Nemo were introduced to an entirely new species of characters and for the first time since The Little Mermaid we get to see underwater characters who live in the ocean, in this movie particular, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. In my opinion this film actually has more funny and interesting characters than in any other Disney Pixar movie made, including Monsters Inc and Cars and that is saying a lot. As in previous movies the actors were not always the original choice and that stayed true in this film. William H Macy was actually offered the role of Marlin before anyone else but it obviously went to Albert Brooks who was amazing. Other notable actors/actresses were Ellen Degeneres as the voice Dory which was actually her first ever voice narrative character ever, William Dafoe as Gill, Brad Garret as Bloat, Allison Janney as Peach, Geoffry Rush as Nigel, and Stephen Root (Office Space stapler guy) as Bubbles. There are obviously other actors as well but these would be the main voice characters for the film along with Nemo voiced by Alexander Gould who has a long history of tv shows to his credit and then of course Pixar icon John Ratzenbereger as the voice of the Fish School. With all that being said Dory was easily my favorite character in this film with Bloat a close second. I actually wish Bloat had more scenes because every one he was in was funny.

Finding Nemo probably has the saddest film opening of any Disney movie I can ever recall. Marlin and Coral have the picked the perfect place to raise their family on the way but danger strikes quick. A shark attacks them immediately and in an effort to save her babies on the way Coral and every single baby except one are killed. The audience does not see the actual kill but we see the after affects as marlin goes and finds one baby left. During an earlier conversation Coral said she liked the name Nemo so Marlin decides to name him just that, Nemo. Fast forward to the present and Nemo is getting ready for his 1st day of school. Marlin is a little nervous about this happening but comes to grip and eventually lets go. There are some funny sequences as Marlin takes Nemo to the drop off area to be picked up by a giant Stingray (Mr. Ray) who is the teacher. We quickly learn that although Marlin is a Clown fish he is not very funny. As the school children all swim aboard Mr. Ray and he takes them off to class we are treated to amazing special effects of the ocean and the colors and fish are so vivid and bright it is a delight to watch. As I was watching this scene I was imagining to myself what this will look like once a bluray version of this film is released. It is a quick scene none the less but the colors and brightness of it all were mesmerizing!

Back with all the other parents Marlin learns that the teach takes the class to the drop off for their education. This just happens to be the same location where Marlin lose his mate Coral and all the rest of his babies. Marlin freaks out and heads to get Nemo meanwhile Nemo has joined the "cool" fish as they were attempting to outdue each other to see who could swim the farthest off the drop off area. Right before Nemo has a chance to swim out Marlin shows up and grabs him to bring him back. An argue breaks out between father and son and after talking with Mr. Ray for a brief second and taking his eyes of Nemo, Nemo is swimming ferociously out to sea. He is swimming to a boat in fact which was humorously called a "butt" by some of the fish students. As Marlin yells out to Nemo to swim back and Nemo defiantly does not two scuba divers emerge from below and one scoops up Nemo while the other snaps a shot of Marlin and within seconds Nemo is gone. This devastates Marlin and he swims feverishly out to sea to catch him but is unsuccessful in doing so. On board and put in a cooler we learn that Nemo is actually a present for the divers niece but that isn't particularly a good thing as we later come to find out.

As Marlin continues to swim with no sight of the "butt" better known as the boat he crosses path's with a group of fish and eventually bumps into a blue fish named Dory. Dory believes she saw the boat and leads Marlin one direction but within seconds tries to loose Marlin as she is fearing he is chasing her. We come to find out Dory has short term memory loss and didn't remember speaking to Marlin before. After some confusion and her explanation to Marlin they begin a journey to find little Nemo. Meanwhile Nemo has been dropped into a fish tank at the office of a dentist who just happened to be the diver who captured Nemo. At first look around Nemo decides to try to swim but continually bumps into what is the glass frame of the aquarium he has been placed in. In this part of the movie the picture scans the dentist office waiting room and on the floor a Buzz Light Year doll can be seen. Ive come to learn in these Pixar films to look for the hidden objects from previous (and in some, future) movies.

Nemo quickly encounters new fish who will eventually become his friends that have either been bought at a fish store, or as in one case with Gill, captured at sea as well. Gill is a soft spoken fish who is the leader of the group and he becomes like a father figure to little Nemo, afterall they both came from the sea and have that in common. My favorite characters in the tank are Bloat who unexpectedly at times blows up like a basketball and then Bubbles who is absolutely fascinated with the bubble treasure chest statue that is in the aquarium. Over time these fish come to realize that Nemo is actually going to be a gift for the dentist's niece Darla and that spells trouble. A picture frame showing a braceface Darla holding a fish back with an upside down dead fish in it shows us that any fish that is being given to her is in danger for their life and that fish now is Nemo.

As the film moves along we are treated to several very cool and unique scenes involving Marlin and Dory. Along the way to find Nemo they encounter a Shark named Bruce who is going through a program that reminds all sharks that "fish are friends, not food". Marlin and Dory get whisked away to an old sunken submarine vessel where these sessions are taken place. Marlin again bombs while attempting to tell a joke but it is a cut to Dory that releases a few droplets of blood that cause them major problems. This blood has reached the nose of Bruce and he smells food! A chase ignites and Marlin and Dory must swim for their lives. They eventually get away from Bruce and in doing so find the goggles with a name and address with the diver who took Nemo. In one of my favorite scenes in the film the goggles drop down below where it is pitch dark and Marlin and Dory chase after it to try and retrieve it and upon doing so find a small bright white light. Dory kiddishly states, "Im gonna get ya" as Marlin says "I feel happy and thats a big thing". As the light bobbles around above them slowly the teeth of a large shark like fish are present and Marlin says "good thoughts gone" which to me was one of the funniest lines in the movie. As they attempt to escape this predator Marlin must fend him off long enough for Dory to read the name and address off the goggles. They are successful in doing so and Dory is overwhelmed in excitement as she actually can remember what she read.

As these two continue on they run into a fish school who gather together for some cool charade like scenes and then direct them to the EAC (East Australian Current) where they meet up with some cool, totally tubeacular awesome dudes like Crush, Squirt, and others. Sea Turtles who are taking a ride on the EAC! The scene with these sea turtles is quite funny and their totally surfer like attitudes and lingo make the scene really hip and cool. Marlin and Dory also encounter dangerous jelly fish in another scene I cant wait to see on bluray. These pink bouncing jelly fish are visually stunning and although Dory gets injured in this sequence they survive yet another adventure together. In their final and maybe most challenging obstacle they must get out of a whale's mouth after Dory intentionally tried to ask him for directions. Speaking in whale it was quite funny and I loved the special effects of Marlin and Dory hanging on the whales tongue while inside its mouth, the attention to detail was amazing! They eventually blow out of the blow hole atop the whale and Marlin screams out Thank You, in whale.

Meanwhile back in the aquarium efforts are being made to dirty it up much to Jacques distaste, he is actually the one who cleans it relentlessly, but they are hoping that if algae buildup becomes bad enough the dentist will have to change the tank and they can make a rescue attempt for Nemo. Unfortunately as they awake the next morning the tank has been cleaned and installed with a new filter all while they slept and their rescue mission is in danger. Shortly thereafter Darla enters the office and Nemo is swiped up into a bag and getting ready to be handed to Darla. Out in the ocean Marlin and Dory have reached a bay filled with boats that has Sydney written on it so they are close. After almost getting swallowed by a pelican Marlin and Dory fight for their lives as Nigel (the pelican who throughout the film had been talking to the aquarium fish through the window of the office and knows Nemo) notice the fellow pelican choking. As he goes to help Marlin and Dory pop out and after hearing it is Marlin, Nemo's dad, he saves their life from being eaten by seagulls who famously chanted "mine - mine - mine! As Marlin and Dory reach the window of the dentist's office Marlin immediately see's Nemo upside down in a bag and thinks he has died. Little did he know Nemo was acting so that the dentist would throw him away and down the toilet and Nemo would get back to the ocean. After a life saving maneuver by Gill get Darla to freak out and Nigel to cause chaos in the office Nemo flushes himself down the tube by the dentist chair and out to sea he goes. Marlin again feel's as though Nemo has died but later finds him and is reunited. After a brief struggle to save Dory from getting taken in a fisherman's net everybody is safe and sound and the movie ends on a happy note.

This movie did not have a dramatic final scene as some do however there were more funny and visually stunning scenes in this movie than in any other Disney Pixar movie Ive seen. The characters were likable, humorous, dramatic, scary, and unique throughout the film and that always kept you wondering who you would see next. From a friendly shark to a surfer talking sea turtle this movie had it all. Throughout the film Dory accidentally called Nemo Fabio, Elmo, Chico, Harpo, and Bingo. This was obviously due to her short term memory. Most of the comedic scenes in the film belong to her and Bloat. Considering the amount of characters in this film, the storyline, and the humor it portrayed I would easily give this film an A+!

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