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Clownfish Nemo lives
a sheltered life on the Great Barrier Reef with his neurotic, devoted
single father Marlin. It's Nemo's first day of school, and Marlin's
usual protective tendencies are in overdrive. Uneasy about leaving his
boy alone, Marlin follows Nemo to school. When he spies Nemo wandering
off to the edge of the reef with some of his new friends, Marlin
naturally freaks out. Angry at his father's lack of confidence in his
ability to take care of himself, Nemo defiantly swims away from his dad,
and up towards the surface. But when a scuba diver scoops up Nemo before
he can return back to the reef, panic sets in for father and son alike.
The diver returns to the surface with Nemo in plastic bag, and speeds
away in a motorboat. The diver, as it turns out, is a dentist with a
penchant for exotic fish, and Nemo soon finds himself sharing a fish
tank in the dentist's office overlooking Sydney harbor. Marlin,
meanwhile, finds that his need to find his son has provided the
necessary courage to overcome his fears about straying from home. With
the help of a forgetful blue tang named Dory, along with a host of other
friends he meets along the way, Marlin sets off in search of Nemo -- and
finds himself on an exciting epic of an adventure filled with danger and
excitement alike. Meanwhile, Nemo has made a few new friends of his own,
and has crafted his own plans to find his way back home.
By now, the plot is familiar to anyone who's seen a Pixar movie: a
lovable loner finds himself on an unexpected adventure, and makes a
voyage of self-discovery with the aid of a motley crew of hilarious
sidekicks. And there's no denying that Finding Nemo's storyline
bears a striking resemblance to Toy Story 2 in particular. But
dismissing any of Pixar's movies as boring kid stuff simply because they
follow a familiar template is totally missing the point: these movies
work because the characters are irresistible and often downright
inspired, the voice casting is pure genius, the dialogue is clever and
eminently quotable, and the animation just takes your breath away.
You're a hardened, cynical soul indeed if you can't laugh at Ellen
DeGenere's adorably loopy memory-impaired Dory, the surf-Zen musings of
a 150-year old sea turtle named Crush (hilariously voiced by
writer/director Andrew Stanton himself), or a brief conversation between
lobsters in which it's revealed that New England lobsters drop their R's
just like the lobstermen who fish them. And the water -- god, that water
is just beautifully, astoundingly watery… whether shimmering in the
clear shallow waters of the reef, or murky with silt in the depths of a
sunken ship, or refracting the light through a fishtank. Sure, at the
core, there's nothing new about the idea of a father learning to give
his son the freedom to grow up, but the folks at Pixar present this
age-old story in a way that's just a joy to experience nonetheless.—reviewed
by Yee-Fan Sun
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