Finding Nemo

in Animated, Comedy, Not-A-Dick Flicks

Best Ever. Period.

  • Stars:  Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
  • Directors:  Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
  • Writers:  Andrew Stanton & Bob Peterson & David Reynolds

Yes, a cartoon can be stamped dick flick or Not-A-Dick Flick.  Happily, it’s the latter in this case.  And yes, a cartoon can be one of the best movies ever.  Even to an adult.

It’s a coming-of-age story.  It’s a father-son tale.  It’s a high-testosterone action movie wrapped in little-kid packaging.  It’s glowing proof that you can start with a formula (Disney, to be exact) and create something that soars beyond formulaic.  And it packs a hell of an emotional wallop in more than one spot.

Nemo is a fish.  A young clownfish, to be exact, and slightly “different” from the others – one of his fins is smaller than the other.  His dad Marlin, voiced perfectly by Albert Brooks, lovingly calls it Nemo’s “lucky fin,” and Nemo’s handicap is incorporated matter-of-factly into the remainder of the story.  In the Hollywood illusion of perfect hair, plastic bodies, and bulging supermen, it’s a beautiful reminder to kids with disabilities, and to any of us, really, that it’s just not that big a deal.

The plot’s elegance lies in its very simplicity:  Nemo gets lost.  And thus the whole movie is set in motion as Marlin scours literally the ocean to find his son while Nemo fights through unknown worlds to get home.  Enter Dory, a regal blue tang with a seven-second memory who helps Marlin in his search.  Ellen DeGeneres is uproarious as the gold-hearted but loopy Dory; her attempt to communicate with humpback whales is one of a dozen highlights in the film.

The film’s magic lies in the richness of character that infuses these otherworlds.  Andrew Stanton, along with co-director Lee Unkrich and co-writers Bob Peterson and David Reynolds, hits the nail on the head with every aquatic, mammalian, and avian creature to drift onscreen.  The seagulls are single-minded, the giant tortoise surfs, dude, and the little girl terrorizes like a pro.  Incredibly, loopy cartoon fish Dory even makes the grade for Strong Female Lead.  She’s a totally crucial main character with no romantic plotlines whatsoever.  And Alexander Gould wins the day as the voice of our little hero Nemo.

It’s an unbelievable flight of fancy that’s grounded in the real world, and it defies dissection and analysis.  Just open your mind and thank your lucky stars for creatives like the ones behind this gem.  Finding Nemo is one hundred minutes of pure bliss.

Share this page with your friends!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: