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Finding Nemo (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
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From the Academy Award(R)-winning creators of TOY STORY and MONSTERS, INC. (2001, Best Animated Short Film, FOR THE BIRDS), it's FINDING NEMO, a hilarious adventure where you'll meet colorful characters that take you into the breathtaking underwater world of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Nemo, an adventurous young clownfish, is unexpectedly taken to a dentist's office aquarium. It's up to Marlin (Albert Brooks), his worrisome father, and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a friendly but forgetful regal blue tang fish, to make the epic journey to bring Nemo home. Their adventure brings them face-to-face with vegetarian sharks, surfer dude turtles, hypnotic jellyfish, hungry seagulls, and more. Marlin discovers a bravery he never knew, but will he be able to find his son? FINDING NEMO's breakthrough computer animation takes you into a whole new world with this undersea adventure about family, courage, and challenges. Take the plunge into FINDING NEMO, a "spectacularly beautiful animated adventure for everyone" -- David Sheehan, CBS-TV
It's not that the folks at Pixar are geniuses when it comes to DVDs... well, come to think of it, their fifth DVD set shows these folks are wizards. It's not just that the two discs are packed with watchable extras that hardly reiterate the same information; it's how they are handled--funny, inventive, with a light touch--unlike many PR-driven discs. A good place to start is the filmmakers' jolly commentary track, which branches off into 31 minutes of behind-the-scene stuff, deleted scenes, and curious anecdotes (they can also be watched separately). Pixar's first making-of documentary is a most concise and interesting 25-minute examination that also sheds light on how the company works. With a digital-to-digital transfer, the film looks great and is available in widescreen or reformatted to full screen. The "Family Fun" disc includes another Pixar made-for-the-DVD gem, the 7-minute "Exploring the Reef" with Jean-Michel Cousteau (Jacques's son) being upstaged by Dori and Marlin; it's a hoot and teaches a fact or two you will remember about reefs. Both discs feature lovely menus that can be turned into virtual aquariums for your TV (by removing the text) featuring the knockout colors of the film's settings. Watch long enough for some shenanigans from the film's characters and vocal talent. Genius, pure genius. --Doug ThomasSee all Editorial Reviews
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Since you likely know the story, I'll only comment briefly on that. This movie dares to tackle some very important issues, some for children, but some that even parents could benefit from. The idea of accepting someone because they're different or believing that you can still do anything despite physical handicaps, is a message that everyone should listen to. Looking over all of the adventures that Nemo has, he really can do anything that he sets his mind to. Even more profound, though, is the idea of over-parenting. And we hear it summed up so well by Dory, the most unlikely character to deliver such a message, when she says, "Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him." As much as we'd like to keep our kids confined so they're safe, we also have to learn to let go. Notice how at the end, when Marlin does let him go to school, Nemo swims back to say, "I love you, dad."
Now on to the blu ray. Back when this movie first came out, blu ray wasn't even a trademark term. So we looked at the DVD and figured the quality was good enough. Seeing this beautiful film on an HDTV is simply amazing. The magnificent colors, the tiny details of the fish and the ocean, and the 7.1 surround sound is just beautiful. We sometimes get disappointed with blu ray conversions when studios seem to make little to no effort to improve the sound and picture quality. Not the case with this one. I just can't stress enough how perfect this movie is going to look on your big screen.
I'd consider this to be one of Pixar's greatest works, from animation quality, to story, to casting. On top of all that, the improvement to high def is well worth the price. This is one movie no family should be without.
Such is the power of this fish story about father and son clownfish who become separated, and must struggle to find their way back to each other. Marlon is a loving but neurotic and overprotective father; Nemo is a frustrated young fish who wants to be independent and see the world, and resents his father for preventing him from doing so. We see an ocean (read: the world) that is a terrible, heartless, and yet joyous place that we frail fish must confront, as best we can, because there's no alternative.
The animation was done by the wonderful folks from Pixar, who are the closest thing to the reincarnation of Walt Disney. There is simply no comparison between the animation of the typical, visually flat, politically correct, contemporary animated movie (many of which are produced by Walt Disney Pictures!) and Nemo. In Nemo, the ocean floor looks like the ocean. And the characters are all ... characters. They are all physically distinctive, wonderfully written, and performed by gifted actors who - if you'll pardon the cliché - will alternately make you laugh and cry. Of particular note are Barry Humphries as Bruce the Shark, Geoffrey Rush as Nigel the Pelican, Willem Dafoe as Gill, Allison Janney as Peach, and of course, young Alexander Gould as Nemo. Ellen Degeneres, in particular, steals every scene she's in, as Dory, a gregarious fish whose memory leaks like a sieve. But this is Albert Brooks' movie. The Academy should give this man a special Oscar for the most moving voice work my wife and I have ever heard.
Thomas Newman, of the musical Newman clan (Alfred, Lionel, Randy) has produced a score that is subtle and unobtrusive much of the time, but at dramatic moments takes over, and is more impressive, with repeated viewings. He deserves his fifth Oscar nomination for Nemo.
Andrew Stanton's (Toy Story, Monsters, Inc.) screenplay, written with Bob Peterson and David Reynolds, brims with intelligence and wit (e.g., in an AA-style group of recovering - and frequently lapsing - sharks, the members intone, "I am a nice shark, not an eating machine.... Fish are friends, not food"), and Stanton's direction does not waste a scene. Every moment in Nemo will either charm you or move you. In fact, as my wife remarked, for all of its many comic scenes, this is one of the most moving movies you'll ever see. We've already seen it several times with our three-and-a-half-year-old son, who loves it, and yet with each new viewing, we notice things we'd previously missed.
Though I wish Nemo would win all of the big Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Screenplay), I doubt Academy voters will choose it over its live-action competition. And yet, I will be very surprised, if a better picture -- live action or animated -- is released this year. Finding Nemo is truly a find.
Originally published in The Critical Critic, October 17, 2003.
I always recommend getting one with the digital download so the kids can have something to watch when they get fussy on long car rides.
The 3D version of this is decent. It doesn't strain the eyes too much or cause any upset stomachs as some movies do.
My 3 year old doesn't perticularly like watching the movies in 3D and eventually takes off the glasses. So if you're buying this for a young child they probably won't enjoy the 3D until they're a couple years older.
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