ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  andrew stanton

RATED  -  g

GENRE  -  animated

LENGTH  -  101 minutes

RELEASED  -  30 may 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  walt disney & pixar

OFFICIAL SITE  -  finding nemo

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $30,000,000
finding nemo - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from finding nemo at

buy the dvd from finding nemo at

a father-son underwater adventure featuring nemo, a boy clownfish, stolen from his coral reef home. his timid father must then search the ocean to find him.

in the dentist's office, there is a buzz lightyear action figure lying on the floor.


picture from findingnemo/findingnemo

picture from findingnemo/findingnemo

picture from findingnemo/findingnemo


four out of four possible stars

This film is one of the most technologically stunning pieces of animation that has ever appeared on screen. What should turn out to be a delightful experience for both children and adults, the creators of Finding Nemo have stuck by their tried and true elements of humor, heartwarming characters, and incredible animation techniques and have made another movie that ranks better than almost all of the live-action productions released this year. As fans have to wait a full eighteen months between the release dates of each Disney/Pixar film, there is ever more pressure placed on Pixar to deliver a more superior product. And with Nemo, they certainly have.

From the first frame of this film, the audience is immersed in a world that has never been so intricately and vividly portrayed. Though the Disney water-themed film, The Little Mermaid made quite a splash with its underwater visuals, the strength of Nemo's visuals alone blow all other animated films out of the water. And given that this film is a product of computer animation, rather than CGI, it might seem as though the advantage rests with Pixar's release, but computer animation and hand-drawn techniques are so different in their preparation and creation that their only real likeness is the title of their genre.

But beyond the stunning and beautiful images the audience is treated to in every frame of the film (even the credits are spectacular to look at!), the rosy red heart of the Disney and Pixar happiness quotient beats quite strong throughout the entire film. Even when the story-line becomes a little sad, a laugh or smile is never far behind. With the usual plethora of standard characters littering the story, the number of jokes in the film is very high, thanks in a large part to the voice talents of Ellen DeGeneres. She plays the sidekick fish "Dory" to Albert Brooks's nervous clownfish, "Marlin."

There is one scene in particular around the middle of the film where Dory, a blue and yellow tropical fish, decides to try and speak "whale" to help Marlin find his lost son, "Nemo." Lasting a good few minutes, DeGeneres tries a half dozen different types of "whale calls" and each call is more hilarious than the last. If there is a laugh to be had, seventy percent of the time, it comes from DeGeneres. But that is not to say the rest of the cast is not just as entertaining. Each character was very well cast, from Barry Humphries's gregarious portrayal as the shark, "Bruce," to Willem Dafoe's heart-felt performance as tropical fish friend "Gill."

Another aspect of the production which bears mentioning is the musical score. Disney and Pixar both have had a strong tradition of incorporating music into their productions that is of sufficient caliber to attract buyers to the CD racks at the local music store and this film is no exception. An obvious score by Thomas Newman, the tracks composed for this film are nothing less than one would expect from Pixar and Newman. Never overwhelming the production yet always a presence in the film, Newman's music gives the film added emotion and strength for a score that is worth owning on compact disc in its own right.

As usual, the screenwriters and voice talent have made sure that this film is a highly entertaining experience for both children and adults. Whereas it has been hard to recommend the last two summer Disney releases (Atlantis - The Lost Empire and Lilo & Stitch) to audiences older than twelve years of age, Finding Nemo will entertain absolutely anyone. The technological feats of the production aside, the jokes aren't obviously directed toward the younger set, though children will have no problem understanding and enjoying the film. The magic of the Pixar folks is that they consistently create films which garner fans from every demographic. But what is intelligent on their part is the fact that they don't "dumb down" their films in order to grasp the largest audience possible.

With Finding Nemo, Pixar keeps its standards as high as is to be expected, given their past successes, and may have even improved upon the "formula" which is so easily identified as Pixar. The "search for family" and "fish out of water" (no pun intended!) themes in this film are the same ones that pop up in Monsters, Inc., A Bug's Life, and the two Toy Story films. It might seem as though Pixar is trying nothing new with Finding Nemo, but when a formula works, and works as well as it does in Pixar's films, what reason is there to change it? This film is beautiful, heartwarming, and comedic and includes everything that fans demand from Pixar.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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