28 July 2003 | MovieAddict2016
Pixar Remains the Best Family Film Industry Out There Today...
Pixar Animation Studios has a very good knack for making thoughtful, intelligent and humorous family films (note that I didn't say kid films). "Toy Story" 1 & 2 and "Monsters, Inc." are some of my favorite family films; "Finding Nemo" isn't one of my favorites, but it isn't disappointing like "A Bug's Life," and it is thoughtful, intelligent, humorous and incredibly watchable, just like the other Pixar films.
As always, Pixar takes a world of something and completely builds their story around it. In "Toy Story" they gave life to toys and created the world through their eyes. In "Monsters, Inc.," they showed us the monster world. In my review on "A Bug's Life," I said that the reason the film didn't work very much is because it was about bugs, and not about something mystical like toys or monsters that bring back childhood memories. Well, I guess I was sorta wrong, because "Finding Nemo" is all about fish, nothing too mystical about fish, and I still loved it.
This tale takes place underwater with the fish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), whose spouse and baby fish eggs get eaten by a vicious shark in the beginning. All but one egg which Marlin names Nemo.
Years later Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould, Elliot's son?) is a bit older, and heading off to fish school for the first time. But haunted by the fact that his spouse and offspring were all killed years ago, Marlin is extremely over-protective of his one remaining family member. Nemo, sick of being treated like a baby, proves how brave he is by swimming near a fishing boat, only to be captured by a scuba-diving dentist. And so Marlin heads off to find Nemo, with the help of his newfound companion Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who has short-term memory loss and forgets things sooner than she can carry whatever she is doing out. (Like when she is showing Marlin the way towards a fishing boat and suddenly forgets why Marlin is following her.)
Pixar doesn't let down the audience on this film. There are a few things that one can always expect from Pixar films: They can expect something (such as toys) to be given their own world. They can expect that world to be given careful attention to detail. And they can expect humor.
"Finding Nemo" gives fish their own world, and the underwater realm they live in is paid careful attention, painstakingly captured on film with computer graphics. And the humor is always there. All the characters are funny. I especially like the sequences from the inside of a fish tank in the dentist's office, with a bunch of fish including Gill (Willem Dafoe's vocal talents), who constantly tries to escape. By doing so, Gill has suffered major injuries, including landing on the dentist's tools and getting sliced up. This is, of course, a parody of escaping POWs. The fact that Willem Dafoe was in the great war movie "Platoon" might have something to do with that.
This is taken from my "Monsters, Inc." review: "Pixar once again not only expands our mind, but our very worlds. I respect their company and commitment values very much, as you can read in my 'Toy Story' review. They stick to the values that made Disney films so family-friendly back in the fifties and sixties: Respect for the audience, respect for quality, and respect for the audience's INTELLIGENCE, something Disney, who has recently coughed up a bunch of lousy, thoughtless sequels, has forgotten. Now, I know that LEGALLY Disney is co-creator of 'Toy Story' and 'Monsters, Inc.,' but they really are not. They just give Pixar the money and get their name branded on the front box of the film. And even then, I have heard multiple claims that Disney is very mean-spirited towards Pixar (read into sequel trouble for 'Toy Story 3') and gives them the bare minimum.
With "Finding Nemo," I still stick towards what I said. Pixar Animation Studios is probably the best family film company out there right now, I really hope they separate from Disney some day and form their own production company. They know what interests both kids and adults, and it's almost creepy how they can make their films so engaging and fun to watch. This is one to take the kids to, and afterwards, maybe even sneak back into again by yourself.