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June 02, 2003
that lucky fin...

After having seen "Finding Nemo" twice, I know that I will go and see it a few times more, preferably in Digital Projection, as available in certain theaters. I will probably also go for a late night showing. Having seen a big shadow of a man fall over the shadow of a baby-carriage parked next to an up and down jumping shadow of a full-row-family, could have been enough by itself. Hearing a swarm of 4 year olds try to speak "whale" pretty much gave it the edge.
Now I made it sound worse than it was. The movie can be watched in a cinema filled with kids. The story is quite arresting for anybody who knows not to swallow the small parts that break of their toys.
I was a little worried that the movie would not be quite as much af ablast as the previous creations coming out of Pixar. I mean at some point their ideas had to be just as good as the other studios?, maybe? What made me worry much more of course was just the amount of promotion blasted through all the channels of the Disney's Magic Kingdom machinery. I watched the previews and read the reviews and saw the winking sharks on cab roofs and even on eBay and so I went into the theatre with the feeling that I know the story too well to be overly excited. I was even ready to accept that I was about to spend some two hours or so contemplating about the differences of fish who are gummy (Marlyn) and those who glow with their own color (Dory).
What actually happened in the big dark room was very different of course. The movie is not one of those shallow money suckers that can barely keep up with their trailers. The writers at Pixar are somehow always able to think outside of one age group and so I think that even if Pixar decided to make movies with paper-napkin-puppets exclusively, they would still be able to turn them into wonderful classics. Their storytelling sits at the beginning and in the centre of the process and this really shows. This stuff is great. (Finding Nemo was written by the incredible Andrew Stanton, who also directed the movie and is the voice of turtle Crush, dude...)
I am not saying that the visuals were not breathtaking. There was some unparalleled underwater rendering on that big blue, ahem, silver screen. The ocean was the same ocean I remembered from my childhood tv-trips with Jacques Cousteau, except that it was better, because seen from the perspective of fish, not divers who can not even talk under water.
See, what the movie has done to me? I just picked the Pixar ocean over the real thing, but that is because the Pixar ocean somehow turns the vast 71% of earth's surface into something that even a three year old can understand as something that needs to be preserved, not exploited. (an issue actually that worries some people.)
The story is of course not a documentary feature set in an ocean recreated with really powerful computers.
Layers of the story touch themes like parenting and growing up and learning to deal with other people, ahem, fish. "Finding Nemo" was written by a who realized that there is a very fine line between being overbearingly protective of a child and letting it go completely and find out the harshness of things without proper supervision. Life is an ocean, and it is a scary place at times. Especially for those who are aware of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
There are several characters in the movie who represent different ways of parenting. Their motives are different, as different as their species. The results are as different as their species as well. A Shark, who never met his , turns into a barely personality with unrealistic intentions. A turtle who just let's the kid figure certain things out, without worries, dude, looks like a chain in generations of just this kind of laid back pedagogy. At the other end of this spectrum is a clown fish, a creature completely vulnerable outside of a very tiny security zone. A tiny fish, overly protective of a son, who happens to also have a little developmental deficiency. These two, Marlin and Nemo are the two protagonists of the two main story lines of this multilayered movie.
One other layer of the story might be about finicky nature of trust. Dory, a sweet and kind blue fish with a tiny short term memory problem has an unlimited amount of courage. She might be a burned child, but she lacks the memory to remember the fire and so Sharks are as much friends to her as jellyfish are pets, and she also is able to relatively easily befriend a clownfish who has a very complimentary view of the world. Marlin is a burned child that remembers the fire and its consequences all too well. The movie starts with a heartbreaking tragedy for him, he knows that he is vulnerable, he knows that one wrong swim beyond his reef can turn him into somebody's snack. He is a very unlikely hero, not a natural born adventurer, yet he is turned into one, in order to save the life of his child.
I hope that my descriptions give a tiny glimpse into the wonderful depth of the characters in the movie. Where other writers manage to create a main character and maybe a shallow sidekick, the writers here created a universe populated with real characters. Each creature in the movie has a reason to be there, their intentions are good, they are tangible individuals, not funny animated caricatures.
"Finding Nemo" is a wonderful movie that comes to life in a way that can not be easily expressed in a trailer or a sneak peek at the scene. The movie works very much like a good book that asks questions especially after the last page has been read.
I certainly am going to see this one again... and if you have not seen the movie yet, it is well worth your time and the cost of a ticket. And it does not matter how old you are, really. If you are reading this, you will probably have more fun and in more ways than you expect... sea it.... : )
For more and really in depth information about the move and for an interview with the director: Visit animated-movies.net.


wow you wrote that well! I can't wait to see it!!!!

~ w

Posted by: willo on June 3, 2003 05:49 PM

the best movie i've seen this year
(okay and maybe the only.)

Posted by: em!ly on June 4, 2003 11:36 PM
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