Copyright 1999-2003 3BlackChicks Enterprises™. All Rights Reserved.

Bams' review of
Finding Nemo


Finding Nemo (2003)
Rated G; running time 101 minutes
Studio: Disney/Pixar
Genre: Animation
Seen at: Eastwood Neighborhood Cinema Group (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Andrew Stanton
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Cast (voices): Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Geoffrey Rush, Allison Janney, Austin Pendleton, Stephen Root, Vicki Lewis, Joe Ranft, Andrew Stanton, Elizabeth Perkins, Nicholas Bird, Barry Humphries, Eric Bana, Bruce Spence, Bill Hunter, Jordan Ranft, Erica Beck, Erik Per Sullivan, John Ratzenberger

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003

(click here to skip to this movie's rating)

First came Chicken Run, which cramped my Popeye's groove. Now, Finding Nemo comes down the pike.

Dag, can't a semi-vegetarian sista eat in peace?

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Marlin (Albert Brooks) used to be a happy Clown Fish, living in the beautiful Australian Great Barrier Reef. He and Coral (Elizabeth Perkins) were about to welcome 400 new fish to the sea when - BAM! - Darwin pulled the rug right under Marlin's happiness. With only one egg surviving the catastrophe, Marlin vows to his offspring Nemo (Alexander Gould) that Marlin would never, ever, let anything happen to him. Sometimes, though, that could be A Bad Thing...

Nemo grows up and is excited about his first day of school. Marlin, worry-wart that he's become, trails closely behind. When Nemo and a few of his buddies play hooky [and the puns just keep a'rollin...], Marlin is fit to be tied. Nemo, angry at having been called out in front of his school chums and angrier that his dad is so timid, defies Marlin and swims out past safety toward the open sea - with terrible consequences. Nemo is taken far, far away from home, and it's up to his terrified father to rescue him.

Marlin sets off on the adventure of his life, coming across new friends like the forgetful Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), Bruce the reformed shark (Barry Humphries), a cool band of turtles led by Crush (Andrew Stanton), and a school of fish with an excellent sense of direction (John Ratzenberger). But Nemo isn't passively waiting for his ship to come in; he recruits the help of former ocean-dweller Gill (Willem Dafoe), Bloat the Pufferfish (Brad Garrett), the very confused Deb (Vicki Lewis) and a helpful pelican named Nigel (Geoffrey Rush) to regain his freedom and find his father again.

The Pixar animation group has far outpaced partner Disney, et al, in its ability to bring audiences Good Stuff through mainstream animation; the group somehow manages to make the minutia of everyday life, somehow much bigger. Whether it be ants (A Bugs' Life), children's toys (Toy Story and Toy Story 2), or a child's worst nightmare (Monsters, Inc.), Pixar sees magic in the things we adults have long since taken for granted.

Pixar's latest film, Finding Nemo, continues their legacy, and then some. I chuckled and oohahhed at TS & TS 2. I got Warm Fuzzies during Monsters. But in watching Nemo, my emotions ran the gamut from near-tears to unabashed guffaws; some, in the most unexpected of places. ["Mine! Mine! Mine!"...aww man, was that funny].

As with their other films, the voice work in Nemo was excellent, a big part of which had to do with spot-on casting. Albert Brooks as the anally overprotective Marlin, the not-yet Hollywood hip youngster Alexander Gould as Nemo himself, Barry Humphries as Bruce, the shark with AA Issues, Willem Dafoe as the mysterious father-figure Gill, Andrew Stanton and Nicholas Bird as rad turtle dudes, and especially Pixar vet John "Cliffy" Ratzenberger as "Fish School", were but a few of the myriad of voices that brought life to this great movie.

The biggest surprise for me was in how much I enjoyed Ellen DeGeneres (the voice of Dory, the forgetful fish). DeGeneres generally gets on my last nerve, but she had me rollin' at times during Nemo. If I had any doubts about her ability to make me laugh, they were completely erased by the hilarious whale scene. "There," I said to myself, "is a chick who's really into being a fish".

But the voice work is only "half" of what makes Nemo so good. An animated flick with good voices but bad animation, just wouldn't do. Fortunately, Pixar Knows Pictures - and does them superbly. Unlike the Toy Story duo, there's less emphasis on making the human images all that photorealistic here; instead, you get the feeling of really being in the brightly-colored and lively ocean, or especially, in a fish tank.

Pixar has created some of the few animated movies I could watch with the sound turned off (or, listen to blindfolded) and still enjoy immensely; Finding Nemo is no exception. Kudos to writer/director (and voice of "Crush") Stanton for helming the huge group of folks that brought Nemo to life; it was worth sitting through the long list of credits just to see the enormous scope of what goes into making of movie like this (not to mention, being entertained by the animated closing credits).

Right about here, I'd mention the faults I found in an otherwise excellent film. Guess what? I can't recall a single one. I highly recommend you catch Finding Nemo at a theater near you. Me, I'll be back in line next weekend - and back once again when the outtakes-enhanced version reaches theaters.

Pixar does it again; from A Bugs' Life to Monsters, Inc., they've combined astounding animation with great voice work, creating flat-out fun for kids of all ages. This fifth major film in their repertoire only improves upon their record. Finding Nemo is, without exception, the best movie I've seen all year.


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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed through 5/30/03):

Bams' reviews:
The Italian Job | Finding Nemo

The Diva's reviews:
The Italian Job

Cass' reviews:
Bend It Like Beckham

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