Susan Granger's review of "Finding Nemo" (Disney)
There should be nothing fishy about the success of this underwater adventure. It's got everything going for it: intriguing anthropomorphic characters, a compelling story and fanciful computer-generated animation. Set in and around Australia's Great Barrier Reef, it's the tale of Marlin (voiced by an anxious Albert Brooks), a neurotic, overprotective father clownfish, who is searching for Nemo (Alexander Gould), his son who was 'taken' by a deep-sea diving dentist.
Marlin and his friendly-but-forgetful regal blue tang fish companion Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) must confront perils ranging from scary whales, pink jellyfish, predatory sharks and surfer-dude turtles to sunken ships, deadly mines and dangerous ocean currents ("the swirling vortex of terror"). Honest, heartfelt emotion ebbs and flows along with humor - both low (the inevitable burp/fart jokes) and high (allusions to Alcoholics Anonymous, Alfred Hitchcock, etc.) - plus fluid vocal contributions from Willem Dafoe, Geoffrey Rush, Allison Janney, Brad Garrett, Barry Humphries, Austin Pendleton and Andrew Stanton (the film's director). The theme is to trust your child enough to let go and to allow him make his own mistakes - with a subplot involving overcoming physical challenges, since little Nemo has a tiny, underdeveloped fin.
With its four features - "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc.," now this - Pixar Animation sets a digital high water mark for eye-candy and is, quite simply, the best in the business today. Thomas Newman's music and Gary Rydstrom's sound effects are superb, and there's no more fitting final credit song than "Beyond the Sea," sung by Robbie Williams. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Finding Nemo" is a fun, bubbly, fantastic 10. Sea it!
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