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Finding Nemo
DVD disk
10.10.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Finding Nemo order
Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich

Albert Brooks
Alexander Gould
Ellen DeGeneres


star Printer-Friendly version
Marlin is an overprotective, easily frightened, ocean-dwelling clown fish who loses all his family save for one little egg in a barracuda attack. When his lone remaining son Nemo is captured by a scuba diver and imprisoned in an Australian aquarium, he puts all of his fears aside and embarks on a terrifying journey to Sydney in order to rescue him.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to expect anything other than perfection from Pixar’s animators and FINDING NEMO is yet another example of how the studio has claimed its place well atop the heap as far as making wonderful things come to life is concerned. Anyone having ever listened to animators speak, knows by now that the two most difficult elements to animate are fire and water. Fire, Nemo can live without, but a film about ocean fish demands a heckuva lot of water and there’s not a second in this film in which it looked less than amazing. The characters also had the usual Disney-inspired blend of cuteness, charm, humor and heroism on top of having Pixar’s master stroke of incredible appearance.

Marlin and Nemo’s big adventure is one of those films that the young ones will watch a hundred times over not only to hear a new take on the familiar story of a parent rescuing his child, but also to listen to the great music, see the vibrant colors and to have some good old kiddy fun. Ranging from heartbreaking to hilarious, the film goes through a plethora of sea inhabitants from the deepest realms of the ocean to the fish-tanks at the local dentist’s. Vegetarian sharks, fish-hungry seagulls and majestic whales are only a few of the creatures that Marlin encounters during his travels alongside the forgetful Dory who helps him along the way. There’s no major innovation in terms of story though, other than slight variations on a well-told tale of parental devotion, but grown-ups can still get a kick out of the humor and the technical wizardry of the film. Overall, FINDING NEMO is great for kids and nice for adults. Not Disney/Pixar’s most memorable effort, but right up there in terms of a good time.
The DVD is very geared toward kids with the second disc containing plenty of little educational features. The first disc starts off with a full length audio visual commentary track with director Andrew Stanton and other filmmakers. It's the first time I see such a feature and I must say it worked quite well. It plays out like a regular audio commentary, but at times branches itself into deleted scenes, recording session clips and other informative bits. You don't have to wait for any icons or graphics to appear on screen, just sit back and enjoy.

Making Nemo (25 mins.): This documentary was made especially for this DVD and follows the filmmakers through the creative and technical processes. It's quite basic though and no different than what you'd find on any other Pixar DVD. The only difference is the emphasis on this environment's particular hurdles, mainly the water.

Design Galleries: Here you can see a bunch of galleries of character concept drawings and so on. The one stand-out here is the entire storyboard script which is included in color and features over 300 individual drawings.

Exploring the Reef (7 mins.): Hosted by Jean-Michel Cousteau, of the legendary sea-exploring family and co-hosted by Marlin, Dory and Nemo, this little documentary on coral reefs is sure to get the kids' attention. It's not only interesting, but even gets heartbreaking when Cousteau explains the irreparable harm we're inflicting on reefs worldwide through careless misuse of our environment.

Knick Knack (4 mins.): This 1989 short was the first by Pixar way back when. It tells the story of a snowman in a snow globe trying to escape in order to join the sunnier knick-knacks on the shelf. It's pretty cool, if only for the music.

Mr. Ray's Encyclopedia (7 mins): In the movie, Mr. Ray is the kids' schoolteacher and his vocation continues here with very brief explanations of many of the sea creatures encountered in the film, mixing them in with live shots of the animals. Make sure the kids don't see the Great White Shark vignette before going to bed.

Fisharades: This is a game in which a school of silverfish gradually form shapes on screen. You have to pick among four shapes before time runs out. Surprisingly, this actually has a bit of a challenge to it as opposed to most DVD games.

Storytime: Available in read-along mode or read-for-yourself, this little Nemo spin-off story is good for little kids learning to read or for severely illiterate adults.

Behind The Scenes (15 mins.): This is made up of three separate little vignettes, the first of which is a set of interviews with the film characters which provides younger ones with a greater look into the personality of the fishies. Following that, Alexander Gould, the voice of Nemo, will take them along for a little tour of the Pixar studio. While this may be fun for kids, it's quite depressing for we adults to realize these people's jobs are just that much cooler than ours. The last section is a set of 7 trailers and a bunch of posters.

Virtual Aquarium: At any time during the menus, a little fish icon will appear on screen and upon selection, the menu items will appear and the backgrounds will remain, turning your TV set into a fake aquarium. It's a great concept, but there isn't enough animation in the backgrounds to make it really interesting.
While this isn't Pixar's best effort (that honor goes to MONSTERS INC.), it's nonetheless greatly worthy of attention and if it doesn't grab yours, it will definitely grab your kids'. Since they'll probably want to watch this every day, ten times a day, it might be a worthy purchase, but if you're looking to snuggle with your girlfriend and show her that you have a cute side too...then a rental may be in order.
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