Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Movie Review - Finding Nemo

In The Beginning…

Pixar ventured into the unknown when they took the brave step of creating a wholly computer-generated animation with “Toy Story”. Looking back it seems like merely natural progression, but at the time it was a big gamble. They followed this up with the wonderful “A Bug’s Life”, the excellent “Toy Story 2”, but then a couple of years ago produced the slightly disappointing “Monsters Inc.”. So before I saw Finding Nemo, my expectations were slightly mixed – would Pixar manage to revive the superb quality of the second and third films, or would it be another disappointment? (I know Monsters Inc. had plenty of fans, but personally I didn't find it as good as the other PIXAR movies.)

In actual fact, neither of these. What they have done here is surpass everything they had done before, and set a new standard in the world of computer animation.

The Plot

Marlin is a clown fish (he doesn’t do jokes though), who at the beginning of the movie loses his lady fish and 400 eggs to a shark attack. Only one egg remains – this hatches into the eponymous Nemo. Due to his experiences, Marlin is hugely over-protective as Nemo grows up, to the point that Nemo ends up hating him – as he tells his father just before being caught by an Australian scuba diver. Consumed with tragedy and guilt, Marlin goes off in search of his son. Along the way he bumps into a slightly crazy fish called Dory, who has a short-term memory problem, a problem that leads to some hysterical scenes. (Albeit recent scientific research seems to contradict the theory that fish have extremely short-term memories! – but that doesn’t matter). At the onset of their voyage, they meet the members of “Fish-Eaters Anonymous” – a group of sharks who are trying to kick the habit. More hilarious scenes. And then…

The storyline is just superb. The jokes – both visual and verbal – come thick and fast, and come off extremely well. Like the jokes in “Antz”, they are also at a level where children can appreciate them on one level and adults on another level – something which always makes an animated film much better. There is the occasional sad or scary moment, but they’re not enough to make young children watching it upset. The plot is pretty basic – Marlin trying to save his son – but is handled with skill and plenty of inventive flair.

The Visuals
The visuals are awesome. The underwater effect is superb (and could not possibly be replicated with traditional techniques, I feel), and the lighting effects are absolutely brilliant. Considering that most of the characters are fish, their faces are marvellously expressive. The characterisation is great and the voice-acting (refreshingly done by unknowns – or at lest, unknown to me) is exceptionally good, with just the right expressiveness and brilliant comic timing. And… oh dear, I’ve run out of superlatives again…

Overall

Finding Nemo is quite possibly the best animation ever. (And yes, I am including the all-time classics here). It’s funny, sweet, action-packed, and is just as enjoyable for adults as for children. Or maybe (and I hesitate to say this)… even more enjoyable for adults. I loved it.
As you can probably tell.
(Since writing this and having watched many animated movies since, only one has surpassed it in my opinion - Wall-E.)

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