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FINDING NEMO
U.S. Release Date: May 30, 2003
Distributor: Buena Vista
Director: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
Writer: Bob Peterson, David Reynolds, Andrew Stanton
Producer: John Lasseter (executive producer)
Composer: Thomas Newman
Cast: Albert Brooks (Voice), Ellen DeGeneres (Voice), Willem Dafoe (Voice), Eric Bana (Voice), Geoffrey Rush (Voice)
Running Time: 1 hour and 44 minutes
MPAA Rating: G

Finding a New Family Classic
by C.A. Wolski

After watching Finding Nemo, there's no doubt where all the creativity in Hollywood is holed up. A family movie in the fullest sense, Pixar's latest feature is a bright, funny, exciting and, yes, thought provoking story about the risks one will gladly take to hold onto one's values.

Marlin the clownfish (voiced by Albert Brooks), a neurotic single father, tries to save his only son Nemo, who's been scooped up and transported to an office aquarium by a maniacal Australian dentist. Along the way, Marlin has numerous adventures with his newly acquired memory-impaired friend Dori (Ellen Degeneres, who steals every scene she's in) such as run-ins with vegetarian sharks, jellyfish and sea turtles. Nemo has his own adventures, including a daring attempt to break out of the aquarium (the only scene that seemed to elicit tears from the tykes in the audience). Along the way both Marlin and Nemo come to understand each other and become better clownfish as a result.

The storytelling is gentle, and there's a lot of wordplay that will delight adults but enough pratfalls to keep kids in their seats during the 1 hour 40 minute running time.

The visual design is a wonder. It's absolutely astonishing how the folks at Pixar are able to top themselves with each new movie. This is a crowning achievement in computer animation. The fish are animated, true, but they express real emotions in a real, alternately wondrous and dangerous environment. That said, the only time it feels as if we're watching an "animated" movie is when the humans get involved, but that's long been a problem with hand drawn animation as well (excepting anime).

Thankfully there are no songs or song montages, showing how the Pixar storytelling has matured over the years. This is a fully realized character driven tale that has you rooting for these little fish.

Forget the G rating if you're without kids. As with all great movies, this one should be seen by everybody.


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