EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 17, 2012

'Finding Nemo' is deep, with or without 3D

Vellante's View
Greg Vellante

---- — “Finding Nemo” opens with Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) staring out at the wide ocean view from his anemone home, exclaiming, “Wow.”

I wish I’d felt similarly as a result of this lovely animated film from Pixar studios being quite unnecessarily re-released in 3D. Instead, for quite some time the distraction had me wondering, “Why on earth is this stupid piece of plastic on my face?”

In the end, it didn’t matter. “Finding Nemo” is a delightful gem from the Pixar arsenal. Even with needless enhancements, the movie’s emotional power, affable characters, and endlessly entertaining flow are phenomenal.

“Finding Nemo” marked a significant shift in Pixar’s maturity. While the studio would later go on to make more emotionally enriched pictures (“Up” being the standout), “Finding Nemo” signifies the studio’s first steps towards capturing universal emotion.

“Finding Nemo” works on multiple levels in packing a miraculous punch.

When “Finding Nemo” was released in 2003, I was a youngster and captivated by the characters and their adventure. Revisiting Marlin and everybody’s favorite blue, forgetful fish, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), on their search for Marlin’s son, Nemo, was greatly nostalgic.

What truly stood out for me this time, however, was how Pixar films grow and mature – like humans; like me. In just short of a decade, I have become a completely different person than the boy who first ate popcorn watching “Finding Nemo.”

Turns out, “Finding Nemo” at 13 is very different than “Finding Nemo” at 21. The movie struck a completely different chord.

This is why “Finding Nemo” may be Pixar’s best bet for parents and children alike. A silent theater during the film was testimony to this. While the kids enjoyed the animation and simple aspects of the storyline, I absorbed nuances and the overall poignancy of the film.

Marlin’s search and desperation to find his son is nothing short of beautiful. Nemo’s initial rejection of his father and eventual respect for him is a struggle that rings true to life. Dory’s loyalty in her friendship with Marlin is so touching.

I adore the “Finding Nemo” characters, and for different reasons than I adored them when I was younger. They feel more real now.

Pixar always succeeds in making fish, toys, and robots into characters with honest human traits.

And when “Finding Nemo” reached its emotional climax, where the titular tyke is finally found, I had a big lump in my throat.

Forget 3D. “Finding Nemo” is grand and majestic in its production value and its message. And that, my fellow movie lovers, is what really left me gazing at the credits saying, “Wow.”