Friday, December 9, 2011


(May 2003, U.S.)

Choosing to write about and discuss any Walt Disney family film can prove to be the most challenging when writing these blogs because it puts me in the position of having to interpret the film, my feelings and reactions to it from the point of view of the adult. You see, as a kid I wasn't raised on very much Disney in the movie theater. Back in the 1970's, there would often be these Disney re-release double features, but my parents barely took me to see them. I actually ended up seeing more G-rated films that took place in the great wilderness, but that's another story entirely.

So in the Summer of 2003, I was dragged (practically kicking and screaming) by my wife to see FINDING NEMO. My positive reaction to it was only minimal at the time. But then two things happened; the first is that I decided to give the film another look when it screened on the Starz cable channel a year later. The comic fun of the underwater story, particularly the ongoing vocal cynicism by Marlin the clownfish (voiced by funnyman Albert Brooks) suddenly took on a whole new light for me. The second is that after I became a father, my little boy discovered the movie and the DVD was constantly playing on our TV. Honestly, when you're constantly exposed to something like that over and over again, you're either going to really love it or really hate it. Fortunately for this blog and fans of the movie, I chose to love it. In fact, if you play FINDING NEMO on a really large flat screen TV, I defy your imagination to not convince yourself that you have a real living aquarium in your living room.

It seems that all our undersea characters (and the celebrity voices behind them) are funny in this film. From Albert Brooks to Ellen Degeneres to Willem DaFoe, the dialogue is quick, snappy and filled with more than its share of comic points that will entertain grownups, as well. Only a grownup who is very familiar with JAWS (1975) and the behind-the-scenes story of the mechanical shark being named "Bruce" could smile when the huge animated Australian great white shark introduces himself to the little fish as Bruce. And even though over the course of the last decade I feel that computer-generated animated movies have become absolute overkill, FINDING NEMO is one of those rare treats where one may want to sit in the front row of the movie theater (or your living room) and let the vivid images wash out to the edges of one's field of vision. Your eyes, ears and senses have the opportunity to take a wonderful journey to the depths of the great blue ocean and even get to see a little of what Sydney Harbour in Australia looks like.

And so, as much as I've always wanted to deny the fact that becoming a father has forever "changed" me, I suppose I can't deny it any longer when I find myself enjoying films like FINDING NEMO, SHREK, TOY STORY and who know what else. In other words, I guess I'm fucked!

Favorite line or dialogue:

Dory: "Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you've gotta do?"
Marlin: "No, I don't wanna know."
Dory (singing): "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim."
Marlin: "Dory, no singing."
Dory (still singing): "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho. I love to swim. When you want to swim you want to swim."
Marlin: "Now I'm stuck with that song. Now it's in my head!"
Dory: "Sorry."

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