Saturday, June 14, 2014

23. Finding Nemo (2003)

Code-name: Sharkbait
("Sharkbait, bru-ha-ha!")

Directors: Andrew Stanton*, Lee Unkrick

*Andrew wrote the story and worked with Bob Peterson and David Reynolds on the screenplayType: animation, adventure, comedy
Music: Thomas Newman


[The Ocean]
Nemo- Alexander Gould
Marlin- Albert Brooks
Mr. Ray- Bob Peterson
Dory- Ellen DeGeneres
Bruce- Barry Humphries
Chum- Bruce Spence
Anchor- Eric Bana
Fish School- John Ratzenberger [aka Pixar's good-luck charm]
Crush- Andrew Stanton
Coral- Elizabeth Perkins

[The Dentist Office]

Nigel- Geoffrey Rush
Gill- Willem Dafoe
Bloat- Brad Garrett
Bubbles- Stephen Root ["my bubbles!"]
Deb/Flo- Vicki Lewis
Peach- Allison Janney
Jacques- John Ranft
Dentist P. Sherman- Bill Hunter

Notable Awards and Nominations:

OSCAR- Best animated film
nomination- OSCAR- Best Original Screenplay
nomination- OSCAR- Best Sound Editing
nomination- OSCAR- Best Original Score
nomination- Golden Globe- Best Picture (comedy/musical)
AFI- Movie of the Year- 2004


First Impression

First of all, Pixar is amazing in general. The only film from this company I didn't get into was "Monsters Inc." I don't know, but not a huge fan. (And for the record, I have not seen "Cars 2," which I've heard some horrific things about, and don't plan on seeing "Planes").

In 2003, it was on the cutting edge. They had success already with "Toy Story," a series I enjoyed, but didn't fully become immersed in for a couple years.

"Finding Nemo," on the premise alone and the amazing animation, of course, we had to go out and see that.

That was a particular amazing summer where I did so much. Among those things, I got my permit (don't ask me why, but I didn't bother to get my license until summer of 2005), I went to an amazing Jesse McCartney concert, "The O.C." premiered and I went to the movies three times.

The other two were "Freaky Friday" and "Princess Diaries 2."

I don't have a lot of old ticket stubs, but I still have mine for "Finding Nemo."

Saw it on June 6th 2003 at 4:40pm.

The animation's incredible, we had such memorable characters and dozens of great quotes.

This was before I became an avid viewer of Ellen's daytime talk show, but she was probably my favorite part of this movie. Animation agreed with her voice so well.

Bits of Trivia

For someone who goes crazy over movie trivia, I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know a lot of stuff that went on behind the scenes of this movie. Other than one or two TV sneak peeks where they showed how they make the underwater scenery and movement of the characters look so realistic. And they also showed other Pixar references in the background, including a Buzz Lightyear at the dentist office and the Pizza Planet car in the "great escape" sequence.

Some interesting tidbits I'm picking up:

  • Dory was written specifically for Ellen
  • It was dedicated to Pixar animator Glenn McQueen who became the namesake for the protagonist of "Cars"
  • It beat out "The Lion King" for highest grossing animated film (a title, I believe, was later taken by "Toy Story 3" and most recently, "Frozen")
  • Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer were approached to score the film and turned it down (both great composers I respect, but they weren't quite right for this
Actors and Actresses

Willem Dafoe's been appearing in my reviews a lot lately... it's not intentional, I promise.

I've said some movies are more about the story than the actors.

This one has been so about the memorable characters that I didn't think to look up the all-star cast. At the time, I only knew Ellen, Albert Brooks (who I'd seen previously voiceover for the tiger in Eddie Murphy's "Doctor Doolittle" remake), and Brad Garrett (even though I watched very little of "Everyone Loves Raymond," my mom loved him in that show).

Willem Dafoe and Allison Janney, I picked up on only a couple years ago. For once, it is kinda nice to see Dafoe play a good guy, even though Gill does look a little rough around the edges when we first meet him.

But now I'm learning that Eric Bana was one of the sharks, Nigel the pelican was done by Captain Barbossa himself, Geoffrey Rush...

the actual screenwriters even got into the act with Bob Peterson as the teacher, Mr. Ray, and Andrew Stanton as Crush (a toootally awwwesssome sea turtle, bro)...

Yeah, great cast of people.

More often than that, though, Pixar to me is about the characters and the cutting edge computer animation.

Characters, Quotes and Sea Life

The makings of great films also include falling in love with certain aspects at first and appreciating more things about them as you get older.

I don't know how the fascination with sea life started when I was a kid. I loved animals in general, everything from dinosaurs to cats and dogs to dolphins and whales. So I knew a lot of stuff when it came to these guys. At one time, I did have a fish tank, but it was all freshwater warm water fish, mostly tetras (and to this day, it still confounds me that my catfish never managed to stay alive after the one I had for a number of years died).

Some of it comes from computer programs like "In the Company of Whales" and "Shark Alert," where I absorbed so many facts like a sponge.

Right now, I'm remembering back to my college's Marine Biology club taking a trip to the Camden Aquarium and my friend Kirby found Nemo and pointed out Dory (a blue tang) to a kid who was a fan of the movie.

I thought I knew my stuff about marine life, but Kirby was even more savvy about that stuff.
Oh well, at least a fellow marine biology major, he's living that dream in some capacity... it's been a while since we've talked, so maybe this is a good excuse to see what it is that he's doing. Other than fishing and helping out people with their fish tanks with his expertise 8-)

But I digress...

I don't know WTF is with Disney and killing off parents (I'm still groaning over "Frozen" in that department because that could have easily have been avoided), but that's how the movie begins. Nemo's mom gets eaten by a barracuda.

As a result, Marlin is left to raise Nemo alone and he's overprotective to the nth degree.

On Nemo's first day of school, this becomes a major issue. Nemo gets fed up and tries to prove he's capable of being on his own by swimming to a boat... where he gets himself caught by an Aussie dentist.

So in an odd sort of way, this is another version of your "fish out of water" story. Marlin has no choice, but to put his fear of the oceanic unknown aside to get Nemo back. Right away, he bumps into the friendly, although absent-minded, Dory.

Then their story continues on, following the address on the diving mask...

Say it with me...

P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney

It's a guarantee you'll never forget that address after seeing this movie even once ;)

...and they run into all kinds of obstacles along the way.

You get lots of action and adventure, plenty of drama (mostly from Marlin being a neurotic drama king, lol) and Dory provides the comedic element to lighten everyone's mood.

Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming swimming swimming...

Then on the other side of the Big Blue and the EAC (East Australian Current), we spend the other half of this part of the film with Nemo and his new friends, who live in the dentist office fish tank. They'd been there so long that they know all the dentist's habits by the clock... They also have their issues.

As Gill puts it; "Fish aren't meant to be in a box, kid, it does stuff to you"

Like the damselfish who's convinced her reflection is her sister

And the yellow tang who is oddly possessive of his bubble-churning treasure chest

My bubbles!

Probably my favorite quote of the movie :-P I use it whenever I can... that and the seagulls who constantly say "Mine!" ...and occasionally I like to say "es-ca-pey" like Dory

Nemo's storyline with his tank-mates is all about putting together the "great escape," a plan that's failed miserably on numerous occasions, even resulting in permanent scaling for Gill. Not just to get him back to the ocean, but to keep him out of the hands of P. Sherman's niece, Darla, who they've labeled as a fish killer.

She's not exactly the female equivalent of Sid from "Toy Story," meaning she doesn't intentionally kill fish. She just doesn't know not to shake the plastic bag holding them.

While Marlin and Dory head to Sydney, Australia, they're on this mission, but part of their storyline is the cliché of two opposite personalities traveling together.

Marlin being the pessimist, worrier and realistic and Dory being the optimist and idealist. They compliment each other really well. Often times, this helps keep them alive.
Marlin does a great deal of this, knowing well to be wary of the so-called "vegetarian" sharks, even when things are looking up.

On the flipside, he almost leads the two of them to death of jellyfish

I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy...

because he doesn't listen to her about swimming through the trench.

After what happened in the beginning of the film, he has trouble trusting anyone's judgment but his own, particularly Dory's, since he perceives her to be an absent-minded flake.
Sooner or later, he does learn to let go a bit and grows immensely as a character.

Despite all the things the characters endure, everyone gets their happy ending with plenty of laughs and tense moments along the way.

Good for all ages, although I'd read a couple accounts from people who thought the opening scene with the barracuda was a little too intense, however short it may be. Not quite as bad as some other Disney death sequences, but still worthy of note.

Upcoming Sequel

I wasn't sure if it was just a running joke or she was deadly serious, but rarely did a lot of time go by without Ellen lobbying on her talk show for a "Finding Nemo" sequel...
After doing this for a number of years, she finally got her wish last year.

 "Finding Dory" was announced and is currently in production.

On the one hand, I guess it does make sense because "Toy Story" had great success with its sequels. But then again, there was also "Cars" and "Monsters Inc." that had not-so-good sequels/prequels. Plus, "Finding Nemo" is so amazing on its own that any notion to top that seems ludicrous.... but nonetheless, we shall see how this works out.

No comments: