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Film Review: Finding Nemo

Disney and Pixar go all fishy...

Disney & Pixar have given new life to the age-old aquarium screensaver in this animated comedy based on the adventures of a diminutive clown fish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo. In a movie world where comedy is dominated by irritating teenage ego-angst (sorry American Pie fans) or tired rehashed slapstick (sorry Scary Movie fans), it's difficult to believe that an animation about a bunch of fish could leave such movies dead in the water, but it does. Finding Nemo is definitely the finest animated movie to hit the big screen since Shrek.

Finding NemoThe story wastes no time in bringing Marlin & Nemo to the fore, when a barracuda wipes out Marlin's mate and their 500 eggs and only the unhatched Nemo survives. It's similar and equally effective to Mufasa's death in the Lion King, and it's unexpectedly heartfelt. Marlin then becomes a wimpish, over protective father to Nemo and in real life style, he becomes rebellious in his youthful way. For a dare, Nemo disobeys his father by swimming out to open sea and approaches a fishing boat where he's captured by a diver and soon ends up in an Australian dentist's fish tank. Marlin then becomes a reluctant hero and sets off across the Pacific bowl to find his son and along the way, he meets up with a blue tang named Dory (Ellen Degenres), a hilarious sidekick with a short memory span.

In the same fashion that Eddie Murphy stole the show as Donkey in Shrek, Dory remains dominant throughout with quirky humour and intelligent dialogue. Her short-term memory is a continual gag throughout the movie and never becomes tiresome. There's no shortage of adulterated humour here either, for example poking fun at The Shining, Bruce the Shark bursts through a submarine door screaming ?Heeeerrreeee's Brucie!!!!? Or the Psycho music played to the approach of Nemo's less-than-likeable owner. In the fish tank, Gill (ably voiced by Willem Dafoe) is constantly conjuring crackpot schemes to escape as if it were Escape From Alcatraz.

Perhaps the best aspect of this movie is its look. The animation is flawless and believable, and a scene with hundreds of jellyfish is particularly impressive. The film is full of child-friendly colour from sunken submarines to coral reefs and seabeds. There are literally dozens of sea-creatures that swim in and out of the movie, sharks, turtles, crabs, pelicans to name only a few, and each with their own witty charm.

All in all, Finding Nemo combines a charming tale with superb graphics and a huge cast of colourful characters that make it a warm and very funny movie.

So submerge yourself.

Jimmy Murphy

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