Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios
It's from the dynamic duo of movie makers, Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, so there's lots to praise. It's a funny, heartwarming tale of a clownfish, Marlin, who, after losing his wife and hundreds of eggs to a barracuda, becomes seriously overprotective of his only son, Nemo. When Nemo takes a chance one day and is captured by a scuba-diving dentist, Marlin must face his fears to rescue his son.
Along the way, Marlin, voiced by Albert Brooks (who can play neurotic like no one else), meets up with a blue fish named Dory, voiced by the hilarious Ellen DeGeneres. Dory adds many comic moments to the film because she is such an original character. Not only does the fish have short-term memory loss, but she can sing and read! Ellen's improvisations for "speaking like a whale" had the entire audience of kids and grown-ups laughing hysterically.
And that's only one funny moment -- the movie is filled with them! Many wonderful characters inhabit this under-the-sea world: Crush, a surfer dude sea turtle; Bruce, a shark on a 12-step program to stop eating fish; all of the aquarium fish who befriend the captured Nemo (adorably voiced by Alexander Gould); and Darla, the dentist's niece, who's really funny but in a very scary way (hint: "Psycho" music plays whenever she enters a room!). Kids will also enjoy the "butt" and "passing wind" jokes, but there are only a few so parents won't get annoyed.
The underwater world is visually stunning -- the ocean, the fish, the coral reef, and all the sea creatures are absolutely breathtaking and so realistic it's hard to believe it's animation and not photography.
The movie has many sweet messages for both kids (and adults): allow children to take risks and go on adventures; learn to face your fears, with the help of others; embrace the joy of friendship; and discover the many rewards of cultivating a deep bond with your family and friends.
Watch out for:
Even though this is rated "G" for all audiences, be forewarned that there are some scary and sad scenes that may affect very young ones. The movie opens with Marlin's wife and kids being eaten, followed soon after by Nemo getting captured. A lot of the young kids in the audience were very saddened by these scenes; the little 3-year-old boy next to me even cried. Plus, Bruce the shark has lots of BIG teeth! He's funny, but frightening, too, especially when he smells blood and falls off the "fish are friends" program and chases Marlin and Dory. Another sad scene occurs when Dory gets stung by hundreds of jellyfish and almost dies, and there's a moment when the audience thinks Nemo might be dead, too. None of the kids ran out of the theater screaming, though, and at the end of movie, everyone left smiling.
What kids are saying:
Max, 9: Finding Nemo was one of my favorite movies. I liked it because it was funny, sad, and adventurous. My favorite part was the character Dory, a fish with short term memory loss. For example, she thought she could talk to whales but forgot. There was nothing scary except when Nemo's mom died. It wasn't that scary, just intense. I recommend this movie for all ages.