Volume 97, Issue 3
Thursday, June 5, 2003

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MOVIE REVIEW: Finding Nemo

Fun-loving fin film

Finding Nemo
Starring the voices of: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe
Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich

By Anthony Turow
Gazette Staff

With its striking animation, Finding Nemo is arguably one of the most visually stunning films to unspool at your nearby multiplex in recent years. Each frame is filled with such detail that watching it almost becomes a playful challenge and the idea of missing something is frightening.

The plot revolves around a young clownfish named Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould) who is snatched by a scuba diver and ends up in a dentist's aquarium. This leads his overly cautious and neurotic father, perfectly voiced by Albert Brooks, to the rescue.

Nemo is typical of a Disney romp in that a character ventures towards a journey of discovery, but the execution is fast, funny and innovative. Expectations are constantly foiled and the film never lags.

From the sharks' twelve-step empowerment meetings to end their meat-eating habits, to finding out the true meaning of a seagull's cry, the film delights in the refreshing element of surprise. Perhaps the most ingenious scheme of all occurs when the fish escape the aquarium – it will make you think twice the next time you tap on the tank.

The voice acting is also splendid and the actors have seemingly been chosen based on ability and not merely because they were the highest profile celebrities drawn to the project.

Ellen DeGeneres surprises in her portrayal of Dory, a fish who suffers from short-term memory loss. With her considerable comedic talents, she reminds the audience she can give a winning performance.

Brooks is also wonderful, applying his neurotic shtick to the role of Nemo's doting father, Marlin. Brooks' trademark whine ensures the proceedings won't get overly sentimental.

The writer-director, Andrew Stanton, provides the most hilarious voice-over. He portrays Crush the sea turtle as a stoned, Zen-like surfer dude and it is yet another highlight in a film full of fun.

Despite its stigma of being labeled a "kid's movie," Nemo will likely enthrall audiences of all ages. Without question, the film has far more entertainment value than the big noisy blockbusters of this summer movie season and Nemo is far more intelligent.


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