Saturday, 7 March 2009

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy. Come on, Squishy Come on, little Squishy

No 413 - Finding Nemo
Director - Andrew Stanton

I'm surprised that this is so low in the top 500 as it is one of Pixar's best films. The best is quite obviously Toy Story 2, but this is close.

This film follows the standard Pixar buddy template however adds a certain layer of bleak despair over the story. If you look at the key elements of the story it really is depressing. Especially for poor Marlin.... the guy deserves a break
This a film that refuses to talk down to the audience. It may be a kid's film but the themes in it are quite adult. In the opening scene, in the first 5 minutes, Marlin's wife and their huge collection eggs get eaten.... leaving only one eggy survivor, Nemo. We now know the importance of Nemo in Marlin's life and why he is such an over protective father.
So when Nemo gets kidnapped.... Marlin sets off in a fratic desperate chase against the kidnappers....

Of course, Marlin couldn't do this on his own and the film manages to lighten the bleak story with the excellent cast of characters. Marlin may be a bit of a whining sap but he is the perfect foil to the stark raving bonkers Dory. Dory has the advantage of stealing almost every scene that she is in. With her inane rambling and her equally inane songs, Dory has the most memorable lines and the most amusing scenes.
However, there are other character that can easily hold their own against her. In typical Pixar style, all of the characters have been given a fascinating character. I'm going to talk about some of my favourite fish in the Pixar Sea:
  • The Teacher - this is John Ratzenberger's role in this film (as mentioned before, he gets a role in every Pixar film). A giant Manta Ray, which the children ride on the back of as he sings about the ecosystem which surrounds them.
  • Bruce - and indeed all three of the sharks in his little troupe. They are truly menacing characters, with their anatomically correct rows and rows and rows of teeth. However they have given up eating fish and now hold regular meetings - think AA for carnivores. They are an amusing little group, and once Bruce gets the Blood Lust, he becomes truly terrifying (I think it is just the subtle change as his eyes become black dead pits....) a chomping, charging, mindless tank of death.
  • Crush - I think Crush is the ultimate scene stealer in this film. The turtles are depicted as complete stereotype surfers with typically bizarre lingo "Saw the whole thing, dude. First you were all like "whoa", and we were like "whoa", and you were like "whoa..."" - He is one of a group of turtles riding the Oceanic drift and it is Crush's easy going parental skills that has the biggest effect on Marlin... showing that it is possible for a child to have a perfectly safe upbringing without Marlin's trademark overbearing nature.
  • You then have the myriad of creatures that don't have names.... the frankly hideous and scary Angler Fish, and the brainless hive mind of the seagulls being particular favourites.
  • Finally, the Whale... whilst the whale may not be doing anything particularly exciting it allows Dory to show off one of her key skills - being able to talk Whale. Which is baaaassssiiicccccccaaaaaaalllllllly speeeaaakkkkkkkiiiinnnnnnggggggg ssllloooooooowwwwwwllllllyyyy....
This isn't just a simple rescue buddy movie, it is also important because of Marlin's character development.... as he it is possible to be a good father and still embrace life. The characterisation in the film is excellent, but also.... the film looks so damned good!
The way that seaweed moves, the way that sunlight dapples - apparently the creation of realistic water was Pixar's biggest challenge for this film but it is a challenge they rose to admirably.

All of this is without even talking about what is happening on Nemo's side of the story. Trapped in a fish tank at a dentist's office the story introduces another smorgasbord of fascinating characters. From the scarred Gill to Jacques the comedy french prawn, Pixar manage to introduce dozens of characters which the viewer generally care about. Very impressive when you think that some films fail to provide a single captivating character.

This might not be the deepest film in creation, it is a glorious thing to watch. I apologise that all this blog really is is me talking about moments that I really liked.
However, that should be a clear sign that I love the film and tat it is really interesting....

Do watch it if you haven't


Anonymous said...

I love finding Nemo! And Pretty Much every movie pixar has ever made!!!!!!

I think you should also mention that Dory may be a bonkers character however, considering she has overcome memory loss, which could be quite terribly really, she continues to stay upbeat! "Just keep swimming"

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