I'm not too proud to admit that I was wrong dead wrong. "Finding Nemo" is a family movie, not a kids' movie. And there's no way this could simply be lumped into the 'animated' film category; the creatures in "Finding Nemo" are more real than some flesh and blood actors. No more than 10 minutes into the movie, I found I was totally enchanted by this gorgeous, captivatingly illustrated fish tale. The ocean and its creatures fairly leap off of the screen, so vibrant and alive are each of the characters.
With voices provided by some big name stars including Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, and Willem Dafoe, "Finding Nemo's" fish have all been endowed with separate and distinct personalities. Dory (DeGeneres) has no short-term memory and provides the film with heart. There's Marlin, a clown fish that embodies all the neuroses of an Albert Brooks character, voiced by, well, Albert Brooks. Willem Dafoe's 'Gill' is the most serious dare I say dark and dramatic - fish, in keeping with that actor's style.
"Finding Nemo" follows the misadventures of Marlin, an overly protective single dad trying his best to raise his only child, Nemo. Nemo's a pretty typical kid; he wants to strike out on his own, have a little fun, and go wherever his father says not to go. On Nemo's first day of school, Marlin follows him around, giving guidance when it's not wanted, and embarrassing him in front of his new classmates. Pushed too far, Nemo disobeys a direct order and winds up captured by divers and taken to live in a dentist's fish tank.
It's up to Marlin to track down his son and bring him home. As he dashes off after the divers' boat he meets Dory, a blue tang with an aggravatingly short memory. Together they set off to Sydney Harbor and the dentist's office. Along the way they run into a group of sharks who belong to a 'Fish are Friends, Not Food' support group, a forest of deadly jellyfish, sea turtles who talk like California surfers, and other miscellaneous finned and feathered comedic creatures. And yes, there's a positive message about friends and family incorporated smoothly into the story but don't worry, it's not saccharine or preachy.
"Finding Nemo" is one of those rare gems that transcends age groups. Kids, teenagers, adults, men, women, fish fans, people with a sense of humor, etc., will find themselves thoroughly entertained by this funny and touching fast-paced film.
And just a word of warning: After watching "Finding Nemo," you'll never look at seagulls the same way again.
"Finding Nemo" was directed by Andrew Stanton (full cast and crew list) and is rated G.