Finding Nemo

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:RATED G for Good for Kids
Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres, Willem Dafoe
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

Final Grade:

Upon its release last May, a little film called Finding Nemo went unnoticed by critics. Well, to tell the truth, most critics noticed it, and noticed that it was a movie they would recommend. In fact, of the 172 reviews listed on RottenTomatoes.com, only 2 reported disliking it. The only critics that didn’t seem to notice were the ones on this website. That being said, I admit that our webmaster made a big mistake, and therefore should be punished. But luckily for you, The Mike refuses to let said film go unnoticed, and will bring you his review now.

Finding Nemo, like many other movies, is animated. I generally dislike animated films. I figure if you can’t have real people providing at least some of the action, then it’s ultimately a poor idea for a movie. But a few of them have captured my heart, either through being way too cool in my youth (Transformers: The Movie), through accurately portraying the dream of all hideous creatures like myself (Beauty & The Beast), or through the use of monsters that are cool and really cute little girls that sound like cousins of mine (Monsters, Inc.). That being said, I didn’t have much interest in a story about a fish that loses his son.

Come on people! Why do 99% of cartoon films have to be about kids losing their parents? It’s officially the most overused cliché in the history of film. It’s a firmer rule than “only the virgin survives” or “don’t cut the red wire”. If the movie’s a cartoon, then it in some shape or form will be about children and parents being separated. Finding Nemo took this cliché and ran with it, to the tune of almost 340 million dollars at the box office.

OK, so we fell for it. We should be ashamed. That being said, the film, not surprisingly (even with my aversion to the animated film) is a success. No one in their right mind can say it isn’t, and even those in the wrong mind like myself have to give it props. Director Andrew Stanton creates a truly epic looking film, with sea landscapes and creatures that are more beautiful at times than they could ever be in real life. This is another of my usual beefs with animated films, but in this case it looks too cool to be mad about.

The story is helped along greatly by the voice talents involved, with names like Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres, Willem Dafoe, and Geoffrey Rush chipping in. But the most entertaining voice work probably belongs to Director Stanton, who chimes in as Crush the Sea Turtle and is, for lack of a better term “totally gnarly!”

And yes, the film is as funny as can be, although it falls prey to another animated film shortcoming – the lack of physical humor. Many of the best comedies are enhanced to that level by things like facial expressions and body movements, an art that animated films have yet to perfect. The best explanation for their style I can think of is to call them “cartoonish”, but that’d just be stupid to use as an insult.

But the key to gauging these negative things lies in one question: Would Finding Nemo work as a live action film? The answer is a flat out no, and therefore I must admit that Finding Nemo is both an animated film and a good film. It’s funny, it’s good looking, and it’s got a lot of heart. It’s not a masterpiece, and if I’d have written this review the weekend of its release I would have lowered its grade for not even being the best film of the weekend. But it’s a film that’s enjoyable for both kids and adults, and there’s nothing bad I can say about that. So yeah…I admit it. I recommend Finding Nemo.

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