Finding Nemo 3D ReviewSeptember 20, 2012
Nearly every single one of Pixar’s films have had a huge impact on moviegoers worldwide, but most have yet to match the achievement that is Finding Nemo. Grossing nearly $900 million worldwide in ticket sales, garnering extremely positive reviews (it currently holds a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, it would be an understatement to say that Finding Nemo was a huge success. However, despite all of its notoriety, it has never been released on Blu-ray, which I personally found strange considering that it was Pixar’s most financially successful film up until the release of Toy Story 3 (the first animated film to gross over $1 billion). Now it is set to be released on Blu-ray this December, and when I learned that Finding Nemo would also be returning to theaters in 3D it made sense to me. I mean, what better to reintroduce a well-received film such as this then bring it back to theaters? In that sense, not only will I be briefly sharing some thoughts on Finding Nemo in this review, but I will also be discussing its new 3D transfer. In the end, is it worth returning to the sea to witness Marlin find Nemo in glossy 3D?
If you are one of the few deprived people who has yet to see this film, Finding Nemo is Pixar’s fifth animated feature, and it is the story of a clownfish named Marlin and his son Nemo. Due to a tragic event that happens literally in the beginning film, Marlin becomes extremely overprotective of his son who is about to go to school for the first time. Of course, his worst fears are realized when a diver takes Nemo away on a speedboat and drives away with Marlin in pursuit. He fails to catch the boat in time, and then he goes on a journey to find his son and learn to become a better father in the process. Now, to put it plainly, Finding Nemo is one of those films that I have always loved and revered but I watched it so much growing up that I just didn’t care for it anymore. In other words, before it seeing this weekend I probably hadn’t seen it in a few years (maybe even more, I’m not entirely sure). However, when I saw it, I was reminded of how awesome it is, and I was surprised that I actually appreciate more now that I’m now much older.
When I reviewed Brave earlier this year, one of the things I focused on (certainly a positive point) was that it actually turned out to be quite an emotional story about a mother-daughter relationship. I also remember comparing that film to this one, and for good reason. While still a very adventurous and fun film, Finding Nemo is oftentimes a full-blown drama in the many questions it raises about relationships and family. In fact, it seems like every Pixar film touches on the importance of family and friends to some extent, but this film does that more than perhaps any of the other films, and it definitely shows because the relationship between Nemo and Marlin is one of the driving forces behind the story. Strangely enough, its story has the ability to teach different lessons to kids and adults alike, while also being a sheer joy to watch all the same.
If not for the nearly-perfect screenplay, Finding Nemo probably wouldn’t have worked; but it does, and I applaud Andrew Stanton and the other members of the writing team with crafting such a great film. The script perfectly balances genius humor, drama, thoughtful quotes, memorable characters and emotion, but everything feels natural too. The reason why this film is so funny is because of how subtle the humor is, and everything is witty and perfectly timed as well. Oh, and did I mention that the script is funny for both kids and adults, maybe even more so for the older folks? Yeah, there’s even an awesome reference to The Shining in the script. I already touched on the drama, but let’s just say that when mixed with the comedy the dramatic aspect of this film helps make this a powerful experience unlike most animated films. And to briefly mention the characters, this film is probably second to the Toy Story trilogy in showcasing Pixar’s ability in creating characters and actually giving them personality, because there are too many memorable characters to count here.
I can understand that most people are probably disillusioned with this film after hearing it being played in their houses for the hundredth time, but it’s still impossible to deny that the story of Finding Nemo is something that everyone must experience, for it is quite an amazing one indeed. Not only that, Finding Nemo is an astounding treat for the eyes and ears. I’ll talk more about the visuals in the next paragraph to coincide with my thoughts on the new 3D transfer, but I must say that this is a fantastic film simply to listen to. It’s nearly impossible to describe how meticulously designed the sound effects are; let’s just say that Finding Nemo sounds every bit like a film based in the ocean should. Along with that, the voice cast is excellent, while Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres are standouts because in my opinion, their performances as Marlin are Dory are some of the best ever recorded.
Had Howard Shore not composed the perfect, Oscar-winning music for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (released the same year as this film), I would have personally chosen Thomas Newman as the recipient for the Oscar for Best Original Score since his score is one of the key reasons why the story hits so hard. Basically, the music is implemented so perfectly into the story that every piece reflects the mood and emotions that accompany each scene, and the music itself is often so beautiful that I felt like shedding a tear or two.
And now for the part of this review that really matters: how does Finding Nemo fare in 3D? I have to say that it is actually the best 3D re-release of 2012, and it is definitely one of the best-looking 3D films I have ever seen. One wouldn’t expect an animated film nearly a decade old to be such an impressive showcase of 3D technology, but it truly is. The reason why this is so is because of Andrew Stanton’s direction, because the camera work (if you can call it that) uses depth and scene establishment in a way that makes this film unexpectedly immersive to watch in 3D. In other words, cinema geeks like myself will enjoy watching this in 3D (I’m not joking) because the transfer helped me notice Pixar’s mastery at framing shots, which as one might imagine are dang good shots indeed. Thankfully, Pixar’s animation for this film has held up extremely well, so Finding Nemo is simply a great-looking film to begin with. Colors jump of the screen in 3D as well, and the transfer was bright and watchable in the theater I saw this at, so rest assured Finding Nemo is a great film to see in 3D. It’s not without its flaws, because there were some scenes in which the film went from being dark to extremely bright in a matter of seconds, and my eyes were very stressed by such visual transitions. Nonetheless, Finding Nemo is one of the best 3D experiences I’ve ever had. However, the 3D itself is not the reason to see Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo is an animated film that is essential for all moviegoers, for it is that rare mix of perfectly balanced humor, characters, visuals, voice acting and emotional storytelling. If you haven’t experienced this cinematic masterpiece, there is no better time than now; whether or not it be in the theatres or when it comes to Blu-ray this December, you simply need to see Finding Nemo. It’s just that great.