The Greatest films of all time: 88. Finding Nemo (2003) (USA)


The science fiction and fantasy that Spielberg and Lucas started in films at the end of the past 20th century, proceeded to more unrealistic fantasies, magic and sorcery in the new 21st century by others with films such as Lord of The rings, Harry Potter and Pirate of the Caribbean that all went to series of franchises like other capitalist commodities. In between from Pixar animation studios that produced the first fully animated film of Toy Story that continued until the most recent fourth edition, came out “Finding Nemo” that was more rational and not stupefying the audience like the others. Moreover the visual beauty of the film electrified the viewers while its heartwarming and at times thrilling story was well absorbed by the children and adults alike.

Andrew Stanton who wrote the story of all Toy Story series, wrote and also directed “Finding Nemo”. With the amazing cinematography of Sharon Calahan and assistant Jeremy Lasky, “Finding Nemo” is an eye-catching visual art of a combination of old style Disney’s colorful cartoons crafted with digital animation. The set location of the story being deep in the ocean with all colorful sea lives under demanded the film to be perfectly vivid and eye pleasing that the makers of this great film achieved. Winner of the Academy Award for Best animated Feature, “Finding Nemo” became the highest grossing animated film and the second highest grossing film of 2003. The film also became the best-selling DVD title of all time selling over 40 million copies.

A Pleasure to the Eyes and Beyond:

“Finding Nemo” is a celebration of the wonderful and colorful life deep in the ocean while telling a tangible story with thrills. A clown fish couple arrive in an ocean neighborhood where they chose it as their new living place. The female lays many eggs with the plan to raise their family there, but a barracuda attack kills and consumes her and all the eggs, except one that the father clown fish, Marlin names Nemo. Nemo grows enough to attend school with the other fishes and sea creatures. On the first day of school, Nemo with his schoolmates when they see a boat, tease each other for who could get close to the boat and touch it that Nemo does and suddenly gets caught in a net by a scuba diver.

Marlin having lost all his family and now the last one Nemo is in captivity, in panic chases the boat, but with no luck and Nemo later on is sold to a dentist in Sydney, Australia and thrown in an aquarium. Marlin in the search of finding Nemo desperately looking and asking around. He runs into a blue fish, Dori who has very short memory and despite her shortcoming, eagerly is trying to help Marlin to find Nemo. In their chase, Marlin sees the mask of the diver that falls in the water and Dori reads an address on it and despite her short memory loss, she knows where the place is. The couple keep swimming and passing through quite many places and adventures, including three sharks, a school of moonfish who make beautiful shapes and help them with the direction by dancing and assembling together. In their chase adventure they encounter a forest of jellyfish that stings them almost to death, but when they wake up from their loss of consciousness from the stings, they find themselves on the east Australian current. Here they meet a sea turtle family who spread the news across the ocean and a pelican named Nigel brings the news of the location of Nemo in the dentist office.

Pictured: Marlin (the father clownfish) takes his son, Nemo, to his first day of school.

Meanwhile the fishes in the dentist’s office aquarium are also trying all to escape including Nemo. One of the fish, Gill has an escape plan and sends Nemo to go through the aquarium filter and jam it with a pebble so the dentist having to put the fishes in a plastic bag while the tank is cleaned, with the hope to jump into the ocean out of the window somehow. Nigel the pelican helps Marlin and Dori to escape from a bunch of wild seagulls who want to eat them, but they are engulfed by a blue whale and when Dori communicates with the whale, he carries them the Sydney Harbour. In the aquarium, Nemo through Nigel finding about his father’s search for him, is encouraged again to attempt for escape after the fish first attempt fails by the dentist buying a new high tech filter. The second time he succeeds, the filter stops and the tank is infested with algae. Nemo pretends to be dead so not to be given to the dentist Darla who is aggressive and might kill him. Finally gill helps Nemo pass through the drain down to the ocean. Marlin thinking the Nemo has died, in grief swims back to his home reef, but Dori finds Nemo alive and they swim back to Marlin the son and father join back together. The film ends with Nemo being back to school and another field trip.

“Finding Nemo” despite being a highly digital animated film, but once again proved that cinema is a visual moving art and should not lose its essence even when computer than camera does most of the work. “Finding Nemo” is a proof of concept that cinema even in its modern digital special effects could create visual pleasure, thrill and awe with more cinematography, music and action. With one of the highest rating of 99% on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes and 90% on Metacritic, “Finding Nemo” has been hailed as one of the best animations of all time.  


In closing remarks “Finding Nemo” one more time will be redefined based on the following criteria:  

  1. Originality: While “Finding Nemo” is not the first totally animated film, but it is the first visually absorbing, with the images under the sea life looking and feeling so real that digital special effects are forgiven for robbing the art of cinema from classic camera work.  
  2. Technicality: The technicality of “Finding Nemo” is in its application of digital animation at a very visual art level to remain in the realm of cinema with its amazing cinematography.
  3. Impact Factor: The influence of “Finding Nemo” has been on many future films afterwards that kept the trend and brought visual beauty back to cinema.
  4. Survival: “Finding Nemo” has survived well to this day for still being fresh, tender, a rarity and still one of the most favourite animated films of the children.


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