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The History of "Finding Nemo"
Winner of the 2004 Academy Award fro Best Animated Film and currently the highest grossing "G" rated film at the box office, "Finding Nemo" pushed the animation boundaries with it's gorgeous under water scenes and colorful sea life. Inspired by director Andrew Stanton's childhood memories of fish tanks in dentist offices, growing up by the sea, a trip to an aquarium as an adult and his own experiences being a father, of the many themes found in the film, the ones dealing with parenthood and letting children learn to do things on their own were the ones that Stanton wanted to hit home the most with his audience.
"Finding Nemo" was once again a big step for Pixar as it was the second time a director at Pixar that was not John Lasseter made a Pixar film and it was the first time Randy Newman didn't score the film. Respected film composer, and cousin of Randy Newman, Thomas Newman took over the reigns for scoring this Pixar film. "Finding Nemo" had the amazing voice talents of funny woman Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, fellow comedian Albert Brooks as Marlin, Willem Defoe (Spider-Man, Born on the Forth of July) as Gill and "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Brad Garrett in his second Pixar role as Bloat.
Sad side effects
The film lead to a mass of clown fish suddenly being desired as pets in the US. This proved to be an issue for many as saltwater aquariums needed to house clown fish are notably tricky and expensive to maintain. As well, there were problems with children "freeing" their pet fish by flushing them down the toilet after the film came out. But maybe the most positive outcome from the film was that tourism in Australia increased dramatically after the film came out.
My thoughts on "Nemo"
Watching this film again reminded me how funny it was when I first saw it opening day in Santa Monica, CA. I'll never forget the children coming out of the theater yelling "mine, mine, mine, mine." It makes me smile just thinking about it. I also remember how amazed I was by the complexity of the under water world Pixar had created. From "Toy Story" to "Monsters Inc." there had been some amazing animation boundaries pushed, but this took the cake! How realistic the water looked. I was even more blown away when I watched the extras on the DVD later and found out originally they REALLY had it look realistic. Parts of this film felt like watching a nature documentary, it was that realistic.
Then there was the story, which is more of a series of episodic stories strung along together to tell a complete story arc, but it didn't feel as tight as past Pixar film did to me. Don't get me wrong, I loved it "Finding Nemo," but as much as I hate to admit it, there were a few moments I started to get bored with it. I almost feel bad admitting that, kin d of jumping a head, I had the same problems with "Wall-E." Both were directed by Andrew Stanton who I think based upon both films loves to create lush, pictures moments and deep canvases for the various characters to explore. However, possible focus on those aspects more then he should and can sometimes loose more of the audience then most Pixar films normally do. But his films possibly also have more depth and heart then normal Pixar fare. That is saying a lot when you keep in mind the depth and heart found in Buzz and Woody's relationship in the "Toy Story" films, the relationship between Boo and Sulley in "Monster's Inc." and the one found in "Up" between Carl and Russell.
But despite all of that, it also gave us some of the most loved and cherished of the Pixar charterers as well as maybe the most quoted Pixar film. In the summer of 2003, it wasn't so odd to hear people saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." or "Dude, you so totally ROCK!" or hear people try to talk whale. What is even more impressive is how much those saying are still used today. I just heard a a few months ago at this school I worked at one of the students reply to another who wanted to give up on something, "Just keep swimming." And it's not so uncommon to see stickers or stuffed toys for Dory, Nemo or Crush all over the place. "Finding Nemo" defiantly has a place in our hearts and minds even seven years later. And I suspect that will not be changing anytime soon.