Reviewed by: Megan Basham
importance of listening to your parents instruction—otherwise trouble and danger follows
Although you may be different from your peers (as Nemo had an unusually small fin), you can still succeed.
understanding why parents are sometimes overprotective
fish in the Bible
Animals in the Bible
Albert Brooks … Marlin (voice)
Ellen DeGeneres … Dory (voice)
Alexander Gould … Nemo (voice)
Willem Dafoe … Gill (voice)
Geoffrey Rush … Nigel (voice)
Eric Bana … Anchor (voice)
Stephen Root … Bubbles (voice)
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Lee Unkrich (co-director)
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
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|Distributor||Buena Vista Pictures|
“There are 3.7 trillion fish in the ocean; they’re looking for one.”
Sequel: “Finding Dory” (2016)
Seventy-one percent of the Earth is covered in water. 3.7 trillion fish live in that water. As our story opens, one of them gets lost…
Marlin Clownfish (Albert Brooks) and his wife Coral (Elizabeth Perkins) are living the great fishy dream: They have a house in an upscale barrier reef, a beautiful view of the expanding sea, and 400.5 little fishlings on the way. Life seems perfect. That is until a hungry barracuda wipes out Marlin’s entire family, leaving him desolate, alone, and single parent to one surviving little egg, Nemo. The tragedy takes its toll on Marlin, and his vow to “never let anything happen to Nemo” causes him to become a neurotic and overprotective, if well intentioned, father. In his desire to shield Nemo, he even tries to keep his son from starting school and embarrasses him in front of all the other slimy little ones of the sea. Naturally, Nemo resents this suffocating love, and in an act of defiance, swims out beyond the safety of the reef and gets scooped up by a scuba diver’s waiting net.
Devastated by yet another loss, Marlin resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the boat speeding away with his son. And so to aid him on his mission (or at least to keep him company), he teams up with Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a dingy, ADD-afflicted blue tang with a cheerful demeanor and major short-term memory problem. Their quest isn’t easy… Not only do they encounter poisonous jellyfish, sunken subs, and World War II mines, they also run into the local chapter of Sharks Anonymous, a support group whose mantra is “Fish are friends, not food.” This might be fine, except it seems the twelve-steppers have a tendency to fall off the wagon…
Like other Pixar releases before it, “Finding Nemo” is a visually breathtaking film. In fact, with its ethereal scenes of dreamlike floating jelly-fish and murky, sleepy-eyed whales, it actually outpaces it predecessors. But outstanding as the aquatic graphics are, it isn’t the watery backdrop that sets this film apart from the rest of the kiddie fare—rather, it’s the hilarious dialogue and family-friendly story line.
“Finding Nemo” features several principles that would make for great discussion between parents and kids. For one thing, while it’s true that Marlin was being unfair, by disobeying him, Nemo put himself in harm’s way and landed in a dentist’s fish tank. Had he listened to his father, he could have avoided a lot of pain. Conversely, though the story is simple, parents get a reminder that there is such a thing as too much involvement in their children’s lives—at some point you have to let them sink or swim. Finally, as Marlin risks fin and scale for the love of his son, you might draw a parallel for your children of all that God risked because of His love for us.
This is not to say that “Finding Nemo” is weighed down by a lot of heavy-handed morals. Actually, DeGeneres and her fellow comedic cold-bloods are such a riot, you might even miss them. From surfer-dude turtles to Hitchcockian seagulls, there’s plenty of jokes only older ticket-holders will get. And though they might go kicking and screaming, my bet is that teenagers will enjoy it as well (just don’t ask them to admit it!). As summer movies go, this one’s packed to the gills with family fun!
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.