Finding Nemo

A

This movie has been out for a while but it's still doing great business. That tells me that a lot of people really like this. I had the chance to take my 10-year-old nephew this weekend and he certainly didn't mind sitting through it again even though he's seen much more grown up movies like Jurassic Park and Planet of the Apes.

I thought the characters here were great. The father, voiced by Albert Brooks, is appropriately over-protective and paranoid but overcomes all fear in order to save his son. His sidekick (voiced by Ellen Degeneres who brings real emotion when needed), not just a wisecracking piece of comic relief, but a nearly equal partner teaches him some important lessons. The son is another great character who does some real growing up while he fends for himself. There are also any number of other good characters who come and go (e.g. Willem Dafoe who my nephew figured out was the Green Goblin; I wonder how Mr. Dafoe feels about that). This took thought and good writing.

The animation is very good. While the main characters are pretty much basic cartoon animation, there are some really good backgrounds and other fish who make you realize this is a highly polished production. The action scenes are not overly busy or frantic like in Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc.

There is also some very good humor and the Ellen Degeneres character's short-term memory problem is a great device that serves up both obstacles, rewards, and plenty of gags. There is some danger and tragedy here as well that will be tough for some kids, but gives the movie a certain edge and serves the plot. Although it is handled well, I'm not sure it belongs in a movie marketed to 5-year-olds.

I can see how some would say the story drags as they go from episode to episode, but I was never bored. As the story switches back and forth between the father's story and the son's you never get tired of either. Overall I think they pack a lot in to a fairly short movie and looking back it seems longer than it really was which says to me that there was a lot of substance.

This is a very good movie and I have no problem giving it an A.