The youngster was scooped up near his reef home by some monstrous, two-legged land creature in scuba gear and deposited into a Australian dentist's fish tank, populated by a colorful crew of fellow captives who help little Nemo (voice of Alexander Gould) hatch an escape plan. In the meantime, Marlin -- his fretful father with the perfectly anxiety-ridden intonations of Albert Brooks -- ventures deeper into the deep blue than he has ever dared before, determined to find the boy.
Helped along the way, if "helped" is the word for it, by a dingbat blue tang with short-term memory problems (and the oh-so-apropos voice of Ellen Degeneres), Marlin finds his courage in dangerous adventures (mines and shipwrecks) and discovers friends in the forms of a surfer-dude sea turtle (voiced by Andrew Stanton, the movie's director), an astute pelican (Geoffrey Rush) who becomes his transportation into the dentist's office, and a trio of 12-stepping sharks who are trying to go vegetarian (including future "Hulk" Eric Bana and Barry Humphries, aka "Dame Edna").
Resourceful in its storytelling (the East Australian Current which Marlin must travel is akin to an underwater freeway crossed with a roller coaster) and reliably, steadily hilarious ("Hey, you're a clown fish," observe all the dopier sea critters who meet mopey Marlin. "Tell us a joke!"), "Finding Nemo" is also astounding to look at. Like a fantastical scuba dive, the picture's always-in-motion undersea universe would be downright photo-realistic if Stanton and his animators hadn't dialed up the cartoonishness just enough to give all the fish googly ping-pong-ball eyes.
From the background plankton to the plastic plants in the fish tank to the way the skin on Bruce the shark (named after the mechanical star of "Jaws") jiggles when he laughs, there isn't a single visual detail overlooked in this three-dimensional wonderland. Yet with the film's refreshing originality, rich comedy, occasional heartfelt poignancy and extremely vivid characters, it's easy to forget all about the how and the wow of the cutting-edge animation technology.
In fact you may forget you're watching animation all together. Such is the complete immersion in "Nemo's" world, created by those magnificent Pixar wizards.
Run time: 100 mins
In Theaters: Friday 30th May 2003
Box Office USA: $41.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $864.6M
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Fresh: 236 Rotten: 2
IMDB: 8.2 / 10
Director: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Albert Brooks as Marlin (voice), Ellen DeGeneres as Dory (voice), Alexander Gould as Nemo (voice), Willem Dafoe as Gill (voice), Brad Garrett as Bloat (voice), Allison Janney as Peach (voice), Austin Pendleton as Gurgle (voice), Stephen Root as Bubbles (voice), Vicki Lewis as Deb / Flo (voice), Joe Ranft as Jacques (voice), Geoffrey Rush as Nigel (voice), Andrew Stanton as Crush (voice), Elizabeth Perkins as Coral (voice), Nicholas Bird as Squirt (voice), Bob Peterson as Mr. Ray (voice), Barry Humphries as Bruce (voice), Eric Bana as Anchor (voice), Bill Hunter as Phillip Sherman (voice), Bruce Spence as Chum (voice), LuLu Ebeling as Darla (voice), Jordan Ranft as Tad (voice), Erica Beck as Pearl (voice), Erik Per Sullivan as Sheldon (voice), John Ratzenberger as Fish School (voice)