Marlin is a red-and-white clownfish at pains to correct the misconception that his species is funny. He can’t tell a joke to save his life and has been a bundle of nerves since his mate and her eggs were eaten. The sole survivor was Nemo who has been kept sheltered in the anemone they call home. In an attempt to break away from his fathers claustrophobic chaperoning Nemo insists on leaving the safety of their home to go to “school”. Whilst on a field trip to the edge of the reef Nemo finds himself in the open ocean, much to the distress of Marlin. Further out to sea and the young clownfish is captured by a diver and transplanted to an ocean-view dentist's office fish tank.
Here he meets Gill, who is desperately plotting a great escape for the inhabitants of the tank with hilarious consequences. Meanwhile, a frantic Marlin overcomes his fear of open water to search for Nemo, helped by his new blue friend Dory.
Then follows the tale of the new acquaintances as they try to locate Nemo in the vast ocean. The plot does often digress from the search for Nemo, but this leads to some of the most comic moments in the film - watch out for the 12-step program for sharks ("Fish are our friends, not food").
The voice cast is highly recognisable and the script capitalises on the actors’ familiar mannerisms. In particular, Brooks’ perennially neurotic, pessimistic tone in the anxious Marlin; DeGeneres’ perky, and somewhat scatty Dory (who suffers from extreme short-term memory loss and regularly has to be reminded of the reasons for her existence). Dafoe is sinister (for an animated fish) in the world-weary yet determined Gill and Rush has an uninhibited enthusiasm for the voice of Nigel the pelican.
As you would expect for a film associated with Disney, there is a thinly veiled life lesson, but this in no way detracts from the beautiful composition achieved by the clever people at Pixar.
Finding Nemo is a wonderful combination of humour, adventure, is utterly charming throughout and demonstrates the superior standard Pixar has set in animated film.
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