“Finding Nemo” (2003) written and directed by Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich, is the story of a father-son underwater adventure featuring Nemo, a boy clownfish, stolen from his coral reef home. His timid father must then travel to Sydney and search Sydney Harbour to find Nemo. Animated feature-length films have carved a niche in American culture as a viable and enduring art form. Animated films have offered a glimpse into another world that often could not be shown by any other filmmaking means.
Finding Nemo’s computer-generated ocean is full of animated characters that are an absolute blast. There is some real-world scenery, but the incredible graphics make it hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. Disney/Pixar brings to life an ocean full of funny marine life, like forgetful Dory, and Bruce the shark with his buddies, Chum and Anchor. There are these, like, totally cool hang ten turtles that are the raddest bunch of surfer dudes in the ocean. The animation in Finding Nemo is excellent; you would expect nothing less from Pixar.
The scenery is dominated by bright blue ocean colors and colourful fish. The animation used cutting edge technology in the production of the movie, which was released in 2003 and the results still delight to this day. Even now when you look back at it, it is still of a very high standard. The animators at Pixar Animation Studios were expected to scuba dive as part of the preparation and production. This enabled them to understand how light is reflected underwater, and to see the interaction of the ocean’s inhabitants for themselves.
The experience then translated beautifully onto the screen through their realistic portrayal of Nemo’s world. Nemo’s underwater masterpieces in my opinion are the greatest achievement in animation. During Marlin’s journey we see one of animation’s most visibly stunning scenes ever, the Jellyfish. As Marlin and Dory approach the trench, Marlin decides to swim over to it against the advice Dory shared and quickly forgot. As they swim over the trench, thousands of jellyfish descend into the shot. I was blown away.
I found myself staring at what appeared to be a Discovery Channel special on underwater life. (To think I was playing Frogger just 20 years ago and computers can now do this! ) The visual design is a wonder. It’s absolutely astonishing how the folks at Pixar are able to top themselves with each new movie. This is an excellent achievement in computer animation. While Disney/Pixar has redefined animation in the past with Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, and Monsters, Inc. Now, Pixar is just showing off with Nemo.