tek's rating: ½

Finding Nemo (G)
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This came out in 2003, but I didn't see it until 2016, a couple days after the theatrical release of the sequel, Finding Dory. (The day I watched it also happened to be Father's Day, which I think is appropriate, considering the movie is basically about a father's love for his son.) In theaters, the movie was preceded by a Pixar short called Knick Knack, which I first saw on the "Finding Nemo" DVD after I watched the movie.

So... there are a couple of clownfish, Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his wife, Coral (Elizabeth Perkins), who are waiting for their eggs to hatch. And then... tragedy strikes, and Marlin is left as a single father, raising a single baby fish on his own. He names his son Nemo, a name Coral had chosen, before.... Anyway, the story flashes forward to Nemo's first day of school. Marlin is incredibly overprotective, for obvious reasons. But Nemo is determined to prove he's ready to be bolder than his father has let him be, up til now. Unfortunately, this leads him to take a foolish risk, and he ends up getting caught by a diver. After that, Marlin sets out to find and rescue Nemo. He meets a blue tang fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), who suffers from short term memory loss. This leads to comedy for viewers, and frustration for Marlin, but she ultimately does prove useful in helping him look for Nemo. And as they search, they become friends. (They also face a lot of dangers.) Meanwhile, Nemo finds himself in a fish tank at a dentist's office, in Sydney, Australia. He meets several fish who already live there. Most of them came from pet stores, but one of them, Gill (Willem Dafoe), is from the ocean, and has an escape plan. The aquarium fish are also friends with a pelican named Nigel, who eventually hears stories about Marlin searching for Nemo, and relates that to Nemo and his new friends. He'll also eventually help try to reunite father and son.

And that's all I want to say about the plot. But the movie is awesome on a number of levels. It's genuinely scary at several points, and there's a lot of humor, a lot of drama, and just... a lot of feels. And it's all very clever, with several unexpected twists. And while Dory is mostly comic relief, she's actually rather (unwittingly) wise in a few spots, as well as lending some unexpected pathos to the already pathos-heavy plot. Of course, there is a happy ending, but it's extraordinarily well-earned. And I don't know what else to say, except that now I'm really eager to see the sequel. (And I wasn't disappointed.)

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