This week, we watched Pixar’s fifth feature film, Finding Nemo, along with Exploring the Reef, which is found on the home video release.
Finding Nemo is one of Pixar’s greatest hits, not to mention one of the most beloved children’s films of all time. Released in 2002, Finding Nemo has gone on to become the best-selling DVD of all time and also, in 2016, inspired the sequel Finding Dory. This film follows the story of overprotective father Marlin and his son, Nemo. However, since they are clownfish living in the ocean, life is often dangerous and Marlon does whatever he can to keep anything from happening to Nemo. When Nemo is taken from him by humans, Marlin meets and befriends a forgetful fish named Dory.
The inspiration for this film came from director Andrew Stanton’s childhood. As a kid, he looked forward to going to the dentist office and seeing the fish in the tank. This became a pivotal plot point in Finding Nemo, as much of the film took place in this setting. In recent years, Pixar has been known as the studio that pulls at our heartstrings with its emotional plots. Finding Nemo was one of the first Pixar films to do that with one of the most heart wrenching opening scenes in all of their history (along with Up). Here we have a wonderful representation of a father-son relationship. The father is dealing with loss and is overprotective and his son rebels against him. This is incredibly true to life, and the best thing about it is that we completely believe it, despite the fact that these are fish. Besides the powerful themes found in the film, we also have stellar voice performances by Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres as Marlin and Dory, respectively. Other voice actors include Geoffrey Rush, Willem Defoe, and Allison Janey. We also get a soaring musical score by Thomas Newman.
On the DVD release, there is a short film titled Exploring the Reef. This is not a Pixar short like the ones we have watched so far, but rather is a short mockumentary on the ocean that was made with the help of Pixar. Featuring the three lead characters from the film, we learn a few facts about the ocean with the help of oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau. This is a needless, mostly unfunny short that exists primarily to spark children’s interest in the study of sea life. For that purpose, it is fine, but for anyone else, it is easily skippable.
On a different note, Pixar debuted the first of their new SparkShorts on their YouTube channel this week. This new short, called Purl, is about discrimination in the workplace and centers on a new employee of a company who, because she is a ball of yarn, doesn’t fit in. This is definitely a Pixar short for today and is one of the only that has swearing in it, which caught me off caught but hopefully parents can be prepared for this. It is a very entertaining short and I am looking forward to see what other SparkShorts we get in the future.
Next week, we will be watching the shorts Boundin’ and Jack-Jack Attack and the film The Incredibles. We will also be watching the cartoon Mr. Incredibles and Pals, which was paired with the home video release of The Incredibles.