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Walt Disney and Pixar, 2003

STARING (the voices of):  Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres and Alexander Gould

WRITTEN and DIRECTED by:  Andrew Stanton

SEEN:  Drive in on a Tuesday night for $5.99 a car load  (two movies – but we could not stay awake for the second one even if we did want to see Johnny English).

OVERALL:  This movie was fantastic.  To tell you the truth, I have a soft spot for decent animated features and Stanton (who also did “A Bug’s Life”) did a Great Job with this.  It is an excellent story about a father clown-fish, Marlin, finding his lost son, Nemo.  With a simple plot like that, you would think that the movie might be simple, but it wasn’t.  After all, Stanton has a whole ocean to play in and there are parts of the ocean that we (as humans) have not yet even explored. 

By far the best part of this movie (if you do not count that it was the seamless animation let one wallow in suspended disbelief that allowed anything to be good in this movie) was Ellen DeGeneres.  Now, like many people, I have a kind of love/hate relationship with Ellen but I have to admit that she is a talented lady and here her talents shine.  Of course, it is difficult to tell if the talents that are shining are actually hers or whether they are Stanton’s but, either way, her character won me over immediately and kept me throughout the movie. 

Like most animated films these days, there is a lot of adult comedy involved to keep parents interested.  Unlike many animated films these days, there is not a lot of adult content that we hope children don’t notice.  This movie proves that inside adult joking is not necessary to have a film that is interesting to adults. 

More important, this film shows that there can still be character and plot development in a film without it being intellectual-hooey or downright banal.  Maybe it is because there are no actors but it is nice to see a movie with character development that works. 

As a final warning there are some scary scenes in this movie that might be difficult for kids.  The opening scene, where Marlin’s wife and children (except Nemo) are eaten by another fish (thus setting up how important Nemo is to his dad), might even be difficult on some adults.  Luckily, the light comedy of the rest of the movie soon lets one forget the tragedy that  brought it all about. 

I would highly recommend this movie.

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