Saturday, March 20, 2010

finding nemo

This is Finding Nemo. When you head off to the latest Pixar feature, you expect astonishingly fluid animation, dazzling dimensional detail, a rollicking pace that's a little too kinetic for small kids (maybe a little too kinetic for Indiana Jones movies), and a script packed with vaudeville-esque patter and "in" jokes (many aimed at grown-ups but, given the alarming pop-culture savvy of small children, probably understood by all but the youngest tots). You also expect the usual Disney homilies and characters suitable for fast-food tie-ins and merchandising. What you might not expect is the sheer, eye-popping beauty of Finding Nemo (Disney/Pixar). It turns out that Pixar does fish like nobody does fish.

And that's not anthropomorphized fish, either. True, the hero, a clown fish called Marlin, has the unmistakable needy cadences of Albert Brooks. But he's not some Charlie the Tuna/Hollywood type with fins. He's phosphorescent orange with white stripes, and his fin-flutters manage to be at once emotionally expressive and, well, deeply fishlike. And let me tell you about the turtles, the whales, the jellyfish, the pelicans—not to mention the coral reef that seems every bit as alive as the rest of the characters.

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