As I’m writing this, Finding Nemo is just behind “Spiderman” for the title of the fastest selling DVD of all time. Most likely, it will eclipse the superheroís epic within the next few days. Thankfully, this is certainly a disc that’s worthy of a space on everyoneís DVDshelf, but this is still a 2-disc set aimed at the kiddies so true film fanatics are left on the curb.
Finding Nemo follows the story of Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), an overprotective father (for good reason considering the films traumatic opening moments) of Nemo. When Nemo is taken by a diver, Marlin goes on a quest that could only happen in a Disney film. Along the way, viewers are introduced to countless memorable characters, the most prevalent being Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a fish with a serious short term memory problem.
Any fan of Pixars other animated films will feel right at home here. The same sense of humor that permeated Toy Story and a Bugs Life is still present though the jokes are a bit spread out for the first hour compared to their previous films. With about 30 minutes to go, the movie really begins to pick up speed and the jokes really start to fly. It’s entertaining throughout, but nothing can match the final chapters.
By far, this is the best looking CG film released yet. The water effects are impossible to describe, lighting is gorgeous, and once Australia is revealed for the finale you’ll swear it’s all real. This set provides a digital-to-digital transfer that is possibly even better than the previous Pixar discs. The colors are stunning in the reef and this a great way to show off a new TV. Even when the movie begins to take on a darker tone, you’ll never catch any grain or compression issues. The full frame version included on disc 2 has been reformatted so you don’t miss anything if you choose to watch the film in this manner, but the widescreen print seems much less crammed and of better overall quality.
5.1 EX is the order of the day, and the water creates some surreal moments. The bass during some of the crashing water segments is strong enough to impress even those with a weaker system and the rears are used generously throughout. Scenes occurring inside the aquarium really make viewers feel what it would be like to be inside a glass rectangle, filter sounds and all.
As a 2-disc set, there’s a ton of stuff to do and play around with. Disc one is for the film buff with tons of behind the scene art, a slew of deleted scenes (none of which were finished sadly), a nice yet brief 28 minute making-of (which really shows how much work these guys do in a film like this.…everyone had to become certified divers before they could start working!), and a few easter eggs. The “virtual aquarium” feature is an interesting idea, but the execution is seriously lacking. Each of the discs contains a different one, but the video used is grainy and boring. Most don’t even feature fish!
Disc 2 is all about the little ones. The “Fisharades” game, while a novel idea, seems to have no end. There’s a nice piece featuring Jean-Michael Casteau and characters from the film that teaches kids about the coral reefs. There’s some fantastic footage to be had here and it’s an interesting watch even for the older crowd. The short film “Knick Knack” is priceless, easily one of the best Pixar has ever made. Scary since it came out in the late 80’s. There’s an tour of the studios that teach kids the basics of the animation process which is quite informative if you’ve never seen this done before. There’s a ton more to explore on this disc and it will keeps kids busy for some time.
Sadly, nearly all of the features reside on disc 2 and people looking for more hardcore information are left out. The introduction on disc 1 says they had an actual director take over the helm for the documentary, but there’s hardly enough here to show how these films really get made. I think any fan would love to see some of the more stressful moments: Making deadlines, screening footage, animation screw-ups, more “how can we do this segments,” etc. Also, though I’m not one to usually gripe about packaging, it’s very irrupting to have an advertisement stuck to the front of my DVD’s. Seriously, is the offer for Dole bananas going to have an effect on your purchasing decision? Yes, it does peel off easily, but it’s annoying nonetheless.
If there’s one thing that shows through in each of Pixars films, it’s how much fun these guys have making these movies. They have created what seems like one of the most enjoyable places to work in the US and it really shows in the final product. Finding Nemo isn’t the best film they’ve put out in their relatively short time, but it’s right up there at the top. My only hope is that their next film gives older viewers more choices or more detailed information.
Originally posted on Breaking Windows.