The great animator Chuck Jones, who was responsible
for many of the best Looney Tunes cartoons and created the Road Runner
and Pepé LePew, was often asked about his intended audience.
His cartoons were very mature in a lot of ways, and had jokes that young
children never understood. But they also had a lot of general silliness
that the youngsters loved. Whenever Chuck was asked if he was making
his cartoons for the adults in the audience or the kids, he always replied
"I was making them for me." That is the reason so many of the cartoons
he worked on are considered classics. He wasn't trying to guess what
his audience wanted. He just tried to make something that he found
entertaining. And it worked.
I suspect that the creative forces at Pixar do
the same thing. All of their movies are marketed for children, but
there are a lot of elements that keep adults interested and entertained.
Whatever their mindset, it works. Pixar has churned out movie after
movie that has pleased youngsters and their parents. Meaningful movies
that haven't insulted anyone's intelligence by hitting you over the head
with the message, and are a lot of fun to watch.
is no exception. Their most ambitious project yet, Nemo is the tale
of Marlin, a clownfish living in an anemone. Soon before their brood
of eggs are to hatch, Marlin's wife and all but one egg are eaten by a
barracuda. Marlin promises this last egg that he will never allow
anything to happen to him.
Time passes, and the egg hatches and grows up
into a fine little fish, Nemo. On Nemo's first day of school he gets
frustrated by the fact his father is so overprotective and swims away from
the protection of the reef to see a boat. Nemo gets captured by a
diver while his father watches. The rest of the film is Marlin's
journey to find his son, aided by Dory who has a VERY short memory, and
Nemo's attempts to escape from the aquarium he finds himself in.
This film is beautiful to watch. The underwater
scenes look very natural, it feels as if you are on a coral reef.
The sun filters through the water and plays on the sand a coral making
highlights and shadows. The anemones sway with the movement of the
water, the attention to detail is amazing. The fish and other sea
creatures move in a very realistic fashion when swimming.
The story is excellent too. It is very humorous
and also touching without being sappy. The narrative flows naturally
and easily. There are a few edgy moments, but nothing too intense
for small children.
There are several jokes that were put in just
for the older audience members. From references to Beatles songs
and The Shining to Dory asking "What is it about men an asking directions?"
there are a lot of places where the adults will smile even if the children
A great film for the whole family, or just the
adults who want something light yet entertaining.
This THX certified two DVD set is the standard
that other special edition DVDs should strive for. Excellent in every
As with the video, the audio quality is simply
top rate. The only audio option for viewing the movie is Dolby
Digital 5.1. (English, Spanish, and French subtitles are available.)
There is a commentary track, but you can not switch between the movie sound
track and the commentary while watching the movie. (See the section
on extras.) Unfortunately, there is not a DTS audio track.
Though I would have liked one, the DD 5.1 does an excellent job, and I
assume the DTS was left off for reasons of space. (This is one full
This movie has a wonderful sound to it, and the
DVD reproduces this faithfully. You can clearly hear the crisp string
section and the low deep tubas in the music. Your subwoofer gets
a good workout in a few parts too. But not only are the loud parts
impressive, but the more subtle sound effects and incidental music are
too. The sound of Bruce the shark smiling is wonderfully menacing,
and easy to discern.
The best part of the audio though, is that it
immerses you in this undersea world. There is excellent use of the
rear channels. They are at an appropriate level and blend seamlessly
with the front speakers. From the whale songs, to the crashing of
the waves and the incidental music, the sound envelopes you.
The movie is presented in widescreen on disc one
and P&S on disc two. Both versions are gorgeous. The picture
quality of this DVD is absolutely stunning. A reference quality disc.
The edges are crisp and clean. The colors are bright and vivid.
When Marlin and Nemo are swimming through the reef, you can see the myriad
of colors of all the fish and coral as clear as day. Vibrant and
flashy this is delightful eye candy. Later when Marlin swims out
to the sunken submarine, the colors get darker. There are different
hues of dark blue, brown, and dark green. They make everything look
realistic and set the mood accurately. Throughout the movie, the
blacks are dark black, and the transition form dark to light is made smoothly
and cleanly without large differences in color as is often seen in animation.
Pixar paid a lot of attention to details too.
If you look closely, there are numerous instances where they have taken
the trouble to animate objects that they could have easily skipped.
The seaweed growing on the mines floats and sways. When Dory is talking
to Marlin, you can see his reflection dancing on her eyes. They even
had light reflecting off of individual scales on the fish. It's little
things that make you realize how much work was put into this production.
An absolutely beautiful transfer.
I usually don't talk about the menus on a DVD
too much, but these deserve their own section. Pixar, again, whet
to a lot of effort to make entertaining menus. On the first disc
they are all animated scenes from the sea, and on the second discs they
are from the aquarium in the dentist's office. The beautiful scenes
have humorous voice overs by the characters from the movie. My kids
were laughing so hard at the menus, they wanted to let the audio loop over
so they could hear it again before we even started the movie.
When you make a selection, there is a very short
animated sequence that takes you to the submenu. These interstitial
sequences are often funny to, one of them including more of Mr. Ray's singing.
This set is simply packed with extras, hours worth
of information about this movie.
1 minute intro to the movie buy the creators. Make sure you watch
for John Lasseter in the background hamming it up.
A 25 minute documentary that is much more than a fluff piece. Informative
and entertaining documentary on different aspects of the movie's creation.
Commentary with video clips: This
was very interesting. The commentary track was with directors Andrew
Stanton and Lee Unkrich and writer Bob Peterson. At certain moments
in the film, a video clip is inserted that illustrates how certain scenes
were done or effects achieved. These clips total over 30 minutes
of extra video, all of it informative. These clips talk about
such things as how difficult it is to model underwater explosions, and
show the progression of animation anemone tendrils.
The commentary itself is very entertaining and
interesting, as all of Pixar's commentary's have been in the past.
When the inevitable lull in the conversation arrives, they fill the time
with a joke or two. At one point one of them opens a bag of chips
and starts loudly munching on them, much to the chagrin of the other two
participants. This is a nice way to breach the quite parts that most
Design Galleries: Four in all, with
subsets for Art, Characters, Environment and Color Script. The first
one has an optional commentary. The most impressive is the last gallery
that contains over 300 images that were used to determine the colors and
lighting for the movie. The images are shown automatically, so you
don't have to press the "next" button on your remote. A very nice set.
Seven different ones are included on the first disc. These
are animated scenes that loop so you can put them on your TV and it looks
like a window onto the sea. There are sound effects and music playing
over them through all five speakers, enveloping the watcher in sound.
My only wish was that these were available on the disc as a screen savers
for your PC. They look much better than any of the other aquarium
savers I have seen.
Exploring the Reef: A seven minute documentary
narrated by Jean-Michel Cousteau. And frequently interrupted by Dory.
A hilarious short that Pixar made in 1989. This was shown before
Finding Nemo during Nemo's theatrical release.
Mr. Ray's Encyclopedia:
A short, humorous look at the different types of fish that appear in Finding
Nemo with the movie's own ichthyologist, Mr. Ray.
A game where a school of fish make a figure, and you have to guess what
it is. Narrated by Crush, with occasional comments by Dory.
It was a little long, but mildly entertaining.
A read-a-long version of Nemo
Behind the Scenes: Two promotional
videos and seven trailers.
Virtual Aquariums: Four more virtual
aquariums with scenes from the dentist's office. As with the aquariums
on the first disc, these are very nice.
All in all, great selection of extras.
Every aspect of this production is high class. Great sound and
audio, wonderful menus and chocked full of extras. Add to that a
very good movie, and you have a paradigm of how to put together a DVD.