Finding Nemo [Retro Viewing]

Lissa: Okay, okay. So Finding Nemo isn’t exactly the most cult-like flick out there. I mean, Pixar has its devotees, and many of them are even over the age of ten, but still. It doesn’t quite count as cult, even with the quirky humor and the geek homages. And if you’re going for geek, Finding Nemo is probably one of the least geeky – certainly less than The Incredibles or Monsters, Inc. But – and any parents out there reading will totally get this – I have seen it over twenty times now thanks to a toddler who adores the fish, and darn it, I’d like to be intellectually engaged during at least one viewing.

And so, without further ado, Finding Nemo.

4:00: I start the movie. I have to admit, I’ve come to agree with Sue about Disney’s gratuitous violence towards parents. I mean, I don’t consider myself super over protective, but I really don’t want to explain parents dying and never coming back to my two year old, thanks. (The one movie I still maintain the on-screen death was a necessity was The Lion King.

Despite my wanting to avoid parent death, Ducklet promptly asks me “what’s he (Marlin) crying for?” I’d like to note this is the first time he’s ever done this. Psychic powers, much? I answer “he’s very sad” and fortunately, that seems to suffice. We then move on to the egg. (I’ve been informed that both Ducklet and T2 hatched from eggs. While you could make a case for this technically being true, it’s news to me.)

6:04: Nemo is cute, but it alarms me that his voice actor is Alexander Gould, the kid who plays Shane Botwin in Weeds. (Hearing Nemo talk about alternative uses for banana peels is really disturbing, trust me.)

Incidentally, there’s quite the Weeds connection here. Aside from Alexander Gould, Albert Brooks (Marlin), Allison Janey (Peach), and Elizabeth Perkins (Coral) all appear on Weeds. Ironically, no one associated with Crush does.

7:18: Sea turtles and sharks. What subtle foreshadowing.

7:43: I find it pleasantly surprising that it’s a trio of dads who are dropping their kids off at school, instead of the fish equivalent of soccer moms.

9:13: “I’m obnoxious!” I love that line.

9:20: Heh. Mr. Ray’s songs. We went to the aquarium a few weeks ago, and were watching the stingrays when a dad in front of us started singing the songs word-for-word. It’s a comfort to know I’m not the only one who’s seen this a million times.

10:00: I can’t say anemone, either.

10:52: It would have made that “Ponyboy” comment really funny if C. Thomas Howell (the guy in The Outsiders) voiced the seahorse.

12:22: “That’s a pretty big butt.” Heh. Guess who the target audience for that joke is.

13:21: “I hate you.” Ouch. That always sucks.

13:30: “I am a scientist.” “Back off man! I’m a scientist!” I really love being a geek.

14:45 The divers really are pretty creepy. Ducklet observes that one of the divers is the dentist. We’re in spoiler territory here, folks.

16:00: Marlin’s panic really is heartbreaking. Even more so that I have kids. It is amazing how much more any sort of story like this affects you, because the idea that it could happen to your kid, who is now not just a nebulous idea but a face and a voice and a pair of arms around your neck… yeah. It breaks you. I read a very nice quote (ooh – found it – thanks Google!):

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.”

Finding Nemo so epitomizes that, and for all that Marlin is a total helicopter parent and meant to be laughable, I just can’t laugh too hard at him. It’s too easy to imagine how I’d feel.

17:28: I’ve seen this movie who knows how many times, and I’ve got to tell you, Dory just doesn’t get old. I thought she would, but she’s so cute and peppy and funny – she cracks me up every single time. Ellen DeGeneres is awesome.

18:40: Ducklet gleefully exclaims, “A shark!”, like he’s excited to see it. Obviously, these are not my genes at work here.

19:36: Goth balloons, right?

20:00: Anchor is voiced by Eric Bana. I always find that funny, since I think of Eric Bana as a period or superhero actor. It always cracks me up – especially in animated films – when someone takes such an atypical (to what they’ve previously played, anyway) part.

20:30: The Pledge and the twelve-step program absolutely crack me up. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

21:47: “Denial.” Seriously – this whole part is just absolute brilliance.

22:00: Poor Marlin can’t tell a joke to save his life. It’s a neat character trait, really – I quite like it. This running gag amuses me to no end, along with Dory constantly forgetting Nemo’s name.

23:09: The trick with Bruce’s eyes when he smells the blood is pretty neat. Sharks still completely creep me out, though.

23:58: Es-cap-eh. Seriously, Dory gets all the best lines. Well, except for the sharks. “Intervention!”

24:52: “Swim away! Swim away!” Hee hee. I love Monty Python references in a kids’ movie.

25:50: At Petco, a clown fish runs $14.99. A yellow tang like Bubbles there goes for $39.99. And an angel fish like Gill goes for around $63. Don’t ask me how I know this.

27:13: Deb talking to flo just… seriously, that Weeds connection? I think sometimes it goes beyond the actors, here. Whoever came up with that must have been smoking something pretty good.

27:41: The fish talking fluently in dental jargon is such a great example of adult humor in kids’ films that isn’t “adult” humor, heh heh heh. Ducklet totally doesn’t get it, but I’m cracking up every time.

28:35: You know, I like the fat the dentist isn’t Mr. Evil. I mean, he shouldn’t be giving fish to Darla after the first time she killed one, but hey – he keeps his fish fed and safe and clean, and except for Gill and Nemo, there’s a very good chance that most of his critters were bred in captivity, given the fact they were all bought. The dentist is sort of the bad guy, but he really isn’t that bad. At least he doesn’t cut their heads off and eat their brains or anything.

29:00: Oooh, Gill’s entrance. Willem Dafoe as a fish. It’s amazing how much they can make a fish look like the actual voice actor.

31:07: “Yes, I’m a natural blue.” My point about Dory getting the best lines is strongly reinforced.

32:11: I love Dory’s freckles. Her singing leaves something to be desired, however.

32:46: “Are you my conscience?” This whole exchange is just… seriously. I’m fangirling over here, but it really is hysterical.

33:50: “Good feeling’s gone.” Understatement of the year. I don’t know what that big fish is (erm, it’s an anglerfish, according to Wikipedia), but it is frakking scary.

34:47: Great action movie – Dory reading in the foreground, with Marlin fiercely battling the anglerfish in the background.

35:28: For all that marlin complains about Dory’s “just keep swimming” song getting stuck in his head, it’s his “We did it, we did it, no eating here tonight” song that gets stuck in mine.

36:00: I’m pretty sure there’s a stuffed reference to a Disney movie in the pile of toys in the corner.

37:00: The fish just need paddles. “Have you ever noticed that the “crossing the desert” is a lot like the “unblinking eye”, and is exactly like “The Wreck of the Hesperus?””

37:51: It really ruins the ambience when a.) you have to translate for a five year old kid and b.) you forget to turn on the Ring of Fire.

38:43: Sharkbait! Oh ha…. Oh.

39:20: I love the Mission Impossible music as Gill explains the escape (es-cap-eh?) plan. Not overly subtle, but hey- sometimes subtlety is overrated.

40:00: Hey, wait a minute. Do fish have teeth? These all do.

41:18: Dory crying is just sad. I want to hug her. You don’t hurt Dory – it’s like kicking a puppy.

43:17: Boy, it amazes me how well John Ratzenberger has managed to stretch Cliff Claven’s characterization.

44:30: Shouldn’t they tell her why she should swim through the trench, not over it? I mean, even if she wasn’t Dory and was totally with it, Marlin would naturally ask why they should do the idea that doesn’t look so good. “Because a bunch of fish told me to” generally isn’t considered a great rationale.

46:15: The jelly fish effects are pretty neat.

47:00: This is, what, the third time – fourth if you count the first scene that I always skip – that one of them has nearly been eaten? (The pike fish, the shark, the anglerfish, and the jelly fish.) Wow. Violent.

48:49: The fact that the fish know exactly how long the bathroom break is if the dentist grabs the Reader’s Digest cracks me up. Did he “piece of cake” or “piece of kelp”? Hmm. I thought I knew every word of this.

51:07: Crush. Okay, so everyone does, but I adore Crush and Squirt. They are just adorable, and the surfer/stoner personality fits so well.

52:40: “They’re going fast,” Ducklet observes. The EAC looks like fun – I haven’t been on a roller coaster in years.

53:34: Squirt and the baby turtles really just are so cute. Sure, they’re made for stuffed animals. But they’re CUTE!

54:24: “Jellyman, offspring. Offspring, Jellyman.” Sue, did we ever realize that Hal was a total surfer?

55:14: “Well, go on. Jump on him!” Drew, be glad I don’t let the Ducklet greet you like that. (When he’s here, Ducklet drags Drew off to play with his racetrack. Given that you can shake the cars up and they go around this figure eight thing and they jump ramps and it’s really pretty cool, I have the sneaking suspicion Drew kind of enjoys playing with the toys.)

56:20: The gossip chain amuses me. Great way for the other fish/animals to get cameos, and neatly accomplishes a purpose or two.

57:21: The Wallace and Gromit seagulls. “Mine, mine, mine…” Real seagulls are even more annoying.

57:58: Yes, little kids (here meaning Nemo, not Ducklet) can spell. The little snots catch on quick.

58:29: The dentist doesn’t seem evil, but I think I’d rather be his fish than his patient.

59:18: “I heard he took on three.” I’ve heard this line more times than I can count. The music here is really familiar – I think it puts me in mind of October Sky.

1:01:16: “You mean the swirling vortex of doom?” That line just has a very Joss Whedon feeling to it.

1:02:56: Ah, the pollution. Subtle commentary, isn’t it? Actually, to give them credit, it is, since they never actually say that’s what all that white stuff is. And I’m not disagreeing, incidentally. I’m just pointing out.

1:04:50: Obligatory men and directions joke. Although given the setup, it really is pretty funny.

1:05:32: The speaking in whale gag is really funny, right up until you hear, “Say it in Whale, Mommy!”

1:06:08: Okay, it’s still funny even after that.

1:06:28: A reprise of the “swim away!” homage. Couldn’t they have mentioned shrubbery or something? (Side note: there’s a skit on Sesame Street where the grouches do “Scramalot.” It cracks me up, but I am easily amused these days.)

1:07:30: I love how he wipes his finger on the kid’s napkin/bib thing.

1:08:00: Oh, that’s right. “We’re getting eaten!” attempt number 5. And it’s time for the lesson and moral and slow music and contemplative part.

1:10:32: See, deep and meaningful. Although Dory makes it cute.

1:11:30: And the buildup to the glass half empty/half full joke….

1:13:00: I think I’ve read that’s anatomically impossible for a whale to do that, but it’s still pretty neat.

1:14:12: The fish’s reaction to the Aquascum 2003 is so geeky. I love it.

1:14:40: Darla. I HATE Darla. Although the psycho music is funny.

1:15:23: The Surly Mermaid. Heh.

1:16:13: Eat us attempt number 6.

1:16:45: Hahahah! Yes, the fish got his tongue. Okay, it’s lame, but it’s still funny.

1:17:12: (I seem to like the twelve second mark.) Eat us attempt number 7, by the seagulls. Ducklet thinks they’re penguins. Given their homage point, I’m vaguely impressed.

1:18:12: I’m sure whoever owns that boat is going to be really, really pissed.

1:18:30: Okay, here’s why I hate Darla. She’s eight, but she’s incredibly obnoxious. Her speech doesn’t seem anywhere where an eight year old’s should be, and she’s just awfully behaved. And Ducklet imitates her at times. If I have to hear the line, “I’m a piranha in the Amazon” one more time, I WILL scream.

1:18:37: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1:20:05: Seriously. Aren’t eight year olds supposed to be more articulate? She’s at about a 3-4 year level, as far as I can tell.

1:20:16: Go Gill! Get her! Seriously – I really hate Darla. (Erm, if you couldn’t tell.)

1:21:18: I can’t believe that they actually put poop in the water. I mean, sure, it’s realistic, but ewwwww.

1:23:13: “When I look at you, I’m home.” I love that line – it’s beautiful and sentimental and simple and gorgeous. It’s such a perfect expression of love, and I don’t mean that romantically. I get goosebumps every time I hear it.

1:24:06: Is that “eat us” attempt #8? Do crabs eat fish?

1:24:48: You know, I like that it’s not “Nemo” but “Sydney” that triggers Dory’s memory. While the film is called Finding Nemo, the principle relationship that develops is the friendship between Dory and Marlin, and I’m glad that that’s what has the effect on Dory, not the cute little kid.

1:25:45: HA! Go Dory! Both Duckie and I agree that Dory threatening the crab is one of the funniest moments in the movie.

1:26:16: Okay, this is generally the part that I’m ready for the movie to end. I understand why this scene is here, with Nemo saving all the fish. You almost have to put it in to demonstrate that Marlin has changed and trusts that his son can do these things. But it just feels like it’s dragging on for me at this point, and I’m ready to be done with fish. Oh, and eat us attempt number 9.

1:28:54: Also, is it just me, or do the humans in this scene look rather quickly rendered?

1:29:27: Yay, this part’s over!

1:30:08: Oops – more morals and stuff. Emotional moments.

1:30:31: Wonder how many times they nearly got eaten on the way back?

1:31:58: Bye, Elmo! (Nemo.)

1:32:09: And… we’re done. All is well, everyone’s happy, everyone’s learned their lesson. Lovely film, fun for the whole family, yada yada yada.

1:32:20: Oh, but yeah. The best bit – the aquarium fish in bags. Seriously, that’s the best way to end the movie. It makes me laugh every time.

So, that’s Finding Nemo. Thanks for bearing through it with me – it did make this 242nd viewing more interesting for me! I am impressed that Pixar films can hold up to such multiple viewings so well, and I have to admit I find relatively little to mock in these because they’re just that good. Hope you enjoyed it as well!

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