‘Finding Nemo’ reaches new depths in 3-D

The year 2003 was a different time for Disney/Pixar. The company had released two “Toy Story” films and “Monsters Inc.” All three films were wildly successful both critically and financially. Since that time, Disney/Pixar has released an additional eight films and grossed $1.7 billion worldwide.

The money keeps coming in, but the quality of filmmaking has been called to question in recent years with the sequel to 2006’s “Cars” and this summer’s first Pixar animated film starring a woman, “Brave.”

The reasonable response to this slump is to re-release films from Disney/Pixar’s golden age. This trend began with the 3-D re-release of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2.” Disney/Pixar continues with this weekend’s “Finding Nemo” 3-D re-release. In December, Mike Wazowski and Sulley are back on the big screen in “Monsters Inc.” in 3-D.

Disney/Pixar’s plan to rerelease “Finding Nemo” is far from unfounded when looking at the box office returns from the original release. In the U.S. alone “Finding Nemo” grossed nearly $350 million and finished with the exceptional total of $867 million worldwide. “Nemo” was the highest grossing Disney/Pixar film until “Toy Story 3,” but with “Nemo’s” quantity is there quality?

“Finding Nemo” takes audiences deep into the big blue with equally strong finesse as it did nearly 10 years ago. The animation does not appear to have aged a day and the humor that made the film a standout is timeless. Disney/Pixar has never pulled any punches with its comedy. Rather than using pop culture references and “potty” humor, the company knows how to use solid storytelling with a humorous result. This is one of the reasons Disney/Pixar has had little trouble separating itself from Dreamworks Animation, which gave us “Shrek,” or Blue Sky Studios, which released “Ice Age.”

“Nemo” also continues to entertain, because the voice acting is superb. Ellen DeGeneres is delightfully delirious as the dorky Dory who can’t seem to remember anything. Albert Brooks plays the neurotic Marlin, a clown fish, expertly complete with pacing and panic during parenthood. The two make for the most entertaining duo both kids and adults can relate to. With Dory’s simple silliness and Marlin’s more adult Woody Allen-type antics, audiences will fall for the two as they topple through this undersea adventure.

Along the way the two interact with many sea creatures including a shark, schools of fish, and a totally tubular turtle. Each character is well thought out, and though cliché surrounds some of them, there are lessons to be learned from them all.

The film is beautifully animated from the deepest depths of the ocean floor to the dentist’s office above sea level. “Finding Nemo” is a tour de force of voice acting from both American and Australian actors. The animated adventure is not just for kids, though. Now and then the writers will nod to the parents with jokes that will surely go over youngsters’ heads.

Enjoy again this thrilling family film and anticipate what Disney/Pixar has coming in the future. I hear that Marlin, Dory, and the whole gang might be returning to the ocean some time in 2016.

Patrick White

Movie fan Patrick White doesn't spare anyone's feelings when deciding if the latest Hollywood offering is trash or treasure. Catch his reviews on the latest theater and DVD releases in Saturday's paper.

Copyright © 2015