Finding Nemo is another success for Pixar animation. It’s a generally sprightly tale of a young clown fish (voiced by Alexander Gould) collected by a diver and deposited in a Sydney dentist’s fish tank. His over-protective and anxious father, Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), must overcome his fears and cross the ocean to find him.There’s a terrific voice cast. Ellen DeGeneres is hilarious as Marlin’s newfound friend Dory who suffers from short-term memory loss, a neat analogy to the tiny attention span of younger audience members. As well as Willem Dafoe and Allison Janney, there’s a sizeable Australian contingent. Geoffrey Rush voices a pelican, Bill Hunter the dentist, and the trio of sharks speak courtesy of Barry Humphries, Eric Bana and Bruce Spence.
The flowing and colourful visuals are gorgeous. It’s not surprising that a generation of filmgoers won over by Toy Story and its descendants is abandoning traditional animated movies. The gags are light and funny, if sometimes repetitive. Dead accurate is the portrayal of Sydney seagulls with their one word vocabulary of “mine”!
Finding Nemo occasionally sacrifices its pleasant charm for some soggy father-son Hallmark moments. If, like me, you find a little Albert Brooks shtick goes a long way, be warned that there’s an awful lot of him to listen to here.My chief difficulty with Nemo was that co-director Andrew Stanton’s story lacks a memorably thrilling climax. The last third is taken up with so many successive close scrapes that my willingness to suspend disbelief finally collapsed under the strain. The momentum flags because it’s impossible to keep topping each previous miraculous escape. Finally, Finding Nemo simply runs out of steam.