J.D. Lafrance
Finding Nemo: Collector’s Edition DVD Review

Finding Nemo: Collector’s Edition

December 7, 2012

Director: Andrew Stanton,
Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney, Stephen Root,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

Finding Nemo (2003) is one of Pixar Studios most successful animated films. In addition to being a critical darling and a commercial success (to the tune of $921 million worldwide), it also won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. And yet, at its heart lies a simple story of a father’s search for his missing son – albeit set in the aquatic world off the coast of Sydney, Australia. The final result was a funny, often touching story about the importance of family.

Marlin (Brooks) and Coral (Elizabeth Perkins) are a pair of clownfish and proud parents of hundreds of eggs. They live in a very desirable spot and have big plans for their family. That is, until a large barracuda knocks Marlin unconscious and eats Coral and all their babies save one – Nemo (Gould). Marlin raises his son and is very protective of the young fish as a result of the attack. During his first day at school, Nemo gets into an argument with his father and swims out to a nearby boat in defiance and is captured by an underwater diver. Distraught, Marlin goes looking for Nemo with the help of a hyperactive Pacific regal blue tang fish named Dory (DeGeneres) who suffers from short-term memory loss.

Along the way, they encounter all sorts of helpful and dangerous characters. This allows the filmmakers to play around with our perception of certain underwater creatures. For example, Marlin and Dory encounter three friendly sharks, including a great white named Bruce (Barry Humphries) who has formed a support group for his brethren. The film alternates between Marlin and Dory’s search for Nemo and the young fish’s new life trapped in an aquarium with other fish. Both storylines provide no shortage of exciting set pieces and funny exchanges between the various characters.

Finding Nemo is awash with vibrant color of all sorts, creating an immersive underwater experience that is a marvel to behold. For example, the film really opens up during Nemo’s first day at school when his teacher Mr. Ray (Bob Peterson), a spotted eagle ray, takes the class on a trip through the ocean and we see all sorts of exotic aquatic life on display. The textures on the fish are rendered in great detail as you would expect from the folks at Pixar. Check out the scars on Bruce’s nose, or the barnacles on the wreck of a submarine. It all contributes to the rich atmosphere of the world that these characters inhabit.

As with all Pixar films, the voice casting is spot on with the likes of Albert Brooks, Elle DeGeneres and Willem Dafoe lending their distinctive voices to their respective characters. Finding Nemo is an animated masterpiece of the highest order. It is a clever mix of high adventure, humor and genuine pathos. It is a film that champions the bond between a parent and their child without sickening sentiment, but rather a lot of heart that has earned it the status of a timeless classic.

Special Features:

The image quality of Finding Nemo on Blu-Ray is nothing short of perfection with the exotic fish colors coming vividly to life while also helping create an immersive experience in the underwater sequences. The visuals are aided by an impressive Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack that captures all the little nuances as well as the big set pieces.

The first disc features the 1989 theatrical animated short film Knick Knack. This shows Pixar animation in its infancy as it tells the whimsical tale of a snowman in a snow globe pining for a mermaid knick knack.

Finding Nemo – A Filmmakers’ Roundtable” reunites key crew-members almost 10 years after it was released. They talk about the film’s origins and point out that initially some people thought it would be Pixar’s first failure. This is a group of very smart and funny guys.

Also included is an animated loop of a serene underwater setting that would be ideal for a screensaver.

“Cine-Explore” allows you to watch the film with director Andrew Stanton, co-director Lee Unkrich and co-writer Bob Peterson. This is an engaging and informative track that also includes concept art, storyboards and so on.

“Reinventing the Submarine Voyage” takes you on the old and the new Disneyland attraction that is part of Tomorrowland.

“A Lesson in Flashbacks” features Stanton talking about the challenges he faced developing Finding Nemo’s story.

There is an alternate opening presented in concept art form.

The second disc starts with “Art Review” that features key crew-members discussing pre-production artwork for the film.

“Making Nemo” is a 26-minute making of documentary that examines the production in fantastic detail. One highlight is key creative team members going scuba diving in order to get an idea of what being underwater is like.

“Old School” consists of eight production clips.

Also included are seven deleted scenes in storyboard form.

Jean-Michel Cousteau hosts “Exploring the Reef,” a look at the world’s endangered coral reefs.

There are four entertaining outtakes.

Also included are four trailers as well as the informative promos “Fishy Facts”, “ABC Stunts”, and “DVD Stunts.”

There is an interactive encyclopedia with videos of undersea creatures.

Finally, there is a collection of six short screensavers not unlike the one on the first disc.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 97%

Website: http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/finding-nemo.html


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