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Finding Nemo (2003)

tomatometer

99

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 238
Fresh: 236 | Rotten: 2

Breathtaking animation, talented vocal work, and a well-written screenplay add up to another Pixar success.

100

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 49
Fresh: 49 | Rotten: 0

Breathtaking animation, talented vocal work, and a well-written screenplay add up to another Pixar success.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 33,342,820

My Rating

Movie Info

In this stunning underwater adventure, with memorable characters, humor and heartfelt emotion, Finding Nemo follows the comedic and momentous journey of an overly protective clownfish named Marlin (voice by Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (voice by Alexander Gould) -- who become separated in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken far from his ocean home and dumped into a fish tank in a dentist's office. Buoyed by the companionship of Dory (voice by Ellen DeGeneres), a

May 7, 2013

$41.1M

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Latest News on Finding Nemo

April 2, 2013:
Finding Nemo 2 Now Titled Finding Dory
Disney sets the freshly retitled sequel for a November 25, 2015 release.
February 12, 2013:
Albert Brooks Confirmed for Finding Nemo Sequel
The returning star joins Ellen DeGeneres in the sequel.

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All Critics (238) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (236) | Rotten (2) | DVD (48)

The latest flood of wizardry from Pixar, whose productions, from Toy Story onward, have lent an indispensable vigor and wit to the sagging art of mainstream animation.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Finding Nemo is laced with smart humor and clever gags, and buoyed by another cheery story of mismatched buddies: a pair of fish voiced by Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like Pixar's previous films, Finding Nemo mines humor from the oddities of an unknown world but stays grounded in a familiar one, finding recognizable elements of heartbreak and happiness amid the ink-jetting octopi and irritable flounders.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While Mr. Brooks is very funny, Ms. DeGeneres gives a bravura comic performance, as well as a touching one.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A genuinely funny and touching film that, in less than a decade, has established itself as a timeless classic.

September 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A timeless delight.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pixar's fourth feature for Disney is yet another miracle of computer animation, an instant classic, but with less of the surface brightness of Toy Story or Monsters, Inc.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Pixar continued its run of superb computer-generated animated features with this jaw-dropping underwater adventure.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

[Dory's] throwaway lines are funnier than anything that comes out of all the other fish combined, balancing out the dull father-son-must-be-reunited story at the core of Nemo that threatens to make this just another cartoon.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

The animation is so sleek and the action so perfectly paced that even the sharpest viewer could be forgiven for overlooking some unimportant lapses in internal logic.

March 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

It looks more stunning than ever.

March 29, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

An Easter treat.

March 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

This is a classic - bring on the sequel!

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Every frond and fin pokes out at you.

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Re-releasing Nemo in 3D gives a whole new generation the chance to enjoy it in cinemas for the first time - as well as adding extra depth to the wonderful scenes from the ocean deep.

March 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

Though some scary parts may make the very young fret unduly, the film also puts forward some thoughtful messages for both children and their parents. [Blu-ray 3D]

December 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Detail is what holds your attention from frame to frame: the panorama of soft and hard corals, the different textured sea bottoms, the undulating seaweed, and the schooling sardines that look flashy and real as can be.

November 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

I don't exactly worship Pixar, but "Finding Nemo" is truly a great film.

October 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

Gill is Platoon's Sgt. Elias if he'd survived Sgt. Barnes' treachery and returned to civilian life weary and hard-bitten from his experiences. And also a fish.

September 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Houston Press
Houston Press

Finding Nemo 3D is a quality post-conversion experience that successfully enhances the 2003 film's original standout visuals.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: ScreenRant
ScreenRant

The 3D gives the images a little more depth but they already had heft and weight. The 3D is a money-making gimmick, nothing more.

September 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood & Fine
Hollywood & Fine

A great blend of storytelling and technology.

September 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

Audience Reviews for Finding Nemo

Film reviewers have to walk a very difficult tightrope when describing films that they love. People who value our opinions, for whatever reasons, expect a level of passion and detailed knowledge to convince them how and when to spend their hard-earned money, and we work hard to provide such knowledge and passion on a regular basis. But often a critic will revert to childhood nostalgia or some other form of sentiment to unconvincingly gloss over flaws which to anyone else are in plain sight.

I find myself in this position with regard to Finding Nemo, a film I saw twice in cinemas during its long theatrical run and which I have always held in high regard. Having not seen it for several years, and caught up with most of PIXAR's back catalogue outside of it, I had trepidations about revisiting it, in case my love for it turned out to be rooted purely in nostalgia. Fortunately, my fears have all been laid to rest by the simple fact that Finding Nemo is a truly great film.

For starters, the film is a fantastic technical accomplishment. Animation's ability to put anything on screen is often bizarrely used to belittle its achievements: we assume that just because almost everything can be done, that therefore it's very easy to do anything. But there is nothing easy or lazy about Finding Nemo's aesthetics: they are the product of years of hard work and research, by highly talented craftsman whose craft and affection show through.

John Lasseter, PIXAR's head honcho and the executive producer, has always been a fan of hands-on research. Once the project had been green-lit, he demanded that everyone working on the film got certified at scuba diving, and organised numerous diving trips to allow his animators to study fish up close in their natural environment. As well as getting a mechanical feel for this (i.e. how things move differently in water compared to in air), much of their findings ended up in the films' characters. Clown fish are naturally shy creatures who rarely come out of the anemones, adding believability to Albert Brooks' portrayal of Marlin.

The visuals of Finding Nemo are beautiful on every level. Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich bring us a world of rich colour and many textured shades, all the while convincing us that we are underwater. They pay particular attention to the way that light reflects and refracts as it moves from the surface through the denser water, adjusting the colour palette ever so subtly whenever we move into deeper territories. Certain mechanics are altered, to enable characters to cry or bleed in ways we would recognise, but overall this is both believable and realistic.

In addition to its spectacular visuals, Finding Nemo is a brilliant example of how to handle multiple story-lines on screen. Like Toy Story 2 before it, there is not a single edit which is out of place, and not a single section that runs on too long. The transitions between one group of characters and another group are beautifully judged; it's never left so long that it feels like we are neglecting a character, or so short that it feels desperate.

This in turn lifts the story of Finding Nemo from something seemingly simple to feeling more complex and layered. It is at its most basic level a road movie, with two characters on a long journey from A to B, encountering many strange creatures and events along the way, some of which are helpful, some potentially harmful. In weaker hands the film would either feel overly long and dull or could become very episodic, with the set-pieces not building to a resonant climax. But this is PIXAR, and they know a thing or two about raising the stakes.

The film has many memorable moments, each of which feel like an escalation from the previous one. The first time we meet Bruce the shark, it's a big deal, but after the underwater mines blow up and the angler fish arrives, he seems a walk in the park by comparison. The same goes for the jellyfish, the whale and finally the fishing boat which Marlin and Dory run into, with the mask and its message tying everything together very nicely.

Running through Finding Nemo is the theme of letting go, specifically parents letting go of their children and allow them to have their own adventures. Marlin is overprotective of his son Nemo because of the loss of his wife and other babies in the opening scene - an attitude consolidated by his son's birth defect (the "lucky fin"). By being stifled for so long, Nemo is compelled to disobey after his very first taste of the outside world, and quickly discovers how frightening it can be. As the father journeys to find his son, both discover that there are times when letting go and trusting others is the only way to go.

There is a comparison in this regard with Gravity, which has just garnered 11 BAFTA nominations and a further 10 for the Oscars. Regardless of its eventual performance at either ceremony, Finding Nemo (itself an Oscar winner) does a much better job at conveying this underlying theme. While their stories may seem equally straightforward on paper, the storytelling here is better, the characters are more rounded, and there is less of an overwhelming sense of effects cornering the market for innovation. As great as the visuals here are, they do not distract from the story as those in Gravity often did.

Equally, while Gravity's protagonists were overly conventional, the characters in Finding Nemo are as rounded and compelling as we have come to expect from PIXAR. Marlin's conservative nature is rooted in good intentions, and he has qualities that we would recognise in parents we know and admire. While Dreamworks might play Dory's short-term memory loss purely for laughs, here it both lightens the mood and deepens her character. Dory has a pathos to her which comes to a head when she and Marlin part ways, making her scatterbrained moments all the more endearing.

In addition to its parental themes, Finding Nemo also has a subtext about overcoming disability. Both Nemo and Gill have fins which are damaged or underdeveloped in some way, and both are initially defined by them; Nemo's dad smothers him because of it, while Gill wears his as a battle scar and thereby seems all the more determined to escape. Both characters eventually overcome their limitations in the physical act of escaping, but Nemo goes one further in refusing to let it prevent him live life to the full. As soon as he gets home, he goes straight back out to explore the open ocean.

Finding Nemo is also brilliant at balancing its tone. There are a lot of dark and scary moments, such as the obstacles listed before, and the film is occasionally a little too blatant in reinforcing the horror tone, with obvious references to The Shining in Bruce's attack and Psycho in the scenes with Darla. But elsewhere the film is a barrel of laughs, whether it's Crush's spaced-out surfer ramblings, Dory's forgetfulness or the various exploits of the Tank Gang. It's a very funny film for all the family which balances light and dark superbly.

The voice acting on Finding Nemo is great, as we've come to expect. Albert Brooks is great as Marlin, using his quivering voice to bring the characters' anxieties to the foreground. Ellen DeGeneres is inspired as Dory, talking as quickly and as boisterously as she does on her talk show but still managing to pull things back during the sadder moments. Barry Humphries is very well-cast as Bruce, pulling off his introduction with great aplomb, and Alexander Gould does a good job with the title character. Even Willem Dafoe, who can sometimes drift into pantomime, is very convincing as the raspy, determined Gill.

Finding Nemo is a truly great film which sits alongside Monsters, Inc. as one of the high points of PIXAR's output. While it doesn't have quite the emotional depth or narrative complexity of the Toy Story films, it is very hard to find any other fault with it. It's a beautifully-made, beautifully-acted, beautifully-written film which will continue to enchant audiences for decades to come. One only hopes that the upcoming sequel came live up to the same standards.
January 18, 2014
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

Finding Nemo has grown on me over the years. It's not my favorite pixar movie by far, but it's definitely well made and visually flawless. The story isn't all that complex, but it doesn't need to when the backdrop is the real focus of the movie. The voice talents are, as usual, pretty good. I'm not crazy about Ellen DeGeneres as Dori, but i'm definitely in the minority on that. Overall it's a worthwhile experience and extremely entertaining.
January 13, 2014
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

Finding Nemo" is a wonderful animated adventure movie that simply is irresistible for young as well as older persons.
The most excellent thing about "Finding Nemo" is the perfect timing, just like in "Monsters, Inc" the jokes are extremely well placed in a quick pace and are good for more then just a few laughs.
There are some very fun and great characters which brings me to the only problem I have with this movie. There are too many minor characters, I would have really loved to see some of the characters getting a bigger role with some more importance to the story instead of meeting character after character that are only on screen for no more than 5 minutes (such as the sharks). Sure it's good for the sense of adventure but it leaves some missed opportunities to make the story even more fun.
I think it's pretty obvious that the story is inspired on the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy since it uses lot's of elements from it and it has the some feeling of adventure and excitement so it's really not a big thing that the story isn't very original, the original and fun way the story is told in compensates for this.
The voice cast as in many animated movies is impressive but the one that stood out was Ellen DeGeneres as Dory that you love to hate.
Irresistible movie for the whole family with great jokes and lines and some memorable characters and situations. 4 Stars 9-21-07
September 12, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Good original story about a fish who gets caught and needs to be rescued.
October 14, 2012
thmtsang
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

    1. Dory: Excuse me? Whoo hoo! Little fella? Hello! Don't be rude. Say hi.
    2. Marlin: Ha. Hello.
    3. Dory: His son Bingo.
    4. Marlin: Nemo.
    5. Dory: Nemo! was taken to, um.
    6. Marlin: Sydney.
    7. Dory: Sydney, yeah. And it's really, really important that we get there as fast as we can, so can you help us out? Come on, little fella. Come on.
    8. Marlin: Dory? I'm a little fella. I don't think that's a little fella.
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (14 months ago)
    1. Crush: RIGHTEOUS! RIGHTEOUS!
    – Submitted by Gracie T (19 months ago)
    1. Crush: Oh. Intro- Jellyman, offspring. Offspring, Jellyman.
    – Submitted by Gracie T (19 months ago)
    1. Marlin: Oh, my stomach. Ohhh...
    2. Crush: Oh, man. Hey, no hurling on the shell, dude, ok? Just waxed it.
    – Submitted by Gracie T (19 months ago)
    1. Dory: Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you've gotta do?
    2. Marlin: No I don't wanna know.
    3. Dory: [singing] Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.
    4. Marlin: Dory, no singing.
    5. Dory: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho. I love to swim. When you want to swim you want to swim.
    6. Marlin: Now I'm stuck with that song... Now it's in my head.
    7. Dory: Sorry.
    – Submitted by Alejandra R (20 months ago)
    1. Bruce the Great White Shark: I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.
    – Submitted by Alejandra R (20 months ago)
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