Kid’s Movie Better Than Most

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

Pixar’s Finding Nemo, out on video and DVD Tuesday, is a worthy successor to their Toy Story films, which were quietly among the best of the 90s for sheer moviemaking craft. Finding Nemo possesses so much brain and heart that one wonders why Pixar can’t bottle their particular charm and market it to the rest of Hollywood.

The film tells the story of a clown fish named Marlin who loses his wife and all but one of his children in a catastrophic event. Needless to say, protective of said child, Nemo. When Nemo is scooped up by a tropical fish collector, Marlin decides to go after him, venturing out into the wide, blue sea.

While Marlin joins forces with the forgetful Dory (a marvelous Ellen DeGeneres) and encounters (literally) every type of fish under the sea, Nemo joins together with a group of aquarium residents in a dentist’s office.

That’s it. There are no fancy filmmaking techniques or gimmicky narrative structures. The whole thing is a simple story of a father and son trying to get back together.

The film features a host of great jokes (I loved the seagulls) and some surprisingly moving meditations on loss, death and letting things go.

I have a tendency to trust certain filmmakers to never let me down. Martin Scorsese might even get me to watch paint peel.

However, no team of filmmakers in recent memory has a track record like Pixar. Sure they “just” make kids movies, but their movies are better than 95 percent of anything out there. Right now, they’re making the best old-school-style Hollywood films out there.

5 stars (out of 5)