Exclaim!

Finding Nemo [Blu-Ray]

Andrew Stanton

Finding Nemo [Blu-Ray]
6
Hot on the heels of its theatrical re-release in 3D, Pixar's second-biggest box office smash is finally available on Blu-Ray. Youngsters, parents and adults with magpie eyes should be delighted. This expansive multi-disc collection of Finding Nemo will serve as a handy go-to movie for anyone looking for a flashy example of the rich capabilities of modern home theatre technology. Unlike the majority of Pixar's later work, this simple tale of a father facing his fears for the sake of his child is a traditional, cliché-ridden family film that doesn't aspire to speak to a mature audience. Director and co-writer Andrew Stanton (John Carter) taps directly into parental anxieties about the capabilities of their children to function in the world without them and the reckless rebelliousness being overprotective can inspire. It's a narrative tailor-made for young parents introducing their tots to the movies. Adults distracted by the demands of parenthood and kids who haven't developed deep data banks of storytelling tactics are most likely to forgive or overlook the highly redundant story structure, derivative plot beats and borderline cloying/annoying vocal performances by Ellen DeGeneres as the memory-impaired Dori and Albert Brooks as the unfunny, questing clownfish father of the titular lost offspring. It's not surprising to find out that many scenes were figured out before the narrative was fully formed, lending to the film's feeling of being vignettes threaded together more than a tightly refined story. This info and a heck of a lot more can be gleaned from the multitude of special features spread across the feature HD disc and an entire disc dedicated to bonus content. "Cine-Explore" is a commentary track augmented by picture-in-picture visuals of storyboard art, mini-interviews and more. Stanton's personal anecdotes about his inspirations and concerns during production prove the most fascinating of the entire extra content. "A Filmmaker's Roundtable" highlights more of Stanton's scepticism and a rather hilarious shot of the cast and crew eating sushi at the wrap party. Still more humble self-criticisms from Stanton can be found in "Alt Opening" and "A Lesson in Flashbacks." A pre-Toy Story short entitled Knick Knack, an aquarium background and an extremely detailed documentary on Pixar's revitalization of Disneyland's Submarine Voyage attraction round out the feature disc's extras. The "bonus" disc is less impressive. "Making Nemo" is a great look at the Pixar creative process and work environment, but "Exploring the Reef" is an annoying mini-documentary narrated by Jean-Michel Cousteau, with frequent interruptions by Dori. A "Studio Tour" with the voice of Nemo (Alexander Gould, only two years before becoming the psychotic Shane Botwin on Weeds) is a bit kiddie corner to be of interest to anyone over the age of five, and the collection of storyboard and audio deleted scenes and outtakes are equally underwhelming. Additionally, there's a stack of bland "Publicity Pieces," a bunch more cheap backgrounds on tiny loops, a tribute to Glen McQueen, an Aquascum ad, an "Art Review," some short lessons on animation and nature, and "Mr. Ray's Encyclopaedia," which is an interactive video picture book on the primary fish types featured in the film. Pixar is nothing if not generous, even with efforts that are more style than substance. (Disney)
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