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Finding Nemo - Preview and US reaction



Story by: Jack Foley

WHILE Disney have been struggling to cope with the new standards set by the animated likes of Shrek and co, it was only a matter of time before they teamed up with the boys at Pixar to regain the CG crown.

Finding Nemo is the result, and the gauntlet has been lain for the pretenders to the throne - most notably, Shrek, who is due to arrive in sequel form next year.

Finding Nemo has broken records in America, boasting the biggest opening weekend ever for an animated film with a three-day Box Office gross of $70.6m.

It also scored the biggest opening day for an animated film in history, taking $18m alone on its debut Friday, and smashed the weekend figure for Shrek, which only took $42.3m.

Furthermore, it looks set to out-strip Disney/Pixar’s previous best of $255m for last year’s Monsters, Inc.

The film follows the comedic and eventful journeys of two fish – Marlin and his son Nemo – who become separated in the Great Barrier Reef.

Buoyed by the companionship of a friendly-but-forgetful fish named Dory, the overly cautious father embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son - who hatches a few daring plans of his own to return safely home.

It features the vocal talents of Albert Brooks, Alexander Gould and Ellen DeGeneres, as well as Willem Dafoe, Barry Humphries and Geoffrey Rush.

But the talent doesn't stop there. The Disney/Pixar collaboration was designed with one thing in mind, to push the envelope in terms of animation standards.

Hence, Oscar-nominee Andrew Stanton is once more on production details, having served as co-director and co-screenwriter of A Bug's Life, and co-screenwriter of Toy Story, its sequel and Monsters Inc.

Backed by the best animators, renderers, line-drawers and pencillers that money can by, the Pixar team has even tackled one of the final animated boundaries - water.

Always a nightmare, due to its constant mobility, the ocean was said to be the biggest test facing the success of the movie - and if the reaction is anything to go by, they have succeeded in raising the bar still further.

One critic referred to Nemo's Barrier Reef footage 'as real as a Discovery Channel documentary', adding that all of the ocean's inhabitants 'look wonderful'.

The film is due to make a huge UK splash in October. We can only wait with baited breath....

 

US reaction

Needless to say, the reaction from the US critics was overwhelmingly positive - as it tends to be with any Pixar release.

Entertainment Weekly leads the way, awarding it the maximum, A, and writing that 'you could trawl the seven seas and not net a funnier, more beautiful, and more original work of art and comedy than Finding Nemo'.

Likewise, FilmCritic.com, which awarded it four and a half out of five, and stated that 'this catch is certainly a keeper'.

The New York Times wrote that 'high on the movie's list of accomplishments is its creation of an undersea wonderland whose opalescent colors and shifting light reflect the enchanted aura of dreamy aquatic photography'.

While The Onion's AV Club noted that it 'mines humor from the oddities of an unknown world but stays grounded in a familiar one'.

The Chicago Tribune referred to it as 'a true sunken treasure', while Reel Views stated that it was 'the best family film to-date of 2003'.

TV Guide hailed it for providing 'a never-ending stream of action and humor', while Variety stated that it is 'a buoyant adventure that entertainingly continues the Disney/Pixar winning streak'.

Village Voice, meanwhile, wrote that it provides 'an ocean of eye candy that tastes fresh even in this ADD-addled era of SpongeBob SquarePants'.

The New York Post also awarded it the maximum rating - four out of four - and wrote that it is 'a dazzling, computer-animated fish tale with a funny, touching script and wonderful voice performances that make it an unqualified treat for all ages'.

And the accolades continue with Hollywood Reporter, which found the movie to be 'exhilarating', as well as 'perfectly cast'.

As did LA Weekly, which referred to it as 'ingenious and lovely', and Slant Magazine, which found it 'adorable' and 'inoffensive'.

Rolling Stone, meanwhile, wrote that it is 'a thing of beauty, hugely entertaining and way cool'.

And the Philadelphia Inquirer added that it is 'as eye-popping as Nemo's peepers and as eccentric as this little fish with asymmetrical fins'.

And for anyone thinking it might be one for the kids only, how's this from Film Journal International - 'another terrific Pixar pic for all generations' - to make October's release date one worth jotting down in any film buff's diary.

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