Having cemented its place amongst the
pantheon of classic children’s films, Pixar’s ‘Finding Nemo’ finally
makes its way to Blu Ray and the results are as stunning as you would
expect. A major advantage of animated films is that the original files
can be revisited and remastered much more easily than the painstaking
process of cleaning up old and possibly damaged film negatives, giving
the viewer a highly detailed presentation as originally intended.
The story should be familiar to
everyone, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past
9 years, here’s a quick synopsis: Marlin is your archetypical
over-protective parent, mollycoddling his only son Nemo. After losing
his wife and most of their eggs, Marlin became reclusive and fearful of
the outside world, but Nemo’s impending first day at school finally
prompts him to leave his sea anemone home.
After being embarrassed by his
father’s overbearing personality, Nemo sneaks away from his class and
heads towards a boat in a display of independence. Of course, this
defiant act backfires and Nemo gets captured by a scuba diving dentist.
Frantically searching for his son, Marlin runs across Dory, a fish
afflicted with short term memory loss, and together this odd couple
embark on an adventure that will go down in the annals of fish
Critically acclaimed upon release,
‘Finding Nemo’ has lost none of its magic. An entertaining romp for all
ages, the film, like much of Pixar’s work, transcends the barrier
between children’s film and adult effortlessly. A great film is a great
film, regardless of the target demographic, and ‘Finding Nemo’
exemplifies this. A parable about how being too cautious can have
negative ramifications, the adventures of Dory and Marlin work because
of the heartfelt sincerity of both the writing and the performances by
Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks, respectively. Ably supported by a
cast featuring such luminaries as Willem Dafoe, Bill Hunter, Geoffrey
Rush, Eric Bana and even former talk show host Rove McManus, the film
has a distinctly Aussie flavour to it that makes it even more endearing.
word: Wow. The image quality is second to none, a cornucopia of visual
delights with colours so bright and vivid and a picture so crisp you can
almost reach out and touch it. Make no mistake, this is one of the best
looking Blu Rays on the market. The transfer allows for immense gains in
minute details, such as the texture of pebbles in the fish tank and the
gleam of individual scales on the characters. Pixar’s work is always awe
inspiring, but the difference in quality between the standard definition
DVD and this release is night and day. You’ll notice little details you
may have missed before and visually impressive scenes such as the
Jellyfish crossing and riding the current are even more stunning on Blu
Ray. I honestly cannot fault one aspect; even minor mistakes that
slipped through the cracks on the film’s original release, such as a
shadow remaining stationary after its character has left the shot, have
been fixed up.
Quality is just as impressive, with Dolby 7.1, 5.1 and 2.0 options
available. Sound is as clear as if you were sitting in the cinema, with
booming orchestral chords stirring up emotions but never threatening to
overpower the dialogue or incidental sound effects. You can literally
hear everything, from the tiny bubbling of the characters breathing to
the faint ‘swish’ of the water as marlin swims - Everything is perfectly
balanced and is one of the most robust sound experiences I’ve ever had.
though, would you expect anything less on such a highly anticipated
release? It’s quite clear that Disney and Pixar have poured everything
into making this release technically top notch.
are also a myriad of foreign language dubbing and subtitles available.
an assortment of features exclusive to the Blu Ray release. These
include an “Aquarium”, which is basically the menu screen with
everything removed, and seems kind of superfluous, and a roundtable
discussion with Director Andrew Stanton and other people who worked on
the film, which is informative and entertaining but a little too short –
I personally could have listened to them reminisce for hours.
included is an interesting curio from Pixar’s days as a fledgling
animation studio, the 1989 short ‘Knick Knack’, which serves to
illustrate that the company’s unique sense of humour and technical nous
was just as evident in their work even before they hit it big with ‘Toy
Story’. Rounding out the special features are an alternate opening
presented in storyboard form, a short featurette on the difficulty of
using flashback scenes effectively without disrupting the narrative flow
and an in depth look at the work involved in modifying the Submarine
Voyage ride to incorporate aspects from the film.
According to promotional box art, there is to be a CineExplore
commentary included, but this wasn’t present on the disc.
Knack’ Theatrical Short (3:37)
Nemo – A filmmakers Roundtable (17:37)
Reinventing the Submarine Voyage (15:05)
Scene: Alternate Opening (3:04)
in Flashbacks (8.00)
An undisputed classic of the genre,
‘Finding Nemo’ is still a shining beacon of children’s entertainment;
age has weathered this film nary an inch. Although not my favourite of
the Pixar canon (This honour goes to the impeccable ‘Toy Story’ trilogy)
‘Finding Nemo’ is a compelling tale that transports the viewer to a
world where you cannot help but sit back and watch everything with the
wide eyed wonder of a child.
In a little under a decade, the film
has positioned itself as the barometer against which every other modern
animated film is measured and remains a rare example of that timeless
magical quality that seems to be lost amongst a myriad of lacklustre
releases. Highly recommended, even if you have to use the excuse of “I’m
just buying it for the kids” so you can justify adding it to your