Traumatized by his wife’s death, Marlin (Albert Brooks) has always been overprotective of his son Nemo (Alexander Gould). His being too strict eventually reaches a boiling point, pushing the young clownfish to defy him and prove that he can take care of himself. But his attempt at more independence leads to tragedy as he is caught by humans and ends up in a fish tank in a dental clinic in Sydney. Not ready to lose another family member, Marlin searches high and low for his son, but to no avail. Then comes Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a Blue Tang with short term memory loss, claiming that she knows how to find the kid. The two then embark on a great journey crossing timelines and oceans with the help of every sea creature you can possibly think of, everything for the sake of family.
I find Marlin really boring and borderline annoying. The real star of this film is Dory, but she almost never was. It’s just that DeGeneres’ voice is too distinctly familiar that sometimes you begin to feel like it’s a case of the actor overshadowing the character. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that the character is a blue fish, which blurs further association. In the course of the movie, DeGeneres just disappears, and Dory is what’s left. That’s a good thing because the comedic timing is just perfect so as to have an actual effect on the audience.
Marlin and Nemo are cute alright, but they serve more as anchors of the film. You never go wrong with a premise about fatherhood. This is what makes Pixar’s movies so relatable, because while the animation and the characters appeal mainly to the children and young at heart, there is always a bigger message that will take a more mature mind to appreciate. As such, it is always guaranteed to be a treat for the whole family, because there is something for everyone. You can even experiment on this by having your kids watch it when they are young, then letting them do so again two or three decades later. It will surely seem like a different movie altogether.
As for the comedy involved, it’s primarily situational, a jab on absurd situations that will really make you laugh. Take for example that scene where the Aussie sharks are having a therapy session about fish being friends and not food. That particular sequence is so damn hilarious and contradictory at the same time, but it works. And then there’s also that part where Dory tries to speak Whale to a Whale. Such scenarios are few and far between, as most of the other funny moments are provided by Dory no thanks to her memory loss and jokes. Nevertheless, they suffice to give you a good time, as well as to keep the plot flowing.
While the storyline is a bit of a stretch for the imagination, what with trying to find a little fish in a seemingly infinite blue ocean, this is what actually gives room for the message to be effectively conveyed. While we can never imagine such a thing happening in real life, it reminds us that nothing is impossible when it comes to doing everything for your family. What we see here is more of a metaphor, a rather colorful one made palatable for the young and the old alike. Pixar has done it again. They always do. Is there anything they can’t accomplish, seriously? The film does tug some heartstrings, although I wouldn’t recommend bringing tissues because it is still more comedic than it is dramatic.