- “71% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. That's a big place to find one fish.”
Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama film written and directed by Andrew Stanton, released by Walt Disney Pictures on May 30, 2003, and the fifth film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It tells the story of the over-protective clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) who, along with a regal tang named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), searches for his abducted son Nemo (Alexander Gould) in Sydney Harbour. It is Pixar's first film to be released theatrically during the Northern Hemisphere summer. The film was re-released in 3D on September 14, 2012 and it was released on Blu-ray for the first time on December 4, 2012.
The film received critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It was the second highest-grossing film of 2003, behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, earning a total of $868 million worldwide. Finding Nemo is also the best-selling DVD of all time, with over 40 million copies sold as of 2006 (which was both before and after the release of the 2006 film Cars), and was the highest-grossing G-rated film of all time, before Pixar's own Toy Story 3 overtook it. It is also the 6th highest-grossing animated film of all time, the 5th highest grossing CGI animated film of all time, and the 27th highest-grossing film of all time.
Two clownfish, Marlin and his wife Coral, are admiring their new home in the Great Barrier Reef and their clutch of eggs that are due to hatch in a few days. Suddenly, a barracuda attacks them, leaving Marlin unconscious before eating Coral and all but one of their eggs. Marlin names this egg Nemo, a name that Coral liked.
A few years later, Nemo's first day of school arrives. Nemo has a tiny right fin, due to a minor injury to his egg from the barracuda attack, which limits his swimming ability. After Marlin embarrasses Nemo during a school field trip, Nemo disobeys his father and sneaks away from the reef towards a boat, resulting in him being captured by scuba divers. As the boat sails away, one of the divers accidentally knocks his diving mask into the water.
While unsuccessfully attempting to save Nemo, Marlin meets Dory, a blue tang with short-term memory loss. While meeting three sharks on a fish-free diet, Bruce, a great white shark, Anchor, a hammerhead shark, and Chum, a mako shark, Marlin discovers the diver's mask that was dropped from the boat and notices an address written on it. However, when he argues with Dory and accidentally gives her a nosebleed, the scent of blood causes Bruce to lose control of himself and attempt to eat Marlin and Dory. The two escape from Bruce but the mask falls into a trench in the deep sea. During a hazardous struggle with an anglerfish in the trench, Dory realizes she is able to read the words written on the mask, "P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney." The address leads them to Sydney, Australia, and Dory manages to remember it. After receiving directions to Sydney from a large school of moonfish, Marlin and Dory accidentally run into a bloom of jellyfish that nearly sting them to death; Marlin falls exhausted after the risky escape and wakes up to see a surf-cultured sea turtle named Crush, who takes Dory and him on the East Australian Current. In the current, Marlin reluctantly shares the details of his journey with a group of young sea turtles; his story spreads rapidly across the ocean through word of mouth and eventually reaches Nemo in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Nemo's captor - P. Sherman, a dentist - places him into a fish tank in his office on Sydney Harbour. There, Nemo meets a group of aquarium fish called the "Tank Gang", led by a crafty and ambitious moorish idol named Gill. The "Tank Gang" includes Bloat, a pufferfish; Bubbles, a yellow tang; Peach, a starfish; Gurgle, a Royal gramma; Jacques, a pacific cleaner shrimp; and Deb, a Blacktailed Humbug. The fish are frightened to learn that the dentist plans to give Nemo to his niece, Darla, who is infamous for killing a goldfish given to her previously, by constantly shaking her bag. In order to avoid this, Gill gives Nemo a role in an escape plan, which involves jamming the tank's filter and forcing the dentist to remove the fish from the tank to clean it manually. The fish would be placed in plastic bags, at which point they would roll out the window and into the harbor. After a friendly pelican named Nigel visits with news of Marlin's adventure, Nemo succeeds in jamming the filter, but the plan backfires when the dentist installs a new high-tech filter.
Upon leaving the East Australian Current, Marlin and Dory become lost and are eaten by a whale. Inside the whale's mouth, Marlin desperately tries to escape while Dory tries to communicate with it. In response, the whale carries them to Sydney Harbour and expels them through his blowhole. They are met by Nigel, who recognizes Marlin from the stories he has heard and rescues him and Dory from a flock of hungry seagulls by scooping them into his beak and taking them to the dentist's office. By this time, Darla has arrived and the dentist is prepared to give Nemo to her. Nemo tries to play dead in hopes of saving himself, and, at the same time, Nigel arrives. Marlin sees Nemo and mistakes this act for the actual death of his son. When Nigel suddenly gets thrown out the window by the dentist, Gill helps Nemo escape into a drain through a sink after a chaotic struggle.
Overcome with despair, Marlin leaves Dory and begins to swim back home. Dory then loses her memory and becomes confused, but meets Nemo, who has reached the ocean through an underwater drainpipe. Dory's memory is restored after she reads the word "Sydney" on a nearby drainpipe and, remembering her journey, she guides Nemo to Marlin who changes his sadness to happiness. After the two joyfully reunite, Dory is caught in a fishing net with a school of grouper. Nemo bravely enters the net and directs the group to swim downward to break the net, reminiscent of a similar scenario that occurred in the fish tank earlier. The fish, including Dory, succeed in breaking the net and escape. After some days, Nemo leaves for school once more and Marlin is no longer overprotective or doubtful of his son's safety, proudly watching Nemo swim away into the distance.
Back at the dentist's office, the high-tech filter breaks down and The Tank Gang have escaped into the harbor, but realize they are confined in plastic bags of water that the dentist put them into (when their plan has now worked) while cleaning the tank.
- Albert Brooks as Marlin, a male clownfish, Nemo's father
- Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, a Pacific Regal Blue Tang
- Alexander Gould as Nemo, a juvenile clownfish, Marlin's son
- Willem Dafoe as Gill, a Moorish Idol, and the leader of the group
- Brad Garrett as Bloat, a Pufferfish
- Allison Janney as Peach, a Starfish
- Austin Pendleton as Gurgle, a Royal Gramma
- Stephen Root as Bubbles, a Yellow Tang
- Vicki Lewis as Deb (and "Flo," Deb's reflection), a Four-Striped Damselfish
- Joe Ranft as Jacques, a Pacific Cleaner Shrimp
- Geoffrey Rush as Nigel, a Brown Pelican
- John Ratzenberger as the school of Moonfish
- Andrew Stanton as the seagulls, and Crush, a Green sea turtle
- Nicholas Bird as Squirt, a juvenile Sea Turtle, Crush's son
- Bob Peterson as Mr. Ray, a Spotted Eagle Ray, the school bus of the class, and the teacher of the class
- Barry Humphries as Bruce, a Great white shark
- Eric Bana as Anchor, a Hammerhead Shark
- Bruce Spence as Chum, a Mako Shark
- Jordy Ranft as Tad, a juvenile Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish
- Erica Beck as Pearl, a juvenile Flapjack Octopus
- Erik Per Sullivan as Sheldon, a juvenile Seahorse
- Bill Hunter as Dr. Philip Sherman, the dentist
- LuLu Ebeling as Darla, the dentist's niece
- Elizabeth Perkins as Coral, Marlin's wife
- Rove McManus as a Crab
- Jeff Bergman as the seagulls
The inspiration for Nemo was made up of multiple experiences. The idea goes back to when director Andrew Stanton was a child, when he loved going to the dentist to see the fish tank, assuming that the fish were from the ocean and wanted to go home. In 1992 shortly after his son was born, he and his family took a trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (which was called Marine World at the time). There, he saw the shark tube and various exhibits he felt that the underwater world could be done beautifully in computer animation. Later, in 1997 he took his son for a walk in the park, but found that he was over protecting him constantly and lost an opportunity to have any "father-son experiences" on that day. In an interview with National Geographic magazine, he stated that the idea for the characters of Marlin and Nemo came from a photograph of two clownfish peeking out of an anemone: "It was so arresting. I had no idea what kind of fish they were, but I couldn't take my eyes off them. And as an entertainer, the fact that they were called clownfish—it was perfect. There's almost nothing more appealing than these little fish that want to play peekaboo with you." Also, clownfish are very colorful, and don't tend to come out of an anemone very often, and for a character who has to go on a dangerous journey, Stanton felt a clownfish was the perfect kind of fish for the character.
Pre-production of the film took place in early 1997. Stanton began writing the screenplay during the post-production of A Bug's Life. As such, it began production with a complete screenplay, something that co-director Lee Unkrich called "very unusual for an animated film." The artists took scuba diving lessons so they could go and study the coral reef. The idea for the initiation sequence came from a story conference between Andrew Stanton and Bob Peterson while driving to record the actors. Ellen DeGeneres was cast after Stanton was watching Ellen with his wife and seeing Ellen "change the subject five times before finishing one sentence" as Stanton recalled. There was a pelican character known as Gerald (who in the final film ends up swallowing and choking on Marlin and Dory) who was originally a friend of Nigel. They were going to play against each other as Nigel being neat fastidious while Gerald being scruffy and sloppy. However the filmmakers could not find an appropriate scene for them that didn't slow the pace of the picture down, so Gerald's character was minimized.
Stanton himself provided the voice of Crush the sea turtle. Stanton originally did the voice for the film's story reel, and assumed they would find an actor later. When Stanton's performance was popular in test screenings, Stanton decided to keep his performance in the film. Stanton recorded all his dialogue while lying on a sofa in co-director Lee Unkrich's office.
Crush's son Squirt was voiced by Nicholas Bird, the young son of fellow Pixar director Brad Bird. According to Stanton, the elder Bird was playing a tape recording of his young son around the Pixar studios one day. Stanton felt the voice was "this generation's Thumper" and immediately cast Nicholas.
Megan Mullally revealed that she was originally doing a voice in the film. According to Mullally, the producers were dissatisfied to learn that the voice of her character Karen Walker on the television show Will & Grace was not her natural speaking voice. The producers hired her anyway, and then strongly encouraged her to use her Karen Walker voice for the role. When Mullally refused, she was dismissed.
The film was dedicated to Glenn McQueen, a Pixar animator who died of melanoma in October 2002.
- Main article: Finding Nemo (video)
Finding Nemo was released on DVD and VHS on November 4, 2003. After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney and Pixar announced a 3D re-release of Finding Nemo on September 14, 2012. The film was also released on DVD in a "Gold Edition", which came with a Finding Nemo stuffed toy character. The film will be released for the first time on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on December 4, 2012, with both a 3-disc and a 5-disc set.
Finding Nemo currently holds a 99% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 8.7/10 based on 253 reviews. An rating of 89% on Metacritic, and four stars from Empire. Roger Ebert gave the film four stars, calling it "one of those rare movies where I wanted to sit in the front row and let the images wash out to the edges of my field of vision." Broadway star Nathan Lane who was the voice of Timon the meerkat in The Lion King, said Finding Nemo was his favorite animated film.
The film's use of clownfish prompted mass purchase of the animal as pets in the United States, even though the movie portrayed the use of fish as pets negatively and suggested that saltwater aquariums are notably tricky and expensive to maintain. The demand for clownfish was supplied by large-scale harvesting of tropical fish in regions like Vanuatu.
At the same time, the film had a quote that "all drains lead back to the ocean" (Nemo escapes from the aquarium by going down a sink drain, ending up in the sea). Since water typically undergoes treatment before leading to the ocean, the JWC Environmental company quipped that a more realistic title for the movie might be Grinding Nemo. However, in Sydney, much of the sewer system does pass directly to outfall pipes deep offshore, without a high level of treatment (although pumping and some filtering occur). Additionally, according to the DVD, there was a cut sequence with Nemo going through a treatment plant's mechanisms before ending up in the ocean pipes. However, in the final product, logos for "Sydney Water Treatment" are featured prominently along the path to the ocean, implying that Nemo did pass through some water treatment.
Tourism in Australia strongly increased during the summer and autumn of 2003, with many tourists wanting to swim off the coast of Eastern Australia to "find Nemo". The Australian Tourism Commission (ATC) launched several marketing campaigns in China and the USA in order to improve tourism in Australia, many of them utilising Finding Nemo clips. Queensland also used Finding Nemo to draw tourists to promote its state for vacationers.
On the 3-D re-release, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote that its emotional power was deepened by "the dimensionality of the oceanic deep" where "the spatial mysteries of watery currents and floating worlds are exactly where 3-D explorers were born to boldly go."
Finding Nemo earned $339,714,978 in North America and $528,179,000 in other countries for a worldwide total of $867,893,978. It is the second highest-grossing film of 2003, behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. In North America, outside North America, and worldwide, it was the highest-grossing Disney·Pixar film, up until 2010 when Toy Story 3 surpassed it.
Finding Nemo set an opening-weekend record for an animated feature, making $70,251,710 (first surpassed by Shrek 2). It became the highest-grossing animated film in North America ($339.7 million), outside North America ($528.2 million) and worldwide ($867.9 million), in all three occasions outgrossing The Lion King. In North America, it was surpassed by Shrek 2 in 2004, and by Toy Story 3 in 2010. After the re-release of The Lion King in 2011, it stands as the fourth highest-grossing animated film in these regions. Outside North America, it was surpassed by Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Toy Story 3 and Ice Age: Continental Drift. Worldwide, it now ranks fifth among animated films.
The film had impressive box-office runs in many international markets. In Japan, its highest-grossing market after North America, it grossed $102.4 million becoming the highest-grossing Western animated film until it was out-grossed by Toy Story 3 ($126.7 million). Following in biggest grosses are the UK Ireland and Malta, where it grossed £37.2 million ($67.1 million), France and the Maghreb region ($64.8 million), Germany ($53.9 million), and Spain ($29.5 million).
After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney and Pixar re-released Finding Nemo in 3D on September 14, 2012, with a conversion cost estimated below $5 million. For the opening weekend of its 3D re-release in North America, Finding Nemo grossed $16.7 million, debuting at the No. 2 spot behind Resident Evil: Retribution. From 36 foreign markets, it earned a total of $13 million. The re-release grossed $41,128,283.
The film's current domestic total is $380,843,261 with $936,743,261 worldwide.
Finding Nemo won the Academy Award and Saturn Award for Best Animated Film. It also won the award for best Animated Film at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, the National Board of Review Awards, the Online Film Critics Society Awards, and the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.
The film received many awards, including:
- Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Movie and Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie, Ellen DeGeneres.
- Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, Ellen DeGeneres
Finding Nemo was also nominated for:
- Two Chicago Film Critics Association Awards for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress, Ellen DeGeneres
- A Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
- Two MTV Movie Awards for Best Movie and Best Comedic Performance, Ellen DeGeneres
In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten Top Ten", the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres, after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Finding Nemo was acknowledged as the 10th best film in the animation genre. It was the most recently released film among all ten lists, and one of only three movies made after the year 2000, the others being The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Shrek.
American Film Institute recognition:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – Nominated
- AFI's 10 Top 10 – #10 Animated film
Environmental concerns and consequences
The reaction to the film by the general public has led to environmental devastation for the clownfish and has provoked an outcry from several environmental protection agencies, including Marine Aquarium Council, Australia. Apparently, the demand for tropical fish skyrocketed after the film's release. This has caused reef species decimation in Vanuatu and many other reef areas.
Even more bizarre, after seeing the film, some aquarium owners released their pets into the ocean, but the wrong ocean. This has introduced species harmful to the indigenous environment and is harming reefs worldwide as well.
Finding Nemo is the original soundtrack album. It was the first Pixar film not to be scored by Randy Newman. The album was nominated for the Academy Award for Original Music Score, losing to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Also, English singer Robbie Williams preformed a cover of Beyond the Sea.
Theme park attractions
Finding Nemo has inspired numerous attractions and properties at Disney Parks around the world.
- 2009 Turtle Talk with Crush (Tokyo DisneySea)
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
- 2008 Turtle Talk with Crush (Hong Kong Disneyland)
The stage musical Tarzan Rocks! occupied the Theater in the Wild at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida from 1999 to 2006. When it closed in January 2006, it was rumored that a musical adaptation of Finding Nemo would replace it. This was confirmed in April 2006, when Disney announced that the adaptation, with new songs written by Tony Award-winning Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, would "combine puppets, dancers, acrobats and animated backdrops" and open in late 2006. Tony Award-winning director Peter Brosius signed on to direct the show, with Michael Curry, who designed puppets for Disney's successful stage version of The Lion King, serving as leading puppet and production designer.
Anderson-Lopez said that the couple agreed to write the adaptation of "one of their favorite movies of all time" after considering "The idea of people coming in [to see the musical] at 4, 5 or 6 and saying, 'I want to do that'....So we want to take it as seriously as we would a Broadway show." To condense the feature-length film to thirty minutes, she said she and Lopez focused on a single theme from the movie, the idea that "The world's dangerous and beautiful."
The forty-minute show (which is performed five times daily) opened on January 2, 2007. Several musical numbers took direct inspiration from lines in the film, including "(In The) Big Blue World", "Fish Are Friends, Not Food", "Just Keep Swimming", and "Go With the Flow". In January 2007, a New York studio recording of the show was released on iTunes, with Lopez and Anderson-Lopez providing the voices for Marlin and Dory, respectively. Avenue Q star Stephanie D'Abruzzo also appeared on the recording, as Sheldon/Deb.
Nemo was the first non-musical animated film to which Disney added songs in order to produce a stage musical. In 2009, Finding Nemo – The Musical was honored with a Thea award for Best Live Show from the Themed Entertainment Association.
A video game based on the film was released in 2003, for PC, Xbox, PS2, GameCube and GBA.
In 2005, after disagreements between Disney's Michael Eisner and Pixar's Steve Jobs over the distribution of Pixar's films, Disney announced that they would be creating a new animation studio, Circle 7 Animation, to make sequels to the seven Disney-owned, Pixar films (which consisted of the films released between 1995 and 2006).
The studio had put Toy Story 3 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in development, and had also hired screenwriter Laurie Craig to write a draft for Finding Nemo 2. Circle 7 had since been shut down after Robert Iger replaced Eisner as CEO of Disney and arranged the acquisition of Pixar.
In July 2012, it was reported that Andrew Stanton is developing a sequel to Finding Nemo, with Victoria Strouse writing the script and a schedule to be released in 2016. However, the same day the news of a potential sequel broke, director Andrew Stanton posted a message on his personal Twitter calling into question the accuracy of these reports. The message said, "Didn't you all learn from Chicken Little? Everyone calm down." Don't believe everything you read. Nothing to see here now. According to the report by Hollywood Reporter published in August 2012, Ellen DeGeneres is in negotiations to reprise her role of Dory. In September 2012, it was confirmed by Stanton saying: "What was immediately on the list was writing a second John Carter movie. When that went away, everything slid up. I know I'll be accused by more sarcastic people that it's a reaction to Carter not doing well, but only in its timing, but not in its conceit." In February 2013, it was confirmed by the press that Albert Brooks would reprise the role of Marlin in the sequel.
- The Polish title is translated as Where's Nemo.
- When Bruce bursts through the submarine door and shouts, "Here's Brucey!", this was a reference to The Shining.
- When Dory wants to ask the whale for directions and Marlin doesn't, she says, "What is it with men and asking for directions?" this line was also in Mulan II.
- Nemo appears in Monsters Inc. in a cameo. He is also mentioned by Bugs Bunny in the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action when he was fishing in a flooded Alfa Romeo car and says Hey, what do ya know? I found Nemo!
- Nemo's mother's death was intended to be previewed in a series of flashbacks, but Lasserter insisted it to be shown in the beginning of the film to explain why Marlin was so over-protective towards his son.
- The lines "Curse you, AquaScum!", "He's dead" and "He's not dead" were censored when the movie was aired on Disney Junior due to inappropriate language for children
- This is also the similar case to The Incredibles in Dash's line We survived but we're dead
- The voice clips that were previously recorded are later being replayed in the movie.
- This is the first Pixar film to use a Hanna-Barbera sound effect; the bite sound effect is heard when Bloat eats a piece of fish dust.
- The HighlightsTM magazine can be seen during the fish tank scene.
- This was the last Pixar movie to be released on VHS.
- When Nemo first realizes he's in a fish tank in a waiting room, a Buzz Lightyear toy is seen on the floor.
- As Gill is telling his plan, the camera is in the view of the fish. After dropping out of the window, the Pizza Planet truck drives past.
- In the credits, Mike Wazowski appears wearing the diving gear he wore to protect himself from Boo in Monsters, Inc..
- A113 appears on a diver's camera.
- Theaters: September 14, 2012
- DVD/Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D: December 4, 2012
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