Friday, August 3, 2012

It's Film Strip Friday! Finding Nemo

It’s Film Strip Friday!

Finding Nemo

Release Date May 30th, 2003



Nemo's a curious little clown fish who is ready to explore his watery world. Too bad his loving dad, Marlin, is a bit over-protective. As it turns out, Nemo gets more adventure than he ever bargained for when he is captured by a scuba-diving dentist and finds himself imprisoned in an aquarium. Marlin must face his fears and join forces with forgetful fish Dory to get his son back. Together they face vegetarian sharks, a forest of jellyfish, and a host of other perils as they search the ocean depths to find Nemo. Along the way, Marlin finds the courage to let his son grow up and spread his fins


Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama film written and directed by Andrew Stanton, produced by Pixar Animation Studios, and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It tells the story of the overly protective clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) who, along with a regal tang named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), searches for his abducted son Nemo (Alexander Gould) in Sydney Harbour. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and to let Nemo take care of himself. It is Pixar's fifth feature-length film, and its first movie to be released in cinemas in the northern hemisphere summer.

The film received extremely positive reviews 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, and was the highest-grossing G-rated film of all time, before Pixar's own Toy Story 3 overtook it. It is also the fifth highest-grossing animated film of all time and the 27th highest-grossing film of all time.

In 2008, the American Film Institute named it the 10th greatest animated film ever made during their Top 10


Two clownfish, Marlin and his wife Coral are admiring their new home in the Great Barrier Reef. They are protecting their clutch of eggs that are due to hatch in a few days. Coral sees a barracuda a short distance away. Marlin tells Coral to get back into the anemone but she tries to protect their eggs. The barracuda then attacks them and Marlin attempts to defend his wife but the barracuda knocks him out. When he regains consciousness, he finds that the barracuda has eaten Coral and all but one of their eggs. He names the last remaining egg Nemo, a name that Coral liked.

The film then moves on to Nemo's first day of school. Nemo has a small right fin (due to a minor injury to his egg from the barracuda attack) which causes Marlin to not only worry over his swimming ability but also doubt his son’s general capabilities. 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 a scuba diver. However, as the boat sails away, the diver accidentally knocks his diving mask into the water.

Not long afterwards, Marlin bumps into Dory, a naïve but good-hearted and optimistic Regal tang with short-term memory loss. While meeting three sharks on a fish-free diet, (It's implied they may eat dolphins,) 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, he struggles with Dory and the mask snaps against Dory's nose, causing a nosebleed. The scent of blood causes Bruce to lose control of himself, and he attempts to eat Marlin and Dory. Shortly after the two escape from Bruce, the mask is dropped 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 address written on the mask, which leads to Sydney, Australia, and manages to remember it despite her short-term memory loss. After receiving directions from a large school of moonfish, Marlin and Dory set out to find Sydney. After a struggle with jellyfish that nearly sting Dory and him 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. Marlin sees Dory unconscious, thinks she is dead and blames himself, but she wakes up also alive and well. In the current, Marlin reluctantly shares the details of his journey with a group of young sea turtles, and 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 - drops 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 Gil. The "Tank Gang" includes Bloat, a puffer fish, 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 overly-enthusiastic and infamous for killing a goldfish, named Chuckles, who was given to her previously, by constantly shaking his bag. In order to avoid the situation, Gil 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 in a huge blooms of plankton and krill, and are engulfed by the mouth of a whale after swimming in its path. Inside the whale's immense mouth, a desperate Marlin repeatedly charges against the baleen in the whale's mouth in a futile attempt to free himself and Dory, then breaks down in despair. Dory reassures him, then calmly tries to communicate with the whale. In response, the whale carries them to Sydney Harbour and expels them through its blowhole. They are then 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. After the dentist throws Nigel out, Gill helps Nemo escape into a drain through a sink plug-hole after a chaotic struggle.

Overcome with despair, Marlin leaves Dory and begins to swim back towards his home. Dory then loses her memory and becomes confused, but meets Nemo, who has escaped into the ocean through an underwater drain pipe. Dory's memory is suddenly restored after she reads the word "Sydney" on a nearby drain pipe and, remembering her journey, she guides Nemo to Marlin. After the two joyfully reunite, Dory is caught in a fishing net with a school of grouper. Nemo enters the net with bravery and directs the group to swim downward to break the net, reminiscent of a similar scenario that occurred in the fish tank earlier in the film. 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 and watches 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 to the bags of water that the dentist put them into when cleaning the tank.


  • Alexander Gould as Nemo, a juvenile clownfish, Marlin's son
  • Albert Brooks as Marlin, a male clownfish, Nemo's father
  • Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, a Pacific Regal Blue Tang
  • Willem Dafoe as Gill, a Moorish Idol
  • 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, an Australian 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
  • 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


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 colourful, but 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 quite disappointed to learn that the voice of her character Karen Walker on the television show Will & Grace wasn't 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 fired.

The movie was dedicated to Glenn McQueen, a Pixar animator who died of melanoma in October 2002.


The film was originally released on May 30, 2003. The VHS and DVD was released on 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 98% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes with 100% by top critics, an average 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 also the voice of Timon in The Lion King, said Finding Nemo was his favorite animated film.

The film's prominent 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.

Also, in the movie, it was said that the temperature in the water tank was "82 degrees", which presumably would be in Fahrenheit; however, Australia is almost entirely metric, using Celsius for temperature.

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.

Box-office performance

Finding Nemo set a record as the highest-grossing opening weekend for an animated feature, making $70,251,710 (surpassed a year later in 2004 by Shrek 2, which was in turn out-grossed by Shrek the Third in 2007). It earned $339,714,978 in the U.S.A. and Canada and $528,179,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $867,893,978. It was the second highest-grossing movie of 2003, behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Domestically, overseas and worldwide, it was the highest-grossing Disney·Pixar film, up until 2010 when Toy Story 3 surpassed it ($415.0 million domestically, $648.2 million overseas and $1.063 billion worldwide).

Finding Nemo became the highest-grossing animated film in the U.S.A. and Canada ($339.7 million), overseas ($528.2 million) and worldwide ($867.9 million), in all three occasions having outgrossed The Lion King ($328,541,776 in North America, $455,300,000 overseas and $783,841,776 worldwide). Domestically, in 2004, it was overtaken by Shrek 2 ($441,226,247), in 2010 by Toy Story 3 ($415,004,880) and in 2011, after the re-release of The Lion King, it stands as the fourth highest-grossing animated film of all time. Overseas, it was surpassed by Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($690.1 million) and Toy Story 3 ($648.2 million). Worldwide, it now ranks fifth among animated movies after Toy Story 3 ($1,063,171,911), The Lion King ($951,583,777), Shrek 2 ($919,838,758) and Ice Age 3 ($886,686,817).

Among its international markets, in many it had impressive box-office runs. In Japan, it ultimately grossed $102,441,470 becoming the highest-grossing Western animated film of all time until it was out-grossed by Toy Story 3 ($126.7 million) and currently ranks 14th on the country's all-time chart. $10 million-plus-grossing markets include the ones following. In UK, Ireland and Malta, it grossed £37,178,973 ($67,117,404) being the seventh best animation film. In France and the Maghreb region ($64,781,395), it is third among animation films behind Ice Age 3 and Ratatouille and 8th best film on the all-time chart. In Germany ($53,926,684), it is third behind the two first Ice Age sequels, while in Spain ($29,462,544), in Italy ($27,701,112) and in Australia ($26,820,431) it also had above-modest but not exceptional earnings. In Mexico, it opened with $7,002,432 and finished its box office run $17,841,841 and in the Netherlands, with a $1,484,562 debut and a $10,529,033 total it is the second highest-grossing animated feature in the country after Ice Age 3 ($13,453,093). A final remarkable country is Austria, where it earned $8,672,773 and ranks third among animated titles behind the two Ice Age sequels.


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.

All songs written and composed by Thomas Newman, except track 40 (Charles Trénet, Jack Lawrence and Albert Lasry).

"Nemo Egg (Main Title)"
"First Day"
"Field Trip!!"
"Mr. Ray, Scientist (I'm a scientist)"
"The Divers"
"Short-Term Dory"
""Why Trust a Shark?""
"Friends Not Food"
"Mt. Wannahockaloogie"
"Jellyfish Forest"
"Stay Awake"
"School of Fish"
"Filter Attempt"
"The Turtle Lope"
"Curl Away My Son"
"News Travels"
"The Little Clownfish from the Reef"
"(Untitled; Hidden Track)"
"Lost in Fog"
"Scum Angel"
"Time to Let Go"
"Sydney Harbour"
"Fish in My Hair!"
""All Drains Lead to the Ocean""
"P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney"
"Fishing Grounds"
"Swim Down"
"Finding Nemo"
"Fronds Like These"
"Beyond the Sea" (performed by Robbie Williams)
Total length:

Theme park attractions

Finding Nemo has inspired numerous attractions and properties at Disney Parks around the world.

  • Disneyland Resort

·        2007 Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (Disneyland Park)

·        2005 Turtle Talk with Crush (Disney California Adventure Park)

  • Walt Disney World Resort

·        2004 Turtle Talk with Crush (Epcot)

·        2007 The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Epcot)

·        2007 Finding Nemo – The Musical (Disney's Animal Kingdom)

·        2012 Disney's Art of Animation Resort

  • Disneyland Resort Paris

·        2007 Crush's Coaster (Walt Disney Studios Park)

  • Tokyo Disney Resort

·        2009 Turtle Talk with Crush (Tokyo DisneySea)

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

·        2008 Turtle Talk with Crush (Hong Kong Disneyland)

Finding Nemo – The Musical

The stage musical "Tarzan Rocks!" occupied the Theater in the Wild at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida from 1999 to 2006. When, in January 2006, it closed, 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 (puppet designer), 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.

Video game

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.

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