Pixar Studios has another winner on its hands. The Disney-distributed company pioneered computer-animation features with the hugely successful Toy Story and its sequel, A Bug's Life and Monsters, Inc. Its latest creation, Finding Nemo, may make a bigger splash than any of its predecessors.
The film owes much of its eye-popping appeal to its setting--the undersea wonderland of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The tale opens with Marlin, a single-dad clown fish, escorting his son Nemo to his first day in fish school. Things go swimmingly at first, but disaster intrudes when a human diver scoops up Nemo and whisks him off to a dentist's aquarium in Sydney. Mild-mannered Marlin is thus obliged to set out on a near-impossible quest to rescue his son and return him to his marine home.
If Pixar's movies all use computer graphics to create elaborately imagined environments, Finding Nemo perhaps represents the company's greatest challenge to date. The payoff is a dazzling underwater world of hyperreal colors and multifarious, exquisitely rendered creatures ranging from self-policing sharks to chortling sea turtles.
The best Pixar films are as cleverly written and witty as any Hollywood comedy, and Finding Nemo continues that tradition in fine fashion. Warm, spirited and consistently inventive, it hits a bull's-eye in being equally entertaining for kids and grown-ups. Human actors supplying the characters' voices include Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe and Geoffrey Rush.