Joel Siegel Movie Reviews

May 30, 2003 -- If you're going to take your kids to the movies this summer, bring Dramamine. The animated action takes place on the high seas.

Brad Pitt sets sail as Sinbad in July. Even the Rugrats will be waterborne in their new feature film. But this summer's big fish opens today.

Finding Nemo is one of the year's best films … whether your talking animated, live action … or underwater.

Pixar — the creative force behind Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. — has again produced astonishing animation.

Finding Nemo takes place underwater, and water is the toughest thing to animate. What's more, animators use their character's hands to help them show emotion. Fish don't have hands. But we truly love these characters.

The story begins on the first day of school. Of course, fish go to school, and Nemo's dad is very protective, embarrassing the young clownfish in front of his school chums.

Nemo rebels, and winds up caught, bagged and confined in a salt-water tank in Sydney, Australia, stocked with fish who've gone a little stir-crazy.

Albert Brooks is Marlin, Nemo's timid father, who tries to track down the boy with the help of Dory, a chatty blue tang fish voiced by Ellen DeGeneres.

Brooks, an excellent actor and brilliant comic, uses his voice just perfectly to let us know how anxious and frightened he is.

On Marlin's odyssey to Sydney, he meets surfer-dude sea turtles and a shark named Bruce who's joined a 12-step program to give up eating fish. That's an inside joke. In Jaws, Steven Spielberg called his mechanical shark Bruce.

Pixar's turned in an instant classic. I can't imagine another animated feature winning the Oscar. That's how good this is … even though the bad guys are named Seagull. Grade: A -.