(2003) dir. Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
We watched Finding Nemo with our 2 year old son. This is the first feature film that we had ever attempted to watch with him, though I had showed a fair amount of Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro (1988) to him once.
Watching a film like this with a child that young certainly puts a different spin on it. You don’t realize how frightening and intense the emotions and moments are to a child until you are really tuned into these considerations for one in your care (though many people probably still don’t stop to think at that point). This film was far more intense than any other show that he had seen thusfar. He kept telling us how it was scary, and there were a lot of moments at which I can see that. It is funny how desensitized adults are to intense emotions like this in this film because I had any number of people tell me that it was not too scary for a little kid. Probably a couple of years ago, I might have had a similar reaction.
For my money, though, Finding Nemo was easily the most visually beautiful Pixar film thusfar. The underwater and above water universe that the film depicts is lush and detailed and fantastic. Pixar is miles ahead of other digital feature animation houses in their ability to craft such amazing characterization and backgrounds. And, on the whole, I would add storytelling to that list as well. That said, I thought that this story was a little more tear-jerky and Disneyified than their other films to date.
This is one film that I wish that I had seen on the big screen. It still retained a lot of its beauty in its transfer to DVD, but it was clearly something to be enjoyed in a larger format.
In the end, the film made a strong impression on my son. I don’t know whether he liked it or was just scared by it.