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"Finding Nemo"

ENCHANTING, HEARTWARMING and terrifically made. This Walt Disney/ Pixar animated venture is all this and more. It's a great journey into the sea with all its murk and mystery — you see the world below like never before, with all the tender lessons about independence, filial love. And even if it is not the greatest story ever told, its sparkling narration and dialogue (screenplay -- Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, David Reynolds) make it seem like a never before venture.

This latest computer animated offering from Pixar combines all the emotional warmth in a story with the rainbow hued colours of the world under water guaranteed to amaze children and adults alike.

This film has many little stories -- but at its heart is that of a father and son, Marlin and Nemo. And they are clownfish living in the Great Barrier Reef. One day Marlin loses his wife and their several offsprings — the eggs. Except one which he vows to protect no matter what.

Nemo, his son, is soon born. And he grows up to be a frisky, happy little fish waiting to explore the world. But the tragedy of losing his wife makes Marlin very cautious and protective. And when Nemo is ready for school, Marlin tries not to let him out of sight. Chafing under his father's stuffy protection, Nemo swims much further than he should and gets scooped up by a divers net. Taken away, his captor is a dentist in downtown Sydney and Nemo lands up in his aquarium.

Marlin cannot bear the separation. And he must find his son at any cost. And while doing so, he discovers that the sea is a very large place indeed. He sets off alone, but is soon aided by Dory, a blue fish with temporary memory loss (some of the scenes with Dory are a scream).

Another little plot unfolds at the dentist's clinic where Nemo now lives along with a handful of store bought fish. Feeling sorry for Nemo, they plan to help Nemo escape to the sea — where they believe his father would be looking for him. And in the process, they would escape too and live in the sea and not in a glass prison. This by the way is very urgent, as the dentist plans to present Nemo to his obnoxious niece. The rest of the film shows how Marlin and Nemo unite.

There are many things that will make you want to freeze frames to enjoy the visual splendour (directors of photography — Sharon Calahan, Jeremy Lasky).

It is a marvellous display of the animators' (supervising animator - Dylan Brown) skill that shows light and inky darkness just as brilliantly as the wondrous colours of corals. And then of course, perhaps the greatest achievement would be the realistic quality of the waters — its movements and density.

Simply breathtaking! The film gets its heartwarming quality from the voices used for all the characters — particularly Dory (Ellen Degeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Alexander Gould). They bring out all the poignancy of the situation, effortlessly. And there are several puns and jokes you could miss the first time round, caught up as you are by the captivating visuals.

Every obstacle in the long journey of Marlin, is an occasion for the director (Andrew Stanton) and the animators to show their technical skills — rusty submarines, toothy sharks, lovely long-limbed jelly fish, dopey eyed turtles, every object and creature drawn with such beauty, precision and characterisation. There is something about these animations that lend themselves to colouring that these artists fully exploit and dazzle. CHITRA MAHESH

CHITRA MAHESH

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