Last year, after word came out that the Lion King would be back in theaters in 3D, I could not have been more excited.
While that enthusiasm lacked after the announcement of Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc., as well as a few others down the pipeline soon to return to the big screen in three dimensions, I still jumped at the chance to see some of the best movies — not just animated, but movies in general — again with the added effect.
I won’t waste too much time running through the plot of the film, because chances are, if you’re still reading, you’ve already seen the fourth-highest grossing animated film of all-time.
It follows the story of an over-protective father clown fish and his attempt to rescue his son who was captured and sent to a dentist’s fish tank. Marlin, voiced by Albert Brooks, goes on a wild chase to find his son and along the way gains the help of spacey companion Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres. Dodging all sorts of oceanic obstacles along the way, including sharks, jellyfish and fishing nets, Marlin and Dory bring you on a tour through the ocean that’s only accessible through the mind of Pixar, the company that continues to release animated cinematic adventures the way the Beatles turned out good albums.
While it’s obviously just a conversion to 3D for Finding Nemo, it’s still a unique experience seeing the movie slightly differently. Certain scenes stick out as more memorable in 3D. For example, when Marlin and Dory need to navigate through the field of jellyfish, the maze that they dive through appears much more daunting when there’s a little depth perception added to it.
As with all animated movies, the actor’s voice-overs are usually what is most endearing about the films. There’s something pleasing about imagining our favorite actors and actresses as animals. I can’t explain it much beyond that.
Without a doubt, the star of the show was DeGeneres as Dory. Coming off as aloof and spontaneous, DeGeneres brought the Regal Blue Tang fish to life. Dory’s carefree attitude is one that’s most likely envied by humans and animals alike, and DeGeneres’s depiction of it was spot on. Lines that scream sarcasm are delivered with sincerity by DeGeneres, bringing the character to life even more, such as replying to Marlin, “This is the Ocean, silly, we’re not the only two in here.” That may be true, Dory, but you are one of a kind.
Brad Garrett’s voicing of Bloat the puffer fish, one of the elder fish of the fish tank that Nemo was trapped in, was also memorable, but mostly for Garrett’s bellowing voice. Very distinctive, the booming bass of Garrett’s voice is an idiosyncratic trait. Garrett has lent his voice to a number of animated movies, including Ratatouille, another of Pixar’s gems.
Bloat’s running mate, Gill, voiced by Willem Dafoe, was another character that stays with you after you leave the theater. With Dafoe’s groggy, crisp rhetoric, he gave the illusion that Gill had been through it all.
While the 3D components of the film were amusing, this up-conversion to 3D is something that Hollywood should do away with entirely.
It’s lazy and done only for one reason: to make money — which isn’t to say that’s not the goal for most films, but rarely do production companies release movies twice.