BY TOM MEEK
With this fish tale about family ties, director Andrew Stanton and the animation brain trust at Pixar (Toy Story and Monsters, Inc.) do it again. Sure, the plot about a father’s odyssey to save his imperiled son is old hat, but it’s the clever details, enchanting emotional nuances, and cheeky humor that make Finding Nemoswim.
One of those sublime details is the “lucky” (undersized) fin that the neophyte of the title (voiced by Alexander Gould) is blessed with. As a result, the little white-and-orange-striped clown fish (the species is supposed to be funny, but Nemo’s dad can’t tell a joke to save his tail) isn’t a very good swimmer and isn’t supposed to leave the safety of the reef, but when he does, he’s nabbed by a diver and relegated to an aquarium in a dentist’s office. Marlin (Albert Brooks), Nemo’s widowed father, sets off to retrieve his son, forming an unlikely alliance with a batty blue tang fish who’s impaired by short-term memory loss (deftly done by Ellen DeGeneres). Along the way they encounter a trio of sharks who are trying to give up their piscean diet (“Fish are friends, not food”) and a 150-year-old turtle who articulates in affected surfer speak (“Yah dude!”). You know exactly how this one ends; yet getting there is such an enjoyable delight.