Hello, my blog friends!
It's Monday, and you know what that means. It's time to take a look at another detailed analysis on a random movie, and in that analysis, I hope to learn more about myself in the process.
I am definitely no Gene Siskel or Roger Ebert here, but I do have experience in reviewing movies. When I wrote for my college newspaper ten years ago, I had to go to several movies and give a detailed review on them. Many of them were forgettable, but there were a couple that I really enjoyed, and maybe you'll see some of them in a future featured blog entry.
For now though, I think that it's time that we take a trip back to the year 2003.
It was a year in which a lot happened. America went to war, the SARS outbreak caused worldwide panic, and one of the largest blackouts was recorded in North America.
(I should know...I survived the great blackout of '03.)
But that was the bad news. There was plenty of good news.
Remember the movie Finding Nemo? It was released on May 30, 2003, and raked in over seventy million dollars its first opening weekend, setting a record until it was beaten by Shrek 2 one year later. I'd say that's a pretty impressive feat.
It also happens to be one of my all-time favourite animated feature films of all time.
Well, okay...computer-animated film if you want to get really technical.
The movie was absolutely fantastic, and it teaches a great lesson at the end.
If you've seen the movie, the gist of the story is that Nemo is a clownfish who happens to be the only son of Marlin. Early in the story, Marlin's wife and most of his children were eaten by a barracuda, and Nemo was the only surviving fish. During the attack, Nemo's egg case was slightly damaged, and it left Nemo with one fin being smaller than the other one. As a result, Marlin was incredibly overprotective of his son to the point where it almost became smothering.
On Nemo's first day of school, he is told by Marlin not to venture away from the reef, but when he is dared by his classmates to touch the bottom of a boat (or butt as they pronounce it), Nemo is abducted by a scuba diver, much to Marlin's horror.
While Nemo ends up in an aquarium in a dentist's office in Sydney, Australia, Marlin tries desperately to look for him. Along the way, he literally crashes into Dory, who while very nice could be a bit loopy. Part of that could be because she had a horrible short-term memory. Nevertheless, Marlin knew he needed Dory's help to find Nemo, so he recruited her for assistance.
The little picture above shows the first sea creature that Marlin and Dory encountered. A shark! A vegetarian shark, mind you, but a shark nonetheless.
It's funny how fate can work, isn't it? Had Marlin and Dory not met the sharks, Marlin wouldn't have seen a vital clue that would help him get to his son. As it turned out, the clue was a scuba mask that had the address of the dentist's office that Nemo was being kept in, and once Dory remembered that she knew how to read, they had some idea of where to go. The road was not an easy one, as they had gotten into a fight with an anglerfish, almost died in a sea of jellyfish, and hitching a ride on a sea turtle named crush in the East Australian Current. It all culminated by Marlin and Dory accidentally getting swallowed by a whale. Luckily, Dory remembered that she could speak whale, and ended up getting out as a result of it.
Before I continue on with the plot, I'm going to interrupt this for a second.
Right off the bat, I can definitely see myself in this movie. It's so obviously clear to me.
Nemo's life as a child? Yeah. I lived it.
Granted, I am not an only child, nor did most of my family get eaten by a barracuda (though it would definitely make for an entertaining story if they did), but I wasn't really given as much...freedom...as I felt that I should. My mother is someone who I really do love, but she could be smothering at times, just like Marlin was with Nemo. I'm not exactly sure why that was. Maybe it was because I was the baby of the family. My siblings were nine and fifteen years old when I was born, so after age eleven, I was pretty much the only kid left in the house. Maybe it was because I was picked on a lot as a kid, and she saw it as her duty to protect me from them at all costs, even though sometimes she went a little overboard.
Even at age 30, I sometimes feel that I'm not taken seriously. Sometimes I feel like my loved ones still see me as a timid little kid, even though I'm over six feet tall. It frustrates me to no end some days, but I've learned how to grin and bear it over the years.
What surprises me is how much I happen to be a lot like Dory.
It does makes sense to me though. Dory is the type of fish that can always see the best in a situation, even if she does look at things in a childlike manner. Here's a few examples of Dory's zest for life.
Dory also had a problem with having short-term memory loss. That's also a problem that I have.
Oh, that's right. Dory also had a problem with short-term memory loss.
(Yeah, you kinda knew where I was going with that, didn't you?)
It's the truth. I have no problem recollecting events from five, ten, even twenty years ago. Most people don't even remember what they were doing on May 24, 1995, but I remember being in Toronto on my eighth grade graduation trip. Kind of freaky, no?
Now, you hand me the remote control for a television set and I'll put it somewhere, and then ten minutes later, I forget what I did with it. Recently, I ended up losing my cell phone and it took me six hours before I even remembered where I could find it.
Word of warning to all. Whenever I lose something, it's not pretty. If you take the chart that shows the level of terror in the world, I can range anywhere from blue to orange when I am searching for it. I'm trying to get it down to around a yellow though, so I am doing a bit of improvement in that regard. Such as it is.
That's just a minor foible though. Sure, my short-term memory is more or less useless in most cases, but it doesn't define me as a person. It certainly didn't define Dory as a fish. Once Dory remembered that she had skills that were useful in helping her and Marlin find Nemo, it turned out that Dory was the perfect ally to have. She could read. She could speak whale. She was always in a positive mood. She was Dory. And, everyone seemed to love her. The sharks, the sea turtle, even Marlin grew to like having her around.
That's what mattered.
Back to the movie now.
While Marlin and Dory were trying to head to Sydney, Australia to rescue Nemo, Nemo was befriending the sea creatures that happened to be in the aquarium with him. They dubbed themselves the 'Tank Gang'. There was Bloat the pufferfish and Deb (and her sister Flo which was really Deb's reflection) the damselfish. There was Bubbles the Yellow Tang and Gurgle the Royal Gamma. There was Peach the starfish and Jacques the shrimp.
The boss of the gang was one Gill. A black and white moorish idol who had a really tough personality, Nemo was at first intimidated by his gruffness and his scarred face, but eventually Gill admires Nemo's bravery when he tries to stop the filter of the tank so they could escape. It is later revealled that Nemo was caught by the dentist to give to his niece...a girl known for unintentionally killing every pet fish she has ever owned, and the 'Tank Gang' did everything they could to save Nemo from that fate.
I thought it was awesome that they went out of their way to help Nemo out even though Nemo himself was a little uneasy of the group. Peach and Deb/Flo were very kind towards Nemo, and Gill, Bloat, Bubbles, and the others held a ceremony where they rechristened Nemo as 'Sharkbait'.
I still love that scene. Firstly, even though it's been eight years, it's still fun to watch. But, secondly, it just goes to show that Nemo could make friends and be a part of a group in no time. And he did it without being under the watchful eye of his overprotective father.
See? Nemo CAN do things on his own.
Was he afraid to go through that ceremony? At first, he was. But as you've seen, it wasn't nearly as bad as he thought it was. Had Marlin been there, you know that he wouldn't have even gotten past the part of the maze where Peach was! Nemo showed lots of inner strength and courage though, and because he did, he ended up having a new group of friends.
It's also to the credit of the 'Tank Gang' to bring Nemo into their inner circle. For most of them, having a new fish around, they sort of felt a little insecure. What if they didn't like them? What if they didn't like him? Once they all got to know him, they thought
I guess I sort of identify with this whole aquarium plotline because I know what it's like to be in a new place with new people. When I was a rez student, I felt the same way as Nemo did. Having a tumultuous school existence, I was worried that I would have a rough go of it. My roommate was a great guy though, and I had a core group of friends there who really had my back.
I only wish I hadn't lost contact with them all, because I would love to catch up with them. In fact...
If any of you were at Carleton University in the year 2000/2001, and you lived on the fourth floor of Stormont House, come find me. I lived in room 457!
That's really all I have to say about Finding Nemo. I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen the movie, but all you need to know is that it was made by Disney/Pixar. And, I don't remember any Disney movie where everyone dies at the end, so that should give you an idea of what the ending is.
The point that I think the movie is trying to make is this. DON'T GIVE UP!
Marlin never gave up looking for his son, and ended up having an adventure along the way. Nemo never gave up on wanting more freedom, and ended up making a slew of new friends. Dory never gave up her positive attitude, and it ended up benefitting the search...even if her memory wasn't all that great.
I think Dory said it best in a few simple words.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming...
"I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy!"