Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Film Yap: Pixar Talk - Finding Nemo

Every week Austin is going to have a chat with Victoria Disque about a Pixar film. This is all leading up to a speech Austin will be giving about Pixar at the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center in Muncie on December 9th. Victoria is a producer of The Reel Deal and is currently majoring in telecommunications at Ball State University.

Austin: It seems like when “Finding Nemo” came out, it was more of a critical hit than all of the other Pixar movies. The others got good reviews, but this was something special. Do you see it that way?

Victoria: Yeah because that’s what I felt when I first saw it. There has been so many more after it that have been better. So it may have fallen in the rankings but it’s still special. Maybe it was just because I was in a mood today, that it didn’t work as well for me today. Like the character of Dori; when you’re in a mood she can be a bit much.

Austin: That explains all of Marlin’s behavior since he’s in a mood the whole movie.

Victoria: I was irritated with her in some scenes, which is weird because this was my first time I felt that. I always ranked her as one of the best Pixar characters, but I guess not when you’re in a mood.

Austin: I didn’t laugh as much at her, but I was impressed by the performance. When I think of the character I think of this manic person who always talks. When I imagine Ellen DeGeneres in the studio, I imagine her very flat-footed. She’s not bouncing off the walls. It’s not as loud as I remember it.

Victoria: It’s weird to say it, but this is probably DeGeneres’ best performance. Especially the scene when she tells Marlin not to leave her because she remembers things with him. Her voice is getting choked up and I can’t imagine the Ellen we know getting choked up.

Austin: You just didn’t see it from “EDTV”. That scene, though. It’s weird since the whole movie is the struggle for the father to get his kid back, the most emotional scene is that one. Nemo is not even in it. How tragic it is. Her monlogue is brilliant, but it’s his capper to the monologue of him saying he doesn’t want to remember.

Victoria: I think them trying to find Nemo is such a small plotline compared to Marlin not becoming a wuss. That’s actually the big story. It’s about him not being overly cautious.

Austin: The movie does bother to show us the dark and depressing scene of why he’s a bit more cautious where the woman he loves and hundreds of his kids die in one scene. That’s going to mess up someone. It’s good they show that because we have the sympathy for him. I never found him annoying now or then. You get where he’s coming from.

The movie is more fast-paced than I remember it. They are in danger every given second. They rarely have time to pause and talk before a new sea creature attacks them. Every time that happens, you see a clear step of his emotional journey. ‘He made the mistake of not trusting Dori, now he’s going to trust a little more.’ It’s the small steps that make the movie really satisfying.

It is a typical road trip movie. Two people who find each other annoying band together to X and every five minutes there will be a very random stranger. Yet it never feels like a traditional road trip movie. With the high stakes, it’s more like a chase scene despite the road trip structure. Even down to the early scene where Nemo is asking Marlin questions on the way to school that ends up being the whole journey.

Victoria: Then there is the other half of the movie which is like a prison break plotline with Nemo in the dentist’s office. Usually in a prison break movie, most of the prisoners who deserve to be there with the exception of the one or two that were wrongfully accused. These poor fish were bought on eBay who don’t want to be here.

Austin: I love that the isolation has caused mental issues for them. Like Flo and the guy obsessed with the bubbles.

Victoria: Who is the guy from “Office Space”. The stapler guy?

Austin: Yeah, Stephen Root. Love that guy. I still didn’t recognize half of the cast until the credits when I exclaim “Duh that’s Allison Janney.”

Victoria: I know about a few of them, but I always forget about Willem Dafoe.

Austin: I always notice him, but I never remember Geoffrey Rush.

Victoria: That one shocked me. Also Eric Bana is one of the sharks?

Austin: That makes sense. He’s very Australian. You know, Albert Brooks is so brilliant in this. One of my favorite performances by him.

Victoria: That was a voice I instantly recognized even when I was 13.

Austin: Well we’ve all seen “Taxi Driver” by then. Also he doesn’t change his voice that much from film to film. Even in “Drive” he could sound gruffer, but he’s still just Albert Brooks.

One thing I really noticed this time around is how beautiful the world is. The others looked great even when they went into the darker parts of that world. This was something more.

Victoria: They really liked playing with colors in this one. All of the shades of blue, for one thing. It looked like jeweled tones, which everyone likes. I’m sure a lot of people would be disappointed to go into the ocean now because it’s not that pretty.

Austin: Also the fish don’t talk.

Victoria: It’s pretty, but it’s not Pixar pretty.

Austin: Even during “WALL-E”, it’s the apocalypse but it’s still a pretty apocalypse. I’ve been fortunate to watch most of these on Blu-Ray, but I don’t think this one is on Blu-Ray yet. I was almost begging for it because throughout the movie I know the colors could have been crisper and sharper. This is really going to look amazing on high definition. They even know how beautiful this movie is because it opens with Marlin saying “Wow” as he looks into the world. It could be too meta and self-congratulating, but it pays off.

I also loved the introduction the school with the bright colors and the great designs of all the fish.

Victoria: It was that scene where I really liked the humor. There are so many one-liners that work. It’s the humor that stands out when looking at the storyline, which is a very adult story. Kids love all the little characters like the Bubbles guy and the little fish saying “I’m H2O intolerant” and “I’m obnoxious!”

Austin: There wasn’t as much physical humor this time, but they played up on the word play that kids would understand. Calling the boat a butt is one of the most effective jokes for all ages because some adults still laugh at the word “butt”.

Then on the other end, there is an AA group for sharks not eating fish with their own recovery program. Having Dori join that group was hysterical.

Victoria: I thought that scene also taught kids a lot of things too.

Austin: About addition?

Victoria: No, like how Dori was hit with the goggles and starting bleeding. That teaches kids what sharks are attracted to. Also the balloons things cracked me up which I guess is teaching kids about mines. Dori happy about the balloons was another thing I loved.

Austin: Dori’s tangents were my favorite part. I love fast dialog and that’s harder to do in animation because you’re rarely in the room with the other actors. “Archer” pulls it off brilliantly right now. The way Dori is able to do those quick lines amidst the speed of the plot is really great. Also I love her never getting Nemo’s name right.

Victoria: Ellen keeps bringing up on her show how she wants a “Finding Nemo 2” which I hope they never do. I don’t know exactly what they would do. The whole story is Marlin becoming okay with the world around him. Would they have him go back to being scared?

Austin: I was really impressed with that arc because he goes from thinking the world is too dangerous and then the movie says, “It’s still dangerous, but it’s not as bad as you think. You may be attacked by sharks, but you may get out of it.”

I tend to like Andrew Stanton’s movies the most at Pixar. This is the first time he was the lead director on the film. He had screenwriting credits for all the previous ones. The other film Stanton has directed by himself is “WALL-E”, my favorite.

Victoria: Also he was the voice of Crush! Oh and Brad Bird’s son was Squirt.


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