Finding a Gimmick

By Danny Marchant


This Friday saw the re-release of “Finding Nemo,” a contemporary classic and one of Disney and Pixar’s most successful and beloved collaborations in theatres. The film is still as funny and charming as it was in 2003. The only drawback of seeing “Nemo” in cinemas again is also the only reason it’s been re-released: The movie has been converted into 3-D.

3-D or no 3-D, the movie is still about a clownfish named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) whose son; Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould) is kidnapped by scuba divers. With the help of Dory, a blue tang with short-term memory loss (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, who steals the movie), Marlin sets out to, you guessed it, find Nemo.

One of the greatest strengths about Pixar is its ability to play to both the parents and the children in the audience. “Finding Nemo” is as good when you’re 19 as it is when you’re 9. The jokes still land and the drama still resonates. “Finding Nemo” is one of those movies that is endlessly quotable: “Fish are friends, not food,” “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way”, and of course, “Just keep swimming.” Like all classic movies, “Nemo” appeals to everybody.

The quality of the film is no surprise considering Pixar’s track record. Since “Toy Story” in 1995, Pixar has churned out classics or near-classics every few years. Recently, the studio’s quality has dipped with films like “Cars 2.” Even the better films such as “Up” and “Brave” are uneven compared to the pitch-perfect storytelling of the late 1990s and early 2000s. To see “Finding Nemo” in a movie theatre is a wonderful reminder of what it’s like to watch a Pixar film for the first time.

Another strength of Pixar is the studio’s artistic integrity. Each film is the result of a collaborative effort between artists who are able to preserve their vision. Pixar films are not made for money; they’re made for an audience.

So it’s too bad that the studio has succumbed to the 3-D trend sweeping cinemas. 3-D doesn’t add much to the moviegoing experience. It’s no longer dependent on the cheesy paper glasses, but it’s still just a gimmick. Movies are converted to 3-D after production in the hopes that it will make more money. “Clash of the Titans” was still bad, even with its fancy new 3-D glasses.

Though it’s been used by marquee directors like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, 3-D still seems more intrusive than anything else. And while the new plastic 3-D glasses are much better than the old pieces of cardboard, they can still give a movie goer a headache. The 3-D affects also make the  film look darker. The 3-D doesn’t hurt the movie, but it doesn’t add anything to it either. “Hugo” and “The Adventures of Tintin” are good movies without the 3-D. With 3-D, they’re still good movies but they leave movie goers needing an aspirin after.

Audiences want a good story when they go to the cinema. The reason Pixar is such a popular studio is because Pixar has always put story first. Unlike DreamWorks Animation, Pixar doesn’t cast famous actors or produce unnecessary sequels. Pixar will only make a vampire movie if they have a great idea for a vampire movie.

Other 3-D sequels are in the making. George Lucas plans to re-release all the entire “Star Wars” series and James Cameron is planning “Avatar” sequels.

“Finding Nemo” is playing at Cinemark Theatre in Hadley. It is being projected in both 3-D and standard formats.

Danny Marchant can be reached at [email protected]