Pixar continue their quite remarkable run of form with the enchanting underwater adventure, 'Finding Nemo', a film unparalleled in terms of technical excellence, but one which is imbued with a healthy sense of its own importance. Never condescending to its audience, 'Finding Nemo' looks stunning, but what makes it so exquisite is the genuine care and thought which has been put into the screenplay. It's deceptively simple but deftly layered with ingenuous nuance, splendid wit and - dare I say it - emotional complexity.
The Nemo who lends his name to the title is an excitable little Monkfish who lives with his fretful father Marlin (Albert Brooks). Despite having a damaged fin and an overzealous parent, Nemo yearns for adventure, a desire which leads to his capture by a diver. His new home is in the office of a Sydney dentist, where he and his fellow finned friends, led by the indomitable Gill (Dafoe in a neat vocal performance) dream of escape back to the ocean. Marlin 'hooks up' (sorry, couldn't resist) with a forgetful blue tang named Dory (DeGeneres) and ventures off to rescue his boy.
Although adhering quite rigidly to the three act structure (a formula that Pixar have utilised in all of their features so far), 'Finding Nemo' still manages to feel fresh and engaging. They might do the essentials brilliantly, but it's the touches which makes 'Finding Nemo' such a remarkable piece of work. Inspired comic set pieces with monosyllabic seagulls, sharks with addictive personalities and stoner turtles are pure gold and are delivered with such enthusiasm and charm that it becomes impossible not to be bowled over the film. How Pixar have managed to remain so creatively endearing is a mystery. But it's a glorious one. Others studios should take note.