I went up to Pixar and saw Finding Nemo 3D and discuss my impressions and speak with co-director Lee Unkrich and the stellar stereoscopic team for my TOH/Indiewire column. It platforms theatrically Sept. 14 at the El Capitan and elsewhere before surfacing Dec. 4 on Blu-ray & Blu-ray 3D from Disney Home Entertainment). It’ll be interesting to see how the nine-year-old Nemo performs in light of Disney racking up a record $94.2 million for The Lion King (in 3D) last year and Titanic 3D generating $57.8 million this year.
I was reminded what a great movie Nemo is. It really was a touchstone for Pixar, not only because of its breathtaking animation (I remember how hard they worked to get the ocean and the coral and the particulate and the jelly fish), but also because of its daring storytelling. Nemo is truly Pixar’s Bambi, the way it opens with the death of the mother and all of Nemo’s siblings, leaving poor, neurotic Marlin (Albert Brooks) on his own to raise his lone offspring. It’s funny (Ellen DeGeneres steals the movie as the wacky, memory-impaired blue tang, Dory) and touching and essentially paved the way for Wall-E, Up, and Brave. No wonder it resonated so deeply with audiences.
And Nemo’s tailor-made for 3-D: you’re that much closer to the action in this Lost in the Ocean adventure brilliantly designed by Ralph Eggleston; the sense of beauty is richer and more dynamic and immersive. It’s all about bringing greater intensity to the staging and depth that are already present and everything is heightened in 3-D, particularly the particulate, which had to be stereoscopically fine tuned.