I think Finding Nemo might be the most important film in the history of animation. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best animated film ever or even my favorite, nor does it mean that it did something revolutionary or game-changing when it was released 13 years ago. Instead, its importance stems from how it subtly changed both the type of storytelling in animation and the public perception of the medium. Finding Nemo marked the start of the switch from the view of animation as “kids’ movies” or “cartoons” to a wider and more positive view of the field in general, to the point where animated films are now increasingly the most popular and successful films each year. Before Finding Nemo, most animation was aimed at kids with the hopes that it might entertain adults also, typically through innuendo or adult humor that would go over the heads of younger viewers. Even Pixar’s first outings, as brilliant as they are, followed this trend to a certain extent, breaking technological barriers more than those of storytelling and genre. But Finding Nemo was different. It told a story that never pandered to either kids or adults, but was instead something that could be appreciated by both equally, and it was filled with characters who were relatable no matter your age. It represented a maturity that was entirely new to animation, an understanding that it’s possible to genuinely create a film for everyone without having to make sacrifices to the story, and the emotional depth which can be achieved when the right all of the right ingredients, including plot, character, direction, and most importantly performance, are combined. It kicked off a new era, and it’s no coincidence that three out of the next four Pixar films were The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Wall-E.
I’ve started a new video series and podcast called “All-Reel Drive,” in which I talk about movies while in the car commuting to work. The first episode, split into two parts, is now up on YouTube, and it’s all about the movie news from the D23 Expo! You can watch both episodes embedded below, or scroll further down for the podcast versions you can take on the go. I hope you enjoy it!
The podcast versions of Episode 1A and 1B are embedded below. I’ve also included links to the mp3 files, so you can download them to your computer and then upload them to the portable device of your choice. Simply right-click and choose “Save Link as…” to save it to your computer. (My goal is to eventually have them available on iTunes, but I’m not to that point quite yet.)
All-Reel Drive – Episode 1A – D23 Expo Movie Round-Up – Animation
All-Reel Drive – Episode 1B – D23 Expo Movie Round-Up – Live-Action
Thanks for watching and listening! I’d love to hear what you think!
Whew! Day 1 of the 2015 D23 Expo has come and gone, and I’m exhausted. Today’s main events were the Disney Legends ceremony (which I did not attend, but which featured a surprise appearance by Johnny Depp), and the Disney Animation presentation (which I did attend and was amazing). My day started when I joined the queue for the show floor at 5:15 or so, after getting my guidebook, schedule, and badge holder, and after walking by the Buzz Lightyear balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. D23 allowed people to camp out overnight for the first time this year, and I was probably 600th in line to get on the show floor, though there were relatively few people in line for the Disney Legends ceremony (which supposedly wasn’t full when it started).