Finding Nemo 3D
This pattern of re-releasing Disney and Pixar classics in 3-D is almost a great idea. I qualify it with the almost, of course, because of the 3-D part. "Finding Nemo" is the latest film from the House of Mouse to get the third dimension reissue, and indeed, Pixar’s 2003 classic is just as great as you remember it. The emotion still sings, the compositions still exhilarate, and the smooth Ocean renderings still amaze. It’s all just a little bit dimmer.
The thing is, I love the general idea of these things. There’s such an influx of kids’ products on the market today, and such a lack of quality at the same time. Disney has an everlasting treasure trove of classics that could be rereleased, introducing kids to both the classics and, hopefully, the theatrical experience itself. And there are plenty of us well beyond our adolescence who wouldn’t mind paying to see everything from "WALL*E" and "Sleeping Beauty" to "A Bug’s Life" and "The Aristocats" on the big screen one more time.
The problem is that the 3-D itself ruins everything you’ve come to love about these pictures. I’m not even the biggest "Nemo" fan (I love it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s certainly not my favorite Pixar film) and even I had the cool blues of that ocean and the vibrant oranges of our titular fish burned into my mind ten years ago. What you see here, under your glasses, are not the same colors; it’s not the same film. I can’t imagine how disheartened the animators, who spent years getting every tiny detail of the palette correct, must feel about this treatment.
And the 3-D is hardly noticeable here. I won’t deny that some films have used it well ("Paranorman" comes to mind,) but in the case of this particular reissue, it’s a marketing scheme, not an "immersive experience". It’s crass, and to me the cardboard cut-out style appearance totally robs the film of its ever-so-smooth sense of movement. It’s a shadow of my original memory of the film - it feels more like something you’d see at Disneyland than at the Multiplex. I appreciate the possibilities, just not the execution.
However, the reissue does give you one thing the 2003 version lacked. Another "Toy Story" short film from the team at Pixar Canada (they’ve preceded "The Muppets" and "Tangled" already,) "Partysaurus Rex" plays before all screenings of the new "Nemo" - and it absolutely tears the house down. When Rex the toy dinosaur gets labeled a "party-pooper," he decides to make a new name for himself, and a move to the ’bathtub play area’ is the perfect opportunity.
So look, it goes without saying that "Finding Nemo" is wonderful. We all know that. You know the story, you know that Albert Brooks is a master comedian perfectly rendered as a clownfish, you know that Ellen DeGeneres finds a way to be over-the-top without being grating, and you know that any kids in tow are going to adore it. The question is whether you’re willing to spend $12+ to see a dimmer version of an old movie that you spend $8 to see ten years ago (seriously, the nicest thing I can say about the 3-D is that the custom Nemo glasses are pretty funny.)
If you can find a theater exhibiting the film in 2-D, then it’s one of the best options at the multiplex today. But otherwise, it’s a great movie, at an exorbitant price, with presentation that leaves much to be desired. 2-D options notwithstanding, I think I’d wait for the Blu-ray.