There are many reasons to purchase a DVD. The best is that its film that you want to see on a regular basis and the other best, work with me here, is that the bonus features do more than just pad out the empty space on the disc. FINDING NEMO more than qualifies on both counts.
I am not going to analyze why an animated comedy about a father clownfish searching the vast oceans for his son is so compelling. Or why the heart-tugging, death-defying nature of the dangers father and son face separately and together lend themselves so well to the off-beat humor. If such things could be reduced to a formula, every flick would be a hit. Suffice to say that if you love NEMO the first time, you will love it even more the umpteenth partly for the dazzling and meticulous animation that is a riot of color and imagination, but mostly for writing. It respects the characters while giving them fully rounded personalities, and it respects the audience, letting us laugh at the jokes while still caring deeply for everyone, even Dorrie, voiced with loopy charm by Ellen Degeneres, the most engagingly annoying character ever to grace the screen.
The digital transfer is dazzling. Theres just no other word for the bursts of incandescent color that explodes on the screen. As for the bonus features, the bar has been raised. The commentary track by co-director and co-writer Andrew Stanton, co-director Lee Unkrich, and co-writer Bob Peterson provide the back story not just of what appears in the original feature, but also deleted scenes that are seen, not just described, as are some of the actors recording their lines, earlier animated ideas for story structure, characters, a clip from A BUG’S LIFE that shows how the filmmakers started to understand the best way to present nature in an animated film, and a perfectly revelatory moment as Stanton acts out one of the scenes himself. Another plus to the commentary track is that with the films dialogue muffled to accommodate the filmmakers narration, the astute body language with which the animators have imbued these sea creatures, the subtle nuances in even the broadest humor, comes to the fore to be appreciated in all its glory.
Another point to note is that while those three talk us knowledgably through the technicalities of the production process, theyre also obviously having a very good time hanging out together, making wisecracks generally joking around. Nothing else in the commentary so perfectly demonstrates why NEMO is such a good film. With these guys in charge, it couldnt have happened any other way. It also makes the commentary, like the film, worth more than one look, if for nothing else their reminiscences about the horrors of creating virtual jellyfish.
FINDING NEMO is as perfect a film as there is in this world. It tackles all the big subjects, love, family, friendship, courage. Its also funny as all get out. No DVD is more deserving of a place in anyones permanent film library.