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'Finding Nemo 3D' review: Good film, bad effects

The 2003 Disney-Pixar favorite, about an overprotective clown

The 2003 Disney-Pixar favorite, about an overprotective clown fish (voiced by Albert Brooks) and his young son (Alexander Gould) is released Sept. 14 in 3-D. Credit: Pixar

The Oscar-winning animated feature "Finding Nemo" doesn't need to fish for compliments: Newly rereleased in 3-D, the 9-year-old Disney/ Pixar marvel about a single-father clown fish searching for his son is a welcome sight on the big screen, where you can feel the undiminished immensity of the ocean and the bulk of a whale in a way TV can't touch.

That alone could be reason to take the tykes, even without the third dimension or the gem of a new "Toy Story" short, "Partysaurus Rex." And a parent may not even have much choice in the matter, once his or her kid gets wind of all this and begs to go. But since mom and dad are still the ones paying the premium for 3-D, is it worth the trip?

The story itself and the vocal performances argue for yes. Albert Brooks makes the frantic dad's anguished desperation visceral in a way kids may not immediately appreciate but remains a gut-punch to parents. Ellen DeGeneres as the dotty sidekick he acquires after a diver captures his son, Nemo (Alexander Gould), gives seemingly offhand comments emotional soul.

Would that the 3-D were up to this sterling level. The slight murkiness endemic to much 3-D isn't a problem with the ocean scenes, where most of the film takes place. But those are precisely the scenes in which the movie's lovely, shaded palette often becomes solarized -- burned and overexposed-looking. Removing the 3-D glasses reveals perfectly nice, smooth colors on-screen, so there's the culprit.

Meanwhile, showing before "Nemo" is that marvelous 61 / 2-minute "Toy Story" short. The nervous T. rex, Rex (Wallace Shawn), learns that while he may be a party pooper with his friends, he's a party animal with the bathtub toys of young Bonnie, the little girl at the end of "Toy Story 3." Briskly suspenseful, with great music and vocal characterizations, this third "Toy Story Toons" makes you hope Disney will change its mind and put a "Toy Story 4" on track.

PLOT A timid clown fish defies ocean dangers to find his missing son.


CAST Voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould


PLAYING AT Area theaters

BOTTOM LINE Classic movie, not-so-great 3-D, but there's also a terrific new Pixar short.


Alexander Gould's small world

It may be hard to reconcile the two roles, but the child actor who voiced young Nemo, Alexander Gould, now plays the slightly sociopathic middle son, Shane Botwin, on the Showtime comedy "Weeds," which ends its eight-season, 101-episode run Sunday at 10 p.m.

And in a second odd connection, Albert Brooks, who voiced Nemo's dad, played Shane's grandfather in four episodes of the show.

"I didn't meet him during the recording" of "Finding Nemo," Gould, 18, says. "We met a couple of times briefly when we were doing press for the movie. I didn't think I'd meet him again, and then a few years later he was on 'Weeds' with me."

Brooks remembered the small fry, says Gould, who's been an actor since he was 2. "It's neat to see what a small world the whole industry is at that level and to work with such great actors multiple times," he says, sounding like the practiced veteran he is.

Now that "Weeds" is done, next for Gould is a vacation in Israel and, at some point, he says: "I'm probably heading off to college. I'm not sure where yet. I'm looking at places." For now, "I'm taking a break, just being a kid for a while, and let's see where I go from here."

-- Frank Lovece

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