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Dory (left, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) face an ocean of perils in the race to rescue Nemo.
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BY ROGER MOORE
McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
It's the details that stand out whenever a classic film is converted to 3-D.
With "Finding Nemo," the shimmering sea surface, scratches on the lens of a diver's goggles, and smudge marks Nemo the clownfish makes when he mashes his face against the glass wall of the aquarium that imprisons him all pop off the screen in the 3-D reissue of Pixar's undisputed masterpiece.
The fish seem to float between the surface of the screen and deep blue underwater backgrounds of the South Pacific, an effect even more pronounced in 3-D.
Perhaps it's not enough to warrant shelling out 3-D dollars to go see a movie that's long been one of the best-selling home videos. If you have kids, you have this at home. But "Finding Nemo," in theaters nine years after its release, is a reminder that sometimes "instant" and "classic" can go together in a sentence describing a great movie.
"Finding Nemo" is a great movie, one of the best animations for children ever made.
A timid and over-protective single-dad clownfish (Albert Brooks) overprotects his mildly disabled (shrunken fin) only son (voiced by Alexander Gould) to the point where Nemo foolishly rebels and is promptly snatched and tossed into the tank at an Australian dentist's office.
Dad flees the comfort of his reefside sea anemone home, and with the help of a seriously absent-minded blue tang named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), sets out to find him. And the kid, with a tank full of mentors (Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney, Austin Pendleton), plots to get back to dad. It's a simple story, perfectly executed. Especially the voices.
Dory--all comical kvetching, written specifically for DeGeneres and animated around her gestures--steals the movie.
It's a grand quest filled with funny, broadly-drawn but wise characters. And what wonderful messages. No matter what, "just keep swimming." "Trust, it's what friends do." And kids: "You can't hold onto them forever."
So don't think of "Nemo" as just another 3-D conversion. Think of this re-release as an encore, a handy touchstone for you and your kids. "Finding Nemo" was and remains the gold standard against which all other modern animated films are measured, a classic from the day it premiered.
("Nemo" is preceded by the new Pixar "Toy Story" short "Partysaurus Rex," a hilarious dinosaur-out-of-water 'toon about the mild-mannered T-Rex toy (voiced by Mr. Wallace Shawn) who breaks out of his rut.)
FINDING NEMO 3D
STARRING: Voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Geoffrey Rush, Barry Humphries, Bill Hunter
CREDITS: Directed by Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, written by Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds. A Disney Pixar release. Running time: 1:40
THEATERS: Fredericksburg 14, Aquia 10, Marquee Cinemas