Finding Nemo

The annoying thing about living in the Hollywood area is that Walt Disney owns the El Capitan theatre on Hollywood Blvd., and whenever one of their animated features is released, they show it there – charging at least $15 for it – and make it otherwise unavailable in the vicinity. You have to travel out to the burbs to see it at a decent price (I refuse to hand over $15 to Disney if I can help it). Since the burbs around Los Angeles are depressing, I finally saw Finding Nemo back home in San Jose, more than a month after it opened.

It was worth the wait, of course: This is another nearly-flawless computer animated adventure from Pixar, standing apart from their previous work for being perhaps their most visually beautiful film, as well as the first to not have Randy Newman as composer – which fortunately saves us from another of his insipid "You Got a Friend in Me"-type songs – but his talented cousin Thomas (who won an Oscar for American Beauty) instead.

The result is a more sophisticated yet still kid-friendly movie about a neurotic clownfish (voiced by Albert Brooks, king of the neurotics) who teams up with a dingbat blue tang (Ellen DeGeneres) to track down his son Nemo, after Nemo is swiped from the sea and dumped into a tank inside a Sydney dental office. Stanton and crew display boundless imagination, mining every possible story idea they can. Finding Nemo is chock full of smart, surprising details.

You know, folks, sometimes it may seem that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but there are two things we should be very grateful for having right now: Trader Joe's supermarkets and Pixar cartoons.