Sunday, April 20, 2014

Finding Nemo


The ninth circuit court of appeals giveth as the ninth circuit court of appeals taketh away and so my California gubernatorial campaign is back on and I am happy to say that I feel convinced that the people of this great state will soon be propelling me towards Sacramento with all possible dispatch. Joseph, my manager, noted one small flaw in my campaign - he informed me that I would have to declare my candidacy for a party. I had not been informed of any party and didn't recall having received any invitations to one lately - other than a small affair thrown by Debbie Reynolds as a fundraiser to get her memorabilia collection out of hock. Joseph then explained the concept in a bit further detail so I told him to stop being stupid - I was, of course, the candidate of the glamour party, bringing a sense of style back to public life after all those bad toupees of recent years.

Joseph also informed me that the campaign treasury is a bit lower than it might otherwise be. The bill to have sixteen skywriters write 'Vote MNM and Tap Into Change' in pink smoke over major population centers was a bit more than I had anticipated. I did, however, have a brilliant idea as to how both to rectify that and retire the California budget deficit. We're going to have the people of this great state live up to my mantra and tap into change. All my supporters are to take the change from their dressers and drop it into the specially prepared magenta sequin containers available at any 7-11. All those nickels and dimes should take care of things quite nicely. Those who bring in thirty-five years worth of pennies in an old Sparklett's water cooler jug will, of course, get a signed photo of moi.

As I was envisioning hordes of people descending on the 7-11 with their change in hand, I decided that Tommy, my therapist, and I should do something similar. We didn't need anything at the convenience store so we headed onwards to the Cineplex where we joined the hordes of people milling around the matinee of the new film from Pixar animation, Finding Nemo. Having greatly enjoyed Pixar's other entries in the field such as Monsters Inc. and Toy Story, I thought it might be great fun so we bought a large diet Dr. Pepper and found seats in the fourth row, a little too close to a pair of twin toddlers for my comfort but the auditorium was a little crowded.

I thought at first that the film, from its title, might be some sort of sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but the Nemo of this film is a small clown fish, not a displaced Indian potentate with a fancy submarine. Nemo is the only surviving offspring of Marlin, a nebbishy clown fish with a suburban Long Island outlook on life (beautifully voiced by the always neurotic Albert Brooks). A fairly scary prologue shows how Marlin and Nemo are left alone in their coral reef anemone where Nemo finally grows up enough to need to learn how to school, or some such thing. While off with the other youngsters under the care of a kindly, but slightly addle pated manta ray, Nemo is taken captive by a scuba diver and hauled away, to the horror of Marlin.

Marlin is determined to find his son (whom we find has been relegated to a salt water aquarium in a Sydney dentist's office). He pairs up with Dory (a hysterical Ellen DeGeneres), a blue parrot fish with a never say die attitude and a definite short term memory problem. Together, in order to find Nemo, they brave twelve-stepping sharks, skater boy sea turtles, sea gulls, and the odd pelican or two while Nemo, together with his aquarium pals, plot their escape from their confinement. This is a Disney sponsored family movie so you know, before it even starts, everything's going to come out OK in the end.

Pixar proves once again that it's got the goods in this type of cinematic entertainment. The visuals are spectacular, taking full advantage of the colors and textures of the undersea world. I found myself very much reminded of the undersea sequence in Pinocchio, one of my favorite moments in classical animation. The characters are sharply delineated and, despite all being fish, fully anthropomorphized so even small children will have no trouble keeping who's who straight. Director Andrew Stanton (who also wrote) with his partner Lee Unkrich, use their camera to swoop and whirl with their characters, rather than stay in the proscenium presentational mode of most animated features.

The humor functions on two levels, making this a great family film. The young will be entranced by the funny fish and will understand the quest part of the story. Their parents will get the sly jokes about modern life and parenting, recovery groups, educational theories, and other topics too numerous to mention. Stanton understands innately that the very best in children's entertainment never condescends.

I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but not enough to want to go out and invest in a salt water aquarium. Norman and I once converted the swimming pool into one and it made a mess of the terrazzo. It took me months to have the maid scrape the brine off the patio doors.

Octopus inking. Large scary bioluminescent fish. Bloodlust. Minefield explosion. Lazy jellyfish. Surfer turtles. Horrific five year old. Filter pump jamming. Adventures down the drain. Rolling baggies.

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