When I first heard “Finding Nemo” was being re-released in 3-D, I was skeptical. Of course, there were a few obvious reasons why it would be a good move on Pixar’s part. It’s the company’s second highest grossing movie after “Toy Story 3,” bringing in more than $339,000,000.
Theoretically, its popularity in 2-D should, to some degree, carry over to a similar popularity in 3-D. Any child of the 90s or 2000s would be eager to relive her or his childhood with the movie that taught the invaluable lesson that fish are friends, not food. In addition, kids who have only seen the film on DVD would want to see Nemo and friends on the big screen, bringing in ticket sales from themselves and their parents.
But what was the catch? Why release it now, when there are bound to be more original Pixar productions in the near future? I could only assume it was a money scheme to milk every last profitable dollar possible from the movie.
I was right, in a way.
Pixar is currently producing a sequel to the 2004 Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature. Although its storyline has barely been hinted at, “Finding Nemo 2″ will be released sometime in 2016. The 3-D version of the original film is a not-so-shameless plug for this continuation, which few people know is even in production.
Remembering a movie from thirteen years ago would be a lot to ask from a crowd with a deteriorating attention span, so “Finding Nemo 3-D” will serve as a convenient refresher to keep the first film’s plot fresh in the audience’s minds. This may be the primary reason why the film was re-released, but there had to have been some additional consideration about the revenue it would gain from the price of a 3-D ticket.
The content of “Finding Nemo 3-D” was exactly the same as the original version released in 2003, complete with its solid plotline, comic relief provided by Dory the loveable blue tang fish and a touching theme about the importance of family. The only difference was the animated short preceding the movie “Toy Story Toons: Partysaurus Rex,” a cute and sporadically funny clip in which Rex from the “Toy Story” movies starts a dance party in a bathtub. It reached out to older audience members with bathtub toys that had characteristics similar to those of Nicki Minaj and LMFAO. I especially appreciated one toy that arrived with a rousing “Whaddup, fishes?!”
As far as the feature presentation went, I enjoyed it as much as I did the dozens of other times I’ve seen it, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. My one problem was that for most of the movie, I forgot I was watching it in 3-D. There are no scenes that really or literally stick out. The closest it got to eye-popping was the barracuda attack on Marlin’s anemone at the beginning of the movie, in which the predator’s teeth momentarily snap at the audience. The computer animation in “Finding Nemo” was unprecedented when it was originally released, but it just doesn’t make for a captivating 3-D movie with today’s technology and audience expectations.
While the 3-D effects were mostly unnoticeable, the digital film print did add a considerable amount of detail not present in the original release. Vibrant colors and defined textures gave life to the underwater creatures. The gills on the fish were particularly life-like. Sunlight reflecting through the waves and tiny particles floating around the water also gave subtle but realistic touches to the scenery. For the most part, the movie seemed more HD than 3-D.
The context of this movie’s release raises the question about the future content of Pixar films. In the foreseeable future, these re-releases seem to be the norm for Pixar. “Monsters, Inc.,” the 2001 animated feature about the lives of two monsters who scare children for a living, will be re-released in 3-D on Dec. 19. Like “Finding Nemo 3-D,” it is being shown to prep audiences for the premiere of “Monsters University,” a prequel about how main characters Mike and Sulley became friends in college, due out in June of next year.
Sequels are notorious for being inferior to their respective original movies. There is a chance these upcoming Pixar films won’t live up to the hype being advertised, despite the company’s successful creations overall. This would be a disappointing blow for the fans, who’ve praised Pixar’s consistent quality over the years. At least the creators would have their profits from the 3-D re-releases.