Viewed on 09 OCT 03     FINDING NEMO, Disney's latest cartoon feature to hit Bangkok, is geared to all 4 - 10 year-old kids who can whine, or throw tantrums until their parents take them.  This was borne out at yesterday's screening, where there were at least a dozen loveable little Damiens running up and down the aisles pretending to be great white sharks...
Disney obviously meant FINDING NEMO to be an underwater allegory of our topside world - anthropomorphizing attitude rather than physical form.  His main characters could as easily have been The Flintstones' Fred and Thelma, or The Simpsons' Homer & Marge.  And this is part of the problem; Disney couldn't decide whether to play it warm and cozy like Barney Dinosaur, or 'incorrect' like The Simpsons.  Our sub-sea allegory opens as Marlin, the clown fish and his wife move into a brand-new sea anemone way out at the edge of the reef, (read, 'suburbs')... and are immediately ravaged by a barracuda, leaving only Marlin and one egg, of hundreds, uneaten. The egg, Nemo, hatches, and he is a paraplegic with a gimpy right fin - probably congenitally induced by barracuda teeth.  And I feel that both "rage in the suburbs" and "congenital birth defects" are important items on any 4 year-old's curriculum, don't you?
When young, rebellious Nemo is taken by a diver, his dad, Marlin, goes on a worldwide quest with another fish, Dory, to find him.  Dory has Alzheimer's Disease, forgetting almost everything and everyone in her path.  This is very funny, and the audience and other fish spend a great deal of time laughing at her.  Again, vital training for young children - because Alzheimer's in particular, and mental incompetency in general are to be laughed at whenever the opportunity arises, so make sure your 4 year-old understands this thoroughly before leaving the theater.
Nemo, finding himself in a Sydney aquarium, begins to plot a Great Escape with his fellow fish-prisoners.  He finally manages to get himself flushed down the toilet, and ends up in the sewer.  Another valuable parable for our youth - run away from the structured world -out on your own- and you'll end up living in a sewer.  His fellow prisoners also escape in sealed plastic bags while awaiting aquarium cleaning.  They end up floating in the harbor, and as they bob on the surface in their clear plastic bags, they look at each other and ask, "Now, what?"   'Now, what?' indeed, ...now, they will all be dead from a blazing sun and a lack of oxygen within the hour, that's what.  Another allegorical moral for Junior - this time at a visceral level - you mess with 'The Man' and you're dead.  The body count here in FINDING NEMO will be way higher than in, say, The Three Little Pigs - kids will love it.
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