Few family movies have captured the tension fathers feel between protecting their children and allowing them to test their boundaries as successfully as Disney/Pixar's modern classic Finding Nemo. First released in 2003, the second-highest-grossing Pixar film of all time (behind Toy Story 3) could re-take the top spot with its re-release in 3D.
Emotionally scarred by a family tragedy, a clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) guards his son Nemo (Alexander Gould) with almost neurotic intensity. Feeling suffocated by his father's overbearing presence, Nemo defiantly swims far beyond his limits and ends up being captured by a diver and motored away to Sydney. A frantic Marlin forces himself to break out of his safety shell and, aided by a blue Regal Tang fish with short-term memory loss named Dory (Ellen Degeneres), goes to extraordinary lengths to find his son.
As with all of the great Pixar films, Finding Nemo (rated G) works as well for adults as it does for children. While Marlin wrestles with the age-old parenting dilemma of how to let his son grow while keeping him reasonably safe, Nemo learns about the real threats the world holds while gaining respect for his father's protectiveness and a growing sure-footed (or in this case, sure-finned) confidence in his own abilities. As the surfer turtle sage Crush puts it to Marlin, "You never really know [when they're ready], but when they know, you'll know, y'know?"
The 3D effects do not add much to the viewing experience, though children may find some of the water effects enjoyable. On one occasion, my 6-year-old son delightedly exclaimed, "Hey, water's in my eyes!"
Screening before the film is a hilarious new Toy Story short, Partysaurus Rex, in which Bonnie leaves Rex in the bathtub with all her other bath toys. Rex discovers that being the only toy in the tub with hands makes him very popular, as he is the only toy who can turn on the water and start a "dance party" that quickly grows out of control.