Nemo’s father embarks upon an amazing adventure in the hopes of rescuing his son. Marlin fights sharks, jelly fish and even a giant whale. He surfs the waves with sea turtles and rides in a pelican’s mouth to escape hungry seagulls. He is nearly eaten or killed numerous times, but gets his happy ending and even makes a good friend in the process. And that is what the writer’s want you to focus on at the end of this film. What they want you to have Dori-like memory on is the tragic ending of 5 characters who were a truly integral part to both the plot and character progression of the story: the fish tank crew.
When Nemo first encounters this group, their leader Gill only sees him as a means to an end. A chance to escape. Yet over the course of Nemo’s short stay, the entire crew adopts him and do everything they can to protect him. While Nemo’s courage to escape is fueled by the news of his Dad’s rescue plan, the idea and skills needed to accomplish this feat come from his new family. Although, not intended, Nemo drains to safety leaving everyone in his wake carrying with him only the lessons he learned while in the tank. He uses these almost immediately to rescue Dori when she is caught in the fisherman’s net. We instantly become engulfed in this new adventure for Nemo and quickly forget those that were left behind. But then something strange happens…
We get a quick glimpse of the fish tank crew floating beside the dock in their sealed plastic bags just outside of the Dentist’s office window. While the last lines from these characters are whimsical, it is overshadowed by how truly dire their situation is. Not only are they trapped in an enclosed space with minimal amounts of water for breathing, they are also terribly exposed to any number of predators including the seagulls that cover the aforementioned dock. Instead of the happy ending vibe we are all supposed to feel, I tend to get a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Like being excited for the safe return of Private Ryan but also feeling the sadness over the loss of all the men that died to make his rescue possible. You know, for a story about a clown fish, that ending isn’t very funny.
(NOTE: This post was written before the sequel, Finding Dori, is released in case the crew is part of the new cast.)
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