Finding Nemo 3D
(Disney • Pixar)

With the recent news of a planned Finding Nemo sequel, it only seemed fitting that the classic animated children's movie was being re-released to the big screen—in 3-D, of course.

For the uninitiated, Finding Nemo is a stunning underwater adventure with memorable characters, humor and heartfelt emotion. The 2003 Academy Award-winning Best Animated Feature follows the comedic and momentous journey of an overly protective clownfish named Marlin (voice by Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Alexander Gould)—who become separated in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken far from his ocean home and dumped into a fish tank in a dentist's office in Australia.

Buoyed by the companionship of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a friendly-but-forgetful Pacific regal blue tang, Marlin embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic effort to rescue his son—who hatches a few daring plans of his own to return safely home.

Is it really possible to make something new out of something old? When I first saw the movie, it was in a theater with my 3-year-old son, who is now 11. We loved it. We bought the DVD. It played daily for what seemed like forever—if you catch my drift.

When I heard about Finding Nemo 3D, my first reaction was to roll my eyes and think, “Guess somebody needs to pay some bills over at Pixar.” But since I have a 5-year-old daughter who had only seen it on the small screen, I figured she'd enjoy a date with daddy—no matter what was showing. Basically, I felt ambivalent about the whole thing.

Like I said before, I've seen Finding Nemo. A lot. I would even venture to say hundreds of times. But I was not ready for the visual feast that leapt off the screen. Color. Light. Depth. Realism. Yes, it was still animated, but wow!

Because of my familiarity with the original, I kept noticing things that were changed for the better. The colors appeared more vibrant. There were new details everywhere. This movie was probably the best adaptation to 3-D I've ever seen. I felt as if I had never seen the movie before. Yes, the story was familiar, but there was such newness that I was riveted to the screen. And I think I know why.

For anyone who has dived with scuba gear, a snorkel or even just some goggles, you know there is a difference in the way light and distance look underwater as compared to the open air. Pixar was able to capitalize on that difference in 3-D and the result was wonderful in a movie that's primarily based underwater.

Scenes at the ocean reef were spectacular and alive with layers of life. Even better was the fish tank—I felt I was looking into an actual fish tank. As Willy Wonka said about his flavored wallpaper, “The strawberries taste like strawberries and the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!” Finding Nemo 3D just seemed more real!

Rated G, Finding Nemo 3D does have moments of peril and danger that the smaller set may find frightening. There are minor hints of mild language, but none that a child will probably take note of.

Do I think you should take your kids to see this reboot of a great animated flick? Absolutely. I also think it may be fun as a light-hearted date-night movie. You'll spend the whole movie whispering to each other as you see new things. So “grab shell, dude,” and change that old memory into a new memory.

Alan Mowbray is a husband, father of two children and technical writer for an Orlando, Fla., area software company. Click here to visit his blog.

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