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my review of the R1 Finding Nemo DVD!

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my review of the R1 Finding Nemo DVD!

Old 10-21-03, 08:16 PM
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my review of the R1 Finding Nemo DVD!

i was fortunate enough to get the R1 Finding Nemo DVD today and since there aren't too many reviews of it out there, i thought i'd give my favorite DVD message board a look at what to expect.


VIDEO
it's a digital-to-digital transfer, so naturally it looks absolutely fantastic. it looks as eye-poppingly gorgeous like it did in the theaters - if not even better since it's an all digital transfer that has no scratches or cigarette burns a regular theatrical copy might have. everything's just absolutely perfect. the only thing i noticed that seemed strange was this light "cloud" surrounding Marlin and Coral in the opening sequence. i assume it's intended (it's definitely not edge enhancement or halos so don't worry) but it looked rather strange and i don't remember if it was there when i saw it in the theater. it probably was.


AUDIO
i don't even have a 5.1 setup, but i don't think i even need to even bother with trying to review it. i'm sure sound designer/mixer Gary Rydstrom once again delivers a fantastic soundtrack that'll sound just as good at home as it did in theaters. disc 1 (widescreen) only has a english 5.1 track, while the fullscreen version on disc 2 is supported by french and spanish 5.1 soundtracks in addition to the english track. both discs also have english, french and spanish subtitles, even for the extras.


EXTRAS

DISC 1
Making Nemo documentary
this is a 25-minute piece about the making of the film. apparently this film was the first Pixar feature where they had a documentary crew tag along for the entire making of the film. to be honest, it's a bit of a disappointment that they only ended up with a 25-minute piece that just tells us the most basic of basics about it's making. it would've been very welcome if it could've been much longer and more in-depth.

Visual Commentary
however, thankfully in addition to the basic documentary we get this fantastic visual commentary track that meshes the traditional audio commentary with a multitude of video snippets on various topics from how certain effects were created, audio outtakes and deleted scenes (in storyboard form). Pixar commentaries have always been terrific and this one takes it a step further, giving us a 2 hour and 16 minute experience both visually and sonically. the three doing the audio commentary track even play out what a bad audio commentary sounds like! i cannot praise this commentary enough, and thankfully it adds a lot that i wanted to see more of in the making of documentary. all the video snippets can also be accessed from the menu where you can view your favorite bits individually or through a play all function!

Design Galleries
this is divided into four sections. first we have the Art Review, which is a 7-minute video collage of various artwork, sketches and such that can be viewed either set to music or with the commentary from three of the main artists that worked on the film. Characters features short video clips of most of the characters featured in the film and thankfully they can all be viewed at once with a play all feature that adds up to about 6 minutes or so. these were a bit strange though, as they mainly featured the clay maquette spinning around instead of sketches and concept designs of the characters. those are shown too, but in the background. personally, i'm far more interested in concepts and sketches of how the character evolved than a clay maquette without any details or colors. Environments features more traditional galleries (the clicking kind) and is divided up in three parts: "Reef", "Ocean" and "Harbor". lastly, there's a Color Scripts gallery that plays by itself and for that we shall be thankful as it is said to feature some 300 images!

Virtual Aquariums
this feature can be accessed from a list in the bonus materials section, or through an icon that is visible on the menu pages where the background can be turned into a virtual aquarium. clicking the icon will fade away the menu options and all there's left is the background, animating. it may be not the most useful extra ever created, but it's pretty nice to view and listen to in the background.


DISC 2
Exploring the Reef
disc 2 is mainly for kids, but don't miss this hilarious 7-minute "documentary" featuring famed oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau as he tries to explain why we must start caring about the environment as we are killing the reefs. he is however interrupted by a certain curious cute little blue tang fish, who just loves the camera. not only is this mini-documentary absolutely hysterical, but in the end it also does speak a lot of truths about what we're doing to the environment, sending a positive message to the kids that'll watch this, and the adults too hopefully. this feature can also (for some reason) be accessed from the main menu.

Knick Knack
clicking this allows us to watch Pixar's 1989 short film Knick Knack either with or without commentary by director John Lasseter and some other guy i forgot the name of. the sad part is that it's the heavily modified version though, and not the original 1989 version. you see, in 1989 the girls in it had gigantic (i mean GIGANTIC) bosoms, and now in 2003 they don't. the reason they decided to lose the boobs was that back then they were young, single men with a one-track mind, and now, nearly 15 years later they are married with kids. while i understand why they did it, this change does make the film lose much of it's comedy though so it's a shame they didn't include the original version as an easter egg (i looked). you can also watch Knick Knack straight from the main menu, but only the non-commentary one.

Mr. Ray's Encyclopedia
again, as this disc is mainly for kids there really isn't too much here to find for us adults. here you'll find short video footage of the actual fish/animal with Mr. Ray doing his best to give us a short humorous description of it. thankfully, all of them can be viewed at once with a play all function so you don't have to click each one individually.

Fisharades
this is a simple charades game that can either be played as a one or two player game. it's simply the school of fish slowly positioning themselves to match a figure that you'll have to pick before time runs out. sadly, there is no prize at the end of the game, but Dory frequently comes in and gives a little funny comment so it may be worth playing it for that reason.

Storytime
again, just for kids. i didn't really look at this much at all. you (or your kid) can either read it to themselves, or read it with the help of a narrator.

Behind the Scenes
here you'll find three sections of "behinds the scenes" material. the Studio Tour featurette follows young Alexander Gould (who voiced Nemo) as he tours the various departments at Pixar Studios and learns how they make their films. it's basically the same kind of thing as the stuff on the Monsters, Inc. DVD with the Pixar people goofing off in front of the camera. Character Interviews are like the ones from the Toy Story DVDs and has a human interviewing Dory, Marlin and Nemo. once more, Dory manages to get us to laugh and laugh again. finally, Publicity features the teaser trailer, three standard theatrical trailers, three "fishy facts" trailers and a gallery of posters and other publicity items (lobby cards, billboards, etc.).

Virtual Aquariums
just like disc 1, disc 2 also comes with virtual aquariums, although there are far more of them on disc 1. these can either be accessed directly from a list or through the icons in the menus.

Sneak Peeks
some of these are shown before the main menu on disc 2 start, and some aren't. here you'll find the teaser trailer for the next Pixar film The Incredibles, a trailer for Disney's next animated film Home on the Range that also comes out next year, the teaser trailer for The Lion King 1 (same as the one on the DVD for The Lion King), trailers for Spy Kids 3D and Santa Clause 2 and a trailer for three Special Edition Disney DVDs coming out next year: Alice in Wonderland, Lilo & Stitch and Pocahontas.


EASTER EGGS
don't read any further if you want to hunt for these yourself. also, i can't guarantee that these are all the easter eggs, but these are all the ones that i found after an extensive search.

DISC 1
Dory and Bruce
first, go to bonus features then click on the visual commentary. in the visual commentary menu, highlight the aquarium icon then press UP on your remote. this will highlight a green fish icon and if you click it you'll get to see a little snippet of Dory and Bruce.

Bruce Talks About Greed
find your way to the visual commentary menu, then click on the index. inside the index, highlight the play all option and press LEFT. once again, a green fish icon will appear and if you click it you'll hear Bruce talk about greed.

Bruce's Pledge
go to the bonus features menu. once there, highlight the aquarium icon and press LEFT. if you click on the green fish icon, you'll get to hear Bruce's pledge that you should all follow.

Bruce Explains the Aquariums
find your way to the virtual aquariums list. highlight the one at the bottom entitled "Sandy Reef" then press DOWN. a green fish icon will appear at the top center of the screen and if you click on it, you'll hear Bruce explain how the aquarium feature works.

The Egg That Wasn't There
from the main menu, click on the setup option. highlight the subtitles option, then press LEFT. once again, a green fish icon will appear and if you click on this one, sadly, Bruce will just tell you that there is no easter egg there.


DISC 2
Dory Wants Out
first, find your way to the bonus features menu. click on behind the scenes, then move to highlight the studio tour featurette. if you press UP and click on the icon (yes, it's a green fish) that appears you'll see a short clip of Dory wanting to come out of your tv.

Dory and the Mammals
this time, head for the encyclopedia. once there, keep your selection on the return arrow and press DOWN. a little green fish will appear in the top left corner and if you click on it, you'll once again get to see Dory, although this time she's looking at some mammals looking at her.

Aqua Scum 2003
go to the bonus features. in that menu, highlight the return arrow (back to the main menu) and press DOWN on your remote. the little green fish icon you've come to love by now will once again appear and if you click on it, you'll be shown an advertisment for the Aqua Scum 2003.


PACKAGING / MENUS
like the recent re-release of the A Bug's Life 2-disc set, Finding Nemo comes with a slipcase that shimmers (it shimmers just like water.. everyone say "ooooh!"). very nice! inside the slipcase you'll find a standard keepcase (the type with the flap for the second disc). open up the case and you'll find a little booklet that describes the main extras, a menu guide to where everything can be found and chapter listings on the back. the menus on the discs are of the traditional animated sort. the background flow with the water and such. also, disc 1's main menu has Dory and Marlin talking quite a bit and it's very funny so stick around the main menu for a while.


FINAL THOUGHTS
while the extras may not be as plentiful as previous Pixar DVDs, this is a fine 2-disc set and the visual commentary is a superb extra that every Pixar geek must view. the video and audio quality is simply outstanding, and so is the movie. this is a no-brainer.

Last edited by Grizzly; 10-22-03 at 06:16 PM.
Old 10-21-03, 08:22 PM
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note to the moderators.. i saw there was another review thread for this disc, but i ask you.. please don't merge this thread with it.. i put a lot of work into this review so i'd appreciate it if it wasn't merged in with another thread but gets to stay in it's own and on top of it too.

thanks.
Old 10-22-03, 05:12 PM
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Merging sorts threads by timestamp, not preference. If I merge the threads, your post, from what I understand, will be placed at the bottom. I'll leave it broken out for now.
Old 10-22-03, 06:09 PM
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ctyner,

that's what i meant.. i didn't want it to end up at the bottom (eventually in the middle) of another thread.

thanks!
Old 10-22-03, 06:17 PM
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i watched the visual commentary in full today, so i've updated the review accordingly.
Old 10-25-03, 12:06 PM
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I caught this in the theater last night and I have to say the breast reduction is pretty silly as it's fairly clear the snowman is a little horndog. I don't think a pair of moster mamm's is going to really warp kid's minds any more than that would.

Still a good flick, though it didn't seem to hit all the right notes as all of Pixar's previous efforts.

I'll be picking this DVD up no questions.
Old 10-25-03, 12:28 PM
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Never saw it, but I'm gonna blind buy it most likely. Sounds like a great video transfer.

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