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Script Review: Finding Nemo 2

Written by: Russell Davidson, CC2K Sports Editor

ImageLet’s get the obvious jokes out of the way so you won’t have to suffer through ’em later.

Finding Nemo 2 should be lost.

No one should look for Finding Nemo 2.

Finding Nemo 2 should be flushed down the loo.

Nemo’s missing? What, again? Just how dumb is this kid?

And so on.

The title’s way off, anyway. In the script by Laurie Craig, it’s not Nemo who must be found, but his dad, Marlin. The story begins with Nemo and Marlin living happily amongst the coral, having survived the original Finding Nemo. Hmmm…I can see them thinking, so where do we go from here? How about we just switch it a little from the first, highly successful film?  Don’t want to stray too far from a winning formula, right? But how can we plausibly have Nemo get lost again and not have it seem too contrived? I got it! We’ll have Marlin get lost. Finding Marlin. A boy’s search for his father. Dynamite!

Ugh. Surely something better than that coulda been thought up. How ‘bout Nemo fights dreaded undersea pirate-fish who want to conquer his hometown? Or Nemo and co. get shot into space when they accidently fall into the wrong tank? Or maybe Nemo and Spongebob team up to save the universe? Hell, give me anything but a mere reversal of the first film, anything but an ultra-predicatable I-wonder-if-Nemo-will-save-his-Dad bit, anything but a whole film of fish jumping from tank to pipe to bucket to drain, trying to “escape,” indeed, anything, but this.

There have to be a few good jokes/gags to redeem this mess, you say? I can’t find any, I say. The joy of the first film, neat supporting characters like the turtles, the sharks, the dentist, cool visuals, and a not-too-obvious moral center dealing with issues such as friendship and family are beaten to death in this sequel, put in front of your face and demanding to be important or cute. You can’t force it, guys. And this screenplay is nothing if not forced.

It even gets worse. Dory, the amusing forgetful fish voiced by Ellen Degeneres in the first film, gets her memory back near the end of 2 (by hitting her head, natch)! Bad choice. Nemo is given a long-lost brother, all the better to spell out issues such as jealousy and inner growth, I guess, but fabricated as all get-out. Another bad choice. Of course, let’s not forget the merchandising, so write in some cutesy animals like polar bears and dolphins, man, gotta get them tie-in stuffed animals stuffed and sold!

Finding Nemo is a great film, and I’ve had it with lousy sequels sullying legacies. No matter how good the original is, bad follow-ups can’t help but to drag down all connected. Rocky. Jaws. Planet of the Apes. The Matrix. Star Wars. The list is endless of sequels that came out only to make money, with no one giving a crap about the art, the quality, the storytelling.

Let’s hope Finding Nemo escapes this same fate, and that Finding Nemo 2 never gets off the paper.