Finding Nemo is one of the cleverest films that I've seen. It combines brilliant animation with a great story and terrific voices to present an experience that works on many different levels.
The film starts off in a depressing manner, depicting a barracuda finishing off the wife of a struggling clown fish and all but one of their 300 future children. The father, Marlin (Albert Brooks), treasures the lone surviving egg and raises it in a spoilt manner. The egg grows into a spunky young lad named Nemo (Alexander Gould). In his first day of school, as he is proving his courage, Nemo is fishnapped by a dentist/diver. Thus begins the premise of the film: Nemo's father goes from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney to rescue Nemo who is trapped in an aquarium in the dentist's office and trying to get out.
The animation is excellent, and the voices, which is what make or break such a film, are incredible. The fish speaking was as natural as anything I've seen in the real world.
In the film, there's a fish, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), who has a short-term memory problem. A premise like that might not seem to be worth much, but the filmmakers get a lot out of mileage out it, coming up with jokes in a creative manner. There are several other things that are hilarious, including the mellow sea turtles, the whale-speak episode, the fish-eating sea gulls, the sharks who've vowed to not eat fish, and the co-inhabitants of the aquarium in which Nemo finds himself in. There are a lot of lines in the film that'll stick in your head, particularly the ones uttered by Dory (though my favourite character was Crush (Andrew Stanton), the sea turtle).
The plot is set in a typical action-movie fashion, where both Marlin and Nemo end up in a series of adventures, including first reading the diver's snorkel mask to find out the address where Nemo is likely to be held, battling a horde of jellyfish and traversing the East Australian Current, and finally end up in Sydney Harbour.
It's hard to describe in words what a great film Finding Nemo is. I definitely recommend checking it out on the big screen. Worth the full price of admission.