The first time I saw Finding Nemo on the big screen was nine years ago when my husband and I were touring Wales. We’d stopped in Cardiff for a few nights and decided to pop out and see a movie in the town centre, and of all the choices available at the box office, the latest Disney animated spectacular was clearly the outstanding option. This was in an old life pre-kids, but the great thing about Disney (in case you hadn’t noticed) was that you don’t need to be a kid to fall in love with a Disney film. We figured that Finding Nemo was a pretty safe bet.
I still remember the moment when the cinema lights quietly dimmed and the very first screen image faded up from black, illuminating a window into the dazzling metropolis that sparkles just beneath the surface of our very own Great Barrier Reef. It took my breath away; I don’t think I had ever seen anything so majestic, so gloriously bright and colourful. In fact, I struggled to remember if the Reef itself looked anywhere near as striking during the many visits I had enjoyed there as a child.
From that opening frame I was entranced. Spellbound. And to this day I still marvel about the effect seeing this film had on me at the time. But even though it did make me homesick, it also made for some great “I can speak Wa-hales” jokes during the rest of our holiday.
Three kids later and I reckon I’ve seen Finding Nemo on DVD more times than I could count, so I wasn’t sure how significant seeing that so-familiar film on the big screen again would be. But wow – who knew that magic could strike twice? Now in 3D, Finding Nemo is even more beautiful, more breathtaking, and more detailed than I’d have dreamed. Everything is so vibrant and vivid that it feels like you’re watching it from a submarine or a glass-bottomed boat. Of all the times I’ve seen this film I have never felt so close to the action – especially when Bruce made his rather ominous appearance!
The best part of seeing Finding Nemo was meeting up with a friend and his family who were taking their daughter to the cinema for the very first time. They weren’t sure how she would handle the cinema experience – sitting still for so long, or being overwhelmed by the size of the screen – but she was transfixed from start to finish. I didn’t say it to them at the time, but Finding Nemo had a poignant effect on me when I saw it for the first time all those years ago. Deep down I hope that one day their little girl will look back and remember the magic she felt when she saw the first frame of her first film at the cinema for the first time. I hope and wonder that one day she will look back on the experience and remember just how much seeing Finding Nemo captivated her, just as it once captured the little girl inside me.