Disney recently re-released the Pixar favorite, "Finding Nemo" back into theaters giving it the 3D treatment that they have been giving other modern classics like "Beauty and the Beast" and “The Lion King.” While the 3D images are beautiful, there can be no denying that this was a great film to begin with and the new bells and whistles were hardly needed. Still, it certainly provides a great excuse to expose little ones to the wonder of this story in a theater setting rather than at home on the small screen.
“Finding Nemo” was originally released in 2003 where is received many positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was the second highest-grossing film that year, just behind “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” The film has been so popular, that two theme park attractions have been built around the story at Disneyland and Disney’s EPCOT in Florida and a sequel is in the works with a release date planned for 2016.
Like many of the other Dinsey/Pixar films, “Finding Nemo” is more than a story that both children and adults can relate to. It is a film that shares truth. Though not intentional, many of the movie’s mini messages go hand-in-hand with scripture, especially Proverbs. Here are just a few gems that can be mined from this flick:
Topic: Worry and Fear
Verse: “But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:33 (NIV)
Nemo, a clownfish, lives alone with his father Marlin in the Great Barrier Reef. His mother died before he was hatched, for which Marlin experiences deep guilt. Though not his fault, Marlin’s wife, Coral, was attacked by a barracuda. Vowing not to have his son suffer the same fate as his mother, Marlin is extremely over-protective of Nemo. It doesn’t help that Nemo was born with one fin smaller than the other. That causes Nemo to have some limited swimming ability and only convinces Marlin all the more that he can never leave Nemo’s sight or something terrible will happen to him.
Living in fear of “what could happen” is no way for any of us to live. It is hard sometimes for us to trust God to protect us and our loved ones when we see bad things happen all around us. However, who can take care of our children better, us or God?
Verse: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
Nemo is not as handicapped as his father thinks he is. He wants to go to school with the other fish, but Marlin is so convinced that Nemo will get hurt, he babies the poor guy. After being embarrassed by his dad, Nemo tries to prove to Marlin that he can take care of himself by swimming toward a boat in the distance, disobeying Marlin in the process. The result? He gets captured by a scuba-diving dentist.
While it’s true that Nemo has an over-bearing father, it doesn’t give the little fish permission to disobey him and risk his life by doing something so dangerous. Getting oneself killed hardly proves that you can take care of yourself.
Verse: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” Proverbs 17:1 (NIV)
After unsuccessfully saving Nemo from being captured, Marlin meets Dory, a Regal Tang fish with short-term memory loss. The two couldn’t be more opposite. Marlin is a worry wart, Dory’s philosophy is to “just keep swimming.” Marlin is pessimistic, Dory is optimistic. Marlin is cautious, Dory is free-thinking. This is a very unlikely pairing to be sure, but in time, the two develop a strong bonding friendship and perhaps even a romance? It’s a cliché, but the two complete each other.
Back on land, some couples split from each other, convinced that they are so opposite from the other that they no longer make a good pair. While the pairing might not be perfect, the two are probably better with each other rather than being more “perfect” without the other.
Verse: “A fool does his foolish act again like a dog that turns back to what he has thrown up.” Proverbs 26:11 (NCV)
One of the funniest moments in “Finding Nemo” is the scene where a group of “fishaholic” sharks meet in attempt to accept that “fish are friends, not food.” However, when Bruce, a great white shark tries to explain this to Marlin and Dory, he notices the scent of blood, loses all self-control, and ends up trying to eat his new friends.
How many times have we talked ourselves into thinking that we can enter a questionable environment and not be affected by it? Alcoholics don’t usually do well at the local bar. Nor do those struggling with sexual purity do well hanging out at an adult magazine shop.
Verse: “If you have a big appetite, restrain yourself.” Proverbs 23:2 (GNT)
Another great bit in “Nemo” is the flock of seagulls who only utter one word, “mine,” over and over again. They push and shove each other to get every bit of food. Instead of doing other things, they stay together looking to finish off every last morsel of food when they are clearly not starving.
The seagulls are not unlike many of us humans. We tend to look down on others who struggle with “great sin” in their lives while giving ourselves a pass when it comes to our diets. Most Americans do not struggle with starvation, but you’d never know it by what we stuff in our mouths. If we truly believe that our bodies are an example of the temple of God, then why do we do this?