How far will a father swim to find his missing son?

That's the question that drives Finding Nemo, the new feast of innovative animation from Pixar Studios. But viewers will walk away asking another question: Are the folks at Pixar the most creative filmmakers for both adults and children working today?

Film Forum will feature an in-depth review of the film next week and link to reviews from several religious press film critics. For now, let me assure you that I think Finding Nemo is not just the best family film of the year so far, but it is one of the most astonishing achievements in animation ever made. Visually, it sets a new standard, and at this point, no other studio can match it. In a season of highly hyped and much anticipated sequels, both good (X2) and disappointing (Matrix Reloaded), Nemo packs so much action, so much awe-inspiring visual splendor, and so many big laughs into its hour-and-a-half span, that you'll probably want to get back in line and see it again the next day.

The distinct talent of Pixar's artists is that while they achieve remarkable realism in some aspects of their design, realism is not their highest priority. They instead focus on making every frame of their film such an exquisite work of art that any particular cel would be suitable for framing. And once again, they've found perfect voice matches for their characters, especially in the selection of Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres.

If writer/director Andrew Stanton can be faulted at all, it is for packing too many adrenalin rushes into the film. The crisis-every-minute narrative hurts the pacing so much that the big finale feels like just another big obstacle to overcome. You'll find yourself reaching for the remote control so you can slow ...

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