Whether we are conscious about it or not, the movies that we watch shape how we think about certain things and people. Many times the people writing movies have an agenda and slyly put their own ideas about certain people are situations. It is important that the audience is aware of this strategy so that they don’t automatically think that whatever the message of the story is right or wrong. This is especially important for children’s movies. Children very impressionable because many times they haven’t had first hand experience with things talked about in some of these movies. The messages in movies can be either good or bad. In children’s movies there is typically always a positive cliché message. However, what is not so obvious are the hidden negative messages that some of these movies include. One children’s movie that includes a negative message is Finding Nemo.
In the 2003 computer-animated film, Marlin, a paranoid clown fish in the Great Barrier Reef, is separated from his son Nemo as a diver captures him on his his first day of school. Marlin, who usually does not leave more than two feet from his anemone, sets off on a journey to find his son. On his way he meets Dory, another fish, who suffers from memory less. The two of them go together on the search for Nemo. They go on and encounter various obstacles, like dangerous creatures in the sea, in order to rescue Nemo from a dentist office. Meanwhile, Nemo and the others in the tank at the office plot a way to escape.
This film includes a positive message to both children and parents. The message to children is that disobedience has consequences. Nemo was rebelling against his father’s orders and saw up by the boat. Nemo touched the boat with his after his fathers warning and suddenly got netted up by a diver. Through this story, children may learn that disobeying their parents may lead to trouble just as it did with Nemo. If Nemo would’ve listen to his father, he would have avoided the dangerous situation. The father, Marlin, was very protective over Nemo. A message that this film has that may be directed towards parents is not to be so overbearing. Nemo had been so smothered by the protection of his father that he just wanted to rebel. This film shows that when you smother you children too much, it may lead them to do exactly the opposite of what you tell them to do.
Even though this film has positive messages, there is a negative message hidden in there as well. Although it is not obvious to the average viewer and especially not to kids, this film presents that argument that humans are bad and are always the environment. We see the first example of this pretty early on in the film when the diver captures Nemo. This action is obviously showed as bad because Nemo becomes separated from his father. Another example of how humans are shown in a bad light in Finding Nemo is when Marlin is talking to the sharks. He says to them, “Humans, they think they know everything”. The relationships between the animals are humans in this film can be interpreted as a way to focus in on the idea that animals should be left alone in their natural habitat without any interference by humans. The film uses the animal characters to position humans as a threat to the ocean and all of its inhabitants.
Overall, both the positive and negative messages portrayed in Finding Nemo were presented effectively. I would give this film 4 out of 5 stars because of its positive message that relates to kids as well as adults.