Reading Nemo II: Sharks and Shakespeare

Crazy Scotty“So….”
Finding Nemo.”
“It’s a great movie.”
“I thought you wrote about it already.”
“There’s more to say. I’m thinking about writing a tetralogy.”
“A what-now?”
“A four-part series. Like Shakespeare’s King Henry plays.”
“Don’t do that.”
“So what do I do?”
“Sigh. Okay, what do you want to write about?”
“Did you just say the word ‘sigh’?”
“Tell me about your stupid fish. I have to get to class soon.”
“Well, we talked about the theme of trust already.”
“Marlin thinks that being controlling and overprotective will preserve what he has, but it actually drives his son to rebellion.”

He touched the butt.

He touched the butt.

“Heh, yeah. The butt scene.”

But then there’s the theme of baptism.”

“Yeah. See, in fiction, when a character gets submerged and comes back up, it’s usually symbolic of them starting a new life.”

lit book

Again, I blame this book.

“But it’s a fish movie. They’re all underwater.”

“Right, so the whole thing’s inverted. When Nemo’s taken from the water, his life begins anew in the orthodontist’s office.”

Honey, your dad's still probably at the pet store.

Honey, your dad’s still probably at the pet store.

“Seems like a stretch.”
“Maybe. But the tank is significant.”
“How so?”
“It’s bitterly ironic. Nemo’s dad has always tried to keep him sheltered, boxed in. But now Nemo literally is in a box, and his life’s in more danger than ever!”

Pooooor Tickles.

Pooooor Tickles.


“And now that he has a new life…he needs a new father figure.”

sub father

“Gill serves as another foil for Marlin. He’s loving and wants Nemo to feel accepted, but he’s also obsessed with freedom, to the point of endangering Nemo’s life.”
“I get that. Marlin cared too much about immediate safety. Gill’s more focused on living free.”
“Right. He’s not perfect, but he teaches Nemo to trust his own strength and to take risks.”
“What about Marlin?”
“Marlin underwent a baptism too.”

This is when things really went under.  Er, over.

This is when things really went under. Er, over.

“You mean just after the boat left?”
“Can fish actually peek their heads out like that?”
“I dunno. It was a weird scene.”
“Truth. So how does Marlin get a new life?”
“Well, he has a new purpose now (hint: it’s the movie’s title). Before, Marlin was all about preservation. Now his goal is restoration. And, childless, he gains a new child figure.”

Or something like that.

Or something like that.

“How is Dory Marlin’s child?”
“I mean, she’s not a full substitute, but she does teach Marlin how to be a better father.”
“Think about it. Every time Dory leads the way, it gets the two of them into trouble. But it also gets them closer to their goal. Going to the sharks’ meeting was potentially dangerous, but it got them the diver’s mask that they needed.”

Fish are know the rest.

Fish are friends…you know the rest.

“Purely coincidental.”
“Right. But Dory also led them down the abyss, where they got the Sydney address.”

P. Sherrr...P. Shirley…

P. Sherrr…P. Shirley…

“With the anglerfish. That thing was creepy.”
“It symbolized the chaos of death and the unknown.”
“Whatever. What about the jellyfish?”
“That was Marlin’s decision, remember? He chose the path over the trench, which looked safe, but actually came the closest to killing them.”

A lot of color in this scene.

A lot of color in this scene.

“Cool, but I’m not seeing the child thing.”
“That doesn’t become clear until the whale.”

You think you can do these things, but you just can’t, Nemo!

You think you can do these things, but you just can’t, Nemo!

“Oh, snap, that’s right. He calls her ‘Nemo’ by name.”
“And he decides to trust her.”
“Do these father-child weirdnesses happen a lot in fiction?”
“Well, in Shakespeare’s King Henry plays…”
“Shut up.”
“No, really! Shakespeare sets up the passionate Hotspur as King Henry’s alternate son, and the drunken Falstaff as Prince Hal’s surrogate father.”
“Is it the same kind of…?”
“Not quite. If Pixar followed Shakespeare, the movie would end with Nemo shunning Gill and killing Dory.”
“Yikes. How does the movie actually end again?”
“They find him. They find Nemo.”
“Right but…gah. I have to get to class.”
“We’ll talk later.”
“Maybe. Take a shower. You could use a baptism.”
“Don’t expect me to have a new life when you get back.”
“You’re implying that you have a life?”
“A man can dream.”


Edit: Argh!  How in the WORLD did I miss the “Ring of Fire” scene?  That’s totally a baptism.  If you wanted to, you could even do an analysis of the Greek elements in the tank.  Since Nemo’s surrounded by water, his baptism has to be one of “fire”, which is really bubbles of air, to prepare him to lodge a piece of artificial rock (earth?) in the filtration system.

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About Cellophane Glasses

His name is Scotty Meiser. His life is hard to categorize, so here are some bullet-points: He is a pastor’s son. He has been a Christian camp counselor for five years. He was born long and thin, and has more or less stayed that way. He sings songs. He acts. He has edited Wikipedia. He and his friend wrote a mariachi song about Canada. As a child, he ate so many carrots his skin turned orange. He hates Seventeen Magazine. He’s a junior at Cairn University in Langhorne, PA. He has no idea where his life is headed It is from this view, Scotty shares his world.

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