Toy Story v Finding Nemo

border nemoPixar doesn’t really make movies. It simply makes your life better. But which of these two greats is the top toon? Read the arguments and decide. Remember: we can see everything! So play nice…

Ross McD: Toy Story

You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell.

It can hardly be denied that Finding Nemo is a decent film. It is the biggest selling DVD of all time, and the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time. But it knows it achieved these heights by merely flopping on the shoulders of a giant.

Without Toy Story there would be no Incredibles, no Shrek, no Monsters Inc, no Ice Age and certainly no Finding Nemo. Toy Story broke some pretty resilient boundaries – I would go as far as to say the film was monumental. Before Toy Story, all animated films were cel animated. Ever since Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, film fans have fallen in love with countless traditionally animated cinema icons. When the time came to move to full computer graphic animation, the first film to make the leap had to be as near to perfect as possible, or it risked the wrath of six decades of traditionalists and the alienation of an audience set in its ways.

So it’s lucky it was.


If she makes that 'eyes in the back of your head' joke one more time...

If you watch the fist 15 minutes of each film, you won’t have a clue where Toy Story is going, but Nemo is quite predictable – you know he’s gonna get lost and you know he’s gonna get found. It’s even in the title! You always know where Nemo is headed, even if he doesn’t.

And don’t deny it – we’ve all at one stage in our lives secretly wished/believed that our toys came to life when we’re not looking, and everyone who has ever watched Toy Story will have felt that nostalgic pang as they remember how their own playthings surely interacted.

Or was that just me?

Toy Story’s real trump over Finding Nemo is its characters. Has there ever been a more likeable buddy duo than Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear? I’ll wager there has never been a film where two leads have been so equally loved. This owes a huge debt to the masterstroke casting of Tom Hanks, who pulls off the sharp but insecure Woody, as well as Tim Allen’s charismatic but slightly deluded Buzz.

In comparison, Nemo’s enthusiasm is grating, Marlin’s paranoia is tedious, and to cap it all off they cast the Queen of Annoying Ellen De Generes as the mortally head-wrecking Dory. A high-pitched amnesiac – yeah, she wont be annoying at all.

The only person with a more annoying voice is Megan Mullally from Will & Grace. Luckily she was sacked from the original Nemo cast for not using her Karen Walker voice – seriously, what was the casting director trying to do to us?

Nemo is also missing a vital ingredient – a baddie. Sure there are sharks trying to eat them, humans trying to catch them, and the general perils of the open sea (not forgetting that barracuda who wipes out Nemo’s mom and his billion or so siblings right at the start. Disney wisely decided not to linger on that – many of us still haven’t got over Bambi’s mom).

But Nemo doesn’t have a solid villain like Toy Story’s Sid – a little sadist who tortures toys for fun. That’s the step that comes before animals, and we all know what those kids go on to become.

Speaking of tortured animals, let’s not forget that Finding Nemo led to a surge of poor little clownfish being bought by doting parents for spoilt little brats. God knows how many of the unfortunate little fish ended up in the toilet bowl at the hands of some clumsy 8-year-old. Even the well-meaning kids looking to set their pets free will have emulated the film and sent temporarily healthy fish to the sea via various bathroom appliances.

Of course Finding Nemo’s biggest crime was reducing Pixar’s good luck charm John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin from Cheers) to the role of a random silver fish. The gall of it! Don’t they know that Ratzenberger is the tenth most successful actor of all time? Besides roles in all of Pixar’s films (including Hamm the piggybank in Toy Story) he also appeared in such reasonably well-performing movies as Superman and The Empire Strikes Back – bringing his box office take to more than $3billion.


Ross McG: Finding Nemo

You’re about to eat my bubbles!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, along comes a simply brilliant movie from under the sea. I cannot fault Finding Nemo. It does everything a truly great film should: it grabs me from the first second, it makes me laugh and it makes me cry. It is the jewel in the Pixar crown. Toy Story may have that (well deserved) instant recognition thing going with the animation studio, but I think in years to come Finding Nemo will be looked upon as its true classic.

Toy Story is a great adventure but it does not plummet to the emotional depths of Nemo. This is a film that begins with the hero’s wife and their hundreds of unborn children being slaughtered. Take that, Mufasa. From that devastating opening scene, you know you’re not going to watch something that panders to the nonsensical notion that kids just want to hear loud noises and watch stupid characters fall over. All the great children’s films have a darkness and a scariness to them. In fact, they are great because they are not really children’s films at all. And children love that. Because they are smart.

Michaelangelo had really let himself go and Raphael was not afraid to let him know

'Party dude' Michelangelo had really let himself go and Donatello was not afraid to tell him about it

Finding Nemo follows that trend. It explores the genuine fear all parents have about their young ones going into the big, bad world. Not only that, it insists bad things will happen. But it also says you just have to get on with it. The film’s motto – ‘just keep swimming’ – is one we should all live by. Toy Story is a wonderful movie, yet when all is said and done, its message is: ‘be nice to your toys’. Finding Nemo operates on a different plain.

Despite this darkness, Finding Nemo is much funnier than Toy Story. Ellen DeGeneres is a revelation as Dory, the forgetful fish who wins over our hearts. Cameos from vegetarian sharks, hungry seagulls and radical turtles all hit the laughter spot. The film also has some super action scenes – the jellyfish run and the Pinocchio-riffing whale escape are both genuinely heart-stopping.

Finding Nemo’s other trump card is its animation, although it has an eight-year advantage on Toy Story in the technology stakes. Its underwater world is amazing – you lose yourself in the big blue from the word go. But for all its technical wizardry, Finding Nemo is really sublime because of its story. It’s a simple tale of ‘father loses boy; father searches for boy; father finds boy’ but it’s invested with so much wit and emotion you cannot fail but well up in the latter stages. Toy Story has no tearjerker moments, something its superior sequel rectified with the perfect song to make a grown man cry.

I accept that Toy Story may receive more votes for its bright colours and witty banter, but look deep down and you will find Finding Nemo a better film. It has great characters, a great script and great big fish. Great little ones too. Better than Toy Story? You betcha.


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7 Responses to “Toy Story v Finding Nemo”

  1. Finding Nemo all the way. What the emminent Mr McG neglected to mention is that it is also the first Disney film with a fart joke. Bruce the shark loses it and goes apeshit with his first taste of blood in yonks. He sets off an old anti-sub mine, resulting a small bubble popping at the surface beside two floating seagulls. One turns to the other, and says with a frown ‘Nice’, before flying away.
    Nemo takes the piss in similarly subtle ways with the Sydney seagulls, who just monotonously yelp ‘mate, mate, mate’, which anyone who’s spent some time in Oz will appreciate.
    And don’t dare try and argue that those turtles aren’t meant to be stoned, with their eyes rolling around their sockets and their silly smiles.
    Roll a spliff, curl up with your girlfriend and enjoy the iridescent colours and tongue-in-cheek wisdom.

  2. Jordana Says:

    Nemo all the way, all because of Dory, love her (she speaks whale)! its been a while since Ive seen Toy Story, but I did find it a little depressing, with its themes of aging, forgetting your childhood, popularity and cruelty. Not to mention the soundtrack makes you wanna slit your wrists.
    ps to Haw’s comment, the seagulls say ‘mine’ , not ‘mate’, sorry!

  3. Winwoozle Says:

    “Hey you’re a clown fish! heh! You’re funny right?!”
    Toy Story gets a bit boring in parts… Nemo has more laughs!

  4. Mc G,
    i think you should stay at home and watch the sheep tonight.
    Mc D you remind me a bit of sid.

  5. Finding Nemo! I love both, in fact, every Pixar film has been fantastic (though Cars and A Bug’s Life may be the lesser ones). Finding Nemo packs a more powerfull emotional punch, the visuals are some of the most impressive ever put on film, the voices are superb (althoughI have to wonder how a dubbed version would differ from language to language), and it tells an adult story in a “family” film. Finding Nemo is Pixar’s masterpiece.

  6. Toy Story. Still a great movie that only gets funnier with time.



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