The DONALD Rankings are scores for Disney animated films that combine personal opinion with a pseudo-scientific veneer of hard data. For a full introduction to the DONALD system, please go here. Contribute your scores in the comments!
Welcome back the top twenty of the Deep Forest Outpost DONALD Rankings. Today we continue our countdown with the Pixar gem Finding Nemo.
When Finding Nemo hit the theaters in 2003, Pixar was still an independent studio distributing under the Walt Disney Studios banner. Their films were also a high point in the flagging animation division at Disney*. Both groups threatened to walk away ahead of their merger in 2006, citing massive executive egos and demands for more money and power as the reasons for the divide (more or less).
[*Disney’s animated releases during the Pixar distribution deal included Dinosaur, Treasure Planet, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Probably unnecessary spoiler alert here, but none of those films will be included in the DONALD Top 20.]
Pixar knocked another one out of the ballpark with Finding Nemo, which sparkles with amazing animation, great characters, and a clever story. Their streak of success put Disney in an untenable position. The Mouse House eventually caved, put John Lasseter and Ed Catmull in charge of all animation, and kicked off the next/current renaissance of Disney films.