Finding Nemo

2003, Pixar/Walt Disney

Pixar's reputation as perhaps the greatest CGI animation studio was firmly cemented by Finding Nemo. So popular was the film that it became the best-selling DVD of all time. And it has earned nearly a billion dollars against a budget of less than $100 million.

Nemo's monumental success demonstrates what happens when you begin with a beautifully-crafted story, then challenge some of the finest animators in the industry, armed with the very best tools available, to tell that story. Technically it still holds its own extraordinarily well, despite being nearly fifteen years old.

       

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Finding Dory

2016, Pixar/Walt Disney

Finding Dory belongs to an elite club (mostly populated by Pixar films): a sequel that's at least as good as its predecessor. Once again, Pixar demonstrated the value of crafting a superb story as a film's foundation. Although Finding Dory was not met with the virtually unanimous critical acclaim granted Nemo, it was still a serious hit, earning over a billion dollars—in only seven weeks—on a $200 million investment.

Actually, Dory was ever so slightly more touching for me than Nemo, perhaps because the principal character was a grown-up with a very real affliction that was not trivialized, although it was treated with tasteful humor to keep things light.

The visuals are technically flawless and even more stunning than those of its predecessor, which should come as no surprise given 13 years of technological advancement; some of the ocean vistas are truly breathtaking.

       

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