Towards the end of Finding Nemo, Nemo and several other fish are caught in a large net. Nemo commands all the fish to swim downwards to break the net. Once this is accomplished, Marlin and Dory find Nemo “dead”.
My question: why would Nemo have been dead? The impact looked soft enough and the fish didn’t land on top of him (as far as I can tell) Any thoughts on this?
I haven’t seen the scene in a while, but wasn’t he laying there motionless for a few seconds? I think that Marlin was caught in the excitment of the moment, and then when he saw Nemo fall, he freaked or something.
He wasn’t necessarily dead, maybe just unconscious or exhausted. He was a pretty small fish with a weak fin, so maybe he was just really tired after all the “swimming down”. He may also have gotten knocked about by the other fish.
The “death fake-out,” as I call it, is kind of a classic cartoon thing. They do it with Pinocchio, with Baloo in Jungle Book… I think they did it with Gurgi in Black Cauldron, although it’s been years since I’ve seen that. Get the audience on the edge of their collective seat by making them think a character they love is dead… then, yea, he’s OK! Andrew Stanton seems to like this, since he does it to both Nemo and Wall-E.
In the context of the movie, it’s been set up enough that Nemo is small and fragile, so it’s believable that he could have been killed by the stress/action/falling net.
I always thought he just got knocked unconscious, since he was on the bottom, and the weight of all those fish above him must have knocked him out. And Marlin’s nerves were probably already shot, so seeing his son motionless on the ocean floor would flip him out a little.
I dunno, he gave a little groan when they lifted the net off of him, so both Marlin and we the audience had to have known he was at least alive. I think Nemo getting a bit knocked out there had a couple of purposes - it did lead to Marlin in a similar enough situation so he had that flashback about finding his egg. And since Nemo was hurt and/or just knocked for a loop, it allowed for Marlin to have to be more nurturing and allowed for a sweeter, gentler scene than it might’ve been had Nemo been up and around. Marlin’s instinct to nurture and comfort his son - who was out of it enough to need that from his dad - just made an all-around more satisfying scene after such a long journey.
Though this post does remind me of the bonus featurette talking about when the animator brought that shot into dailies for Andrew to screen. He had Nemo kinda staring forward in exhaustion during the father/son talk and Andrew told him he always needs to be looking at his dad for acknowledgment, because with the way he was now…
“He looks like he’s dead. He looks like he’s giving up.”