When I was a child, Finding Nemo was a favorite cartoon. As a child, Finding Nemo was about a fish that gets lost and tries to find his father. As an adult, we see Finding Nemo through a theological lens. Finding Nemo has been animated by Disney. Coral and Marlin, a clownfish, were fertilizing and laying eggs in a coral Reef. Coral is killed by a predator fish, which then eats the entire family. Marlin is devoted to Nemo and his life. Marlin soon becomes too protective and won’t allow Nemo freedom. Nemo has grown tired of Marlin’s protectionist tendencies. So Nemo rebels against his father and leaves the coral reef for safety, heading out into open ocean to be captured by a diver. Nemo is eventually taken prisoner by Marlin for his actions. Marlin sets out to find Nemo and bring him home. Two parallel threads are now present in the story. Marlin tries to find his son. Nemo aims to find his father. Marlin is shown many new things, as he was never comfortable with anything. Dory, his companion who suffers from short term memory impairment, is there to help him, but Nemo couldn’t be saved without her. Nemo needs to be enrolled in an initiation ceremony. He must then join his fellow captives who are attempting to escape the tank to return to the sea. Nemo is being taken away by a girl who is not very friendly. Nemo is finally reunited after hearing his dad searching for him. The movie’s many theological themes allow us to explore the different aspects of Finding Nemo. Ostwalt, author, guides us through the lense theological typology. Ostwalt explains that this type can ‘define religion historically and will locate religious symbols and categories within films’ like Finding Nemo. The film begins with Nemo confronting his father. He can follow his father and stay out of the Deep Water. He can choose to continue touching the ‘butt. He decides it is best to touch the butt’. It is possible to choose to obey or disobey when we are given choices. This shows us the theme that disobedience is linked to capture. We can see how disobedience is connected to capture. It could be that one is turning away God’s love for something else. Individuals are prone to fall into corrupt ways. However, God is always there to help us return to him. The intensity of God’s love cannot change us, but we can work together to make that intensity for others. The film continues with the theme of separation and loss, which is a common theological theme. This theme is so prominent that Disney films frequently use it to emphasize the fact that although loss is inevitable, it allows us to remember our feelings and memories. The struggle between Marlin and Nemo to manage their separation from one another is not the only way that loss is portrayed. It is actually the opening scene that shows Nemo’s mom Coral being killed by a barbacuda. Marlin must deal with his grief alone, as Nemo didn’t know his mother and was therefore not as close to his father. This is why, at the end of the film, Nemo and Marlin come together to deal with Coral’s death. It is a hard reality, which ’emphasizes to the audience that loss cannot be fixed’. The film wouldn’t have been possible if Marlin and Nemo hadn’t learned about the importance of separation and loss. It is clear that they both overcame their losses and were determined to get what they wanted, which was to be together again. This film also explores themes such as family and loss between Nemo, Marlin. Marlin comes across as a protective father. His only child is safe. Nemo’s father and Nemo have a difficult relationship. They both want different things for their children. Both are trying to determine what their family looks like and how they can work together. Marlin left his comfort zone and took a risk on his own life in order to rescue Nemo.
To save his son, he gave up everything. Marlin is shown love and willingness in the scene when he saves his son. The scene was so powerful because it made me think of my mom and dad. It is possible to circle back our Heavenly Father through paternal and familial love. God saved us by offering his son Jesus as his sacrifice to save us. Jesus didn’t just give his life for us, he also offered his own life for us. It is a sign of his love for us. His resurrection and death allow us to find forgiveness for our sins. Family love and what we do to each other resonates with Nemo & Marlin as much as it does with the audience. We all remember why and will continue to do whatever we can for those we love. The theme of hope is another important theme. Hope is a way to believe that good things will happen. This is often seen through the characters. Marlin tags along Dory as Dory. Dory believes that there is hope and is hopeful about Finding Nemo. Marlin was depressed when they began their journey. Dory helped him to see the light. Marlin is distraught because he has just lost a key that could help him find his son. But Dory, who is optimistic and hopeful, sings “Just keep swimming.” Dory is a character which reminds us of the importance of living in the light. It is vital to keep hope alive because good things will come to the patient and loving. We also see Nemo in a fish-tank with other fish, who helps him not lose heart but remain hopeful that he can return to his father. Gill is a standout character. Gill was initially skeptical about Nemo. However, Gill eventually invests and feels hopeful that he will be able to return home to his father. Sometimes despair can make us hopeful and allow us to live a happy life. The film is very open to theological themes, which allows us to gain greater knowledge about specific themes. Ostwalt’s film shows what a movie of theological nature is. This film allows us to critically examine the method and draws from theological research. Movies that are theologically-oriented often include concepts such as forgiveness, grace, hope, and justice. Ostwalt wrote about Finding Nemo. The film does not explicitly mention God but it does introduce traditional religious symbols, categories, and gives an audience insight on the importance God and how to love and hate. The film Finding Nemo provides a glimpse into a religious aspect. Although it may look childish, it speaks to the heart of the movie about loss, hope, love, and God. The film helps us find God and live a happier life.