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Today in Nerd History | May 30

Dive into the ocean’s depths and explore the dark side of fairy tales today as we celebrate the releases of “Finding Nemo” in 2003 and “Maleficent” in 2014. These films not only captivated audiences with their storytelling but also pushed the boundaries of their genres through innovative animation and a fresh perspective on a classic villain. Let’s explore some “Nerdy Facts” about these enchanting cinematic experiences.

Inclusion on this list does not imply that the entry is family friendly, only that is was a nerd culture milestone. Parents should, of course, use discernment.

© Disdney/PIXAR

2003: Finding Nemo (Theaters)

“Finding Nemo,” Pixar’s underwater adventure, swam into theaters, offering breathtaking animation and a heartwarming tale of a father’s journey across the ocean to find his son, which quickly became one of the studio’s most beloved films.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Technological Waves: “Finding Nemo” was a breakthrough in computer animation, especially in its depiction of underwater environments. The film’s team developed new software to simulate water, making the ocean scenes incredibly realistic and visually stunning.
  • Voice Talent: Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres voiced the main characters, Marlin and Dory, respectively. DeGeneres’s portrayal of Dory, with her friendly nature and short-term memory loss, was particularly praised and led to the character getting her own sequel, “Finding Dory.”
  • Critical and Commercial Success: “Finding Nemo” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and became the highest-grossing animated movie at the time of its release, earning over $940 million worldwide.

© Disney

2014: Maleficent (Theaters)

“Maleficent” reimagined the classic “Sleeping Beauty” tale from the perspective of its antagonist, portrayed by Angelina Jolie, offering a complex look at the character who has traditionally been viewed simply as a villain.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Angelina Jolie’s Transformation: Jolie’s portrayal of Maleficent included extensive makeup and prosthetics, including high cheekbones and large, pointed ears that became iconic. Jolie was heavily involved in developing her character’s look, wanting to maintain elements from the original animated version.
  • Box Office Magic: “Maleficent” was a box office hit, grossing over $758 million worldwide. Its success sparked a trend of live-action retellings of classic Disney tales, reinvigorating the genre.
  • Thematic Depth: The film introduced themes of betrayal, revenge, and redemption, providing a backstory to Maleficent’s actions that was absent from the 1959 animated version, thus adding layers to her character and her relationship with Princess Aurora.

May 30 is a day to celebrate the magic of storytelling and the power of seeing a familiar tale from a new perspective. Whether it’s journeying through the ocean’s depths to find a loved one or exploring the complexities of a misunderstood villain, “Finding Nemo” and “Maleficent” both offer audiences a chance to dive deeper into the worlds they thought they knew. Happy Nerd History Day to all who cherish these cinematic treasures and the lessons they teach about understanding and compassion.

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Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

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