Finding Nemo

Marlin & Dory, from blogger.com

I caught wind of news today that Finding Nemo is set to have a sequel, and I almost jumped for joy. The original was released in 2003 when I was maybe 9 or 10 and it was a staple viewing experience at my primary school for a ‘fun’ lesson at the end of term time. That said, with lessons only 60 minutes long, this meant that we never got to see Marlin actually find Nemo. It was sort of like an anti-climax really.

I loved the film, and it’s great to hear that when it was released it was one of the highest grossing G-rated films of all time until Toy Story 3 was released. It’s also currently the 5th highest grossing animated film of all time.

The names in the films are a delightful mix of sea-inspired names and old fashioned retro names. What’s not to love?

NEMO. The title character who is captured by a scuba diver early on in the film. His name sounds cool and retro, but the meaning of the name? Not so cool – Nemo comes from Latin and means nobody. Also, if you were to spell this name backwards, you’d get omen. However, he does possess that oh-so-cool o- ending.

MARLIN. The name of the initially overprotective father of Nemo. This name most likely comes from Merlin, which is the English form of the name Myrddin and means sea fort. It first came into use circa the Middle Ages as a surname, and as a first name in the 16th century. As well as the clownfish bearing the name, it has also been used for a large fish, also known as a spearfish. Aside from the fishy associations, it’s also the name of a type of bird sometimes also referred to as a godwit.

DORY. The companion of Marlin who helps him search for Nemo. Her name is a short form of names beginning with Dor- which include Dora, Dorcas, Doreen, Doris and Dorothy. This is a name I’ve seen a few babies born to in the last few months. A notable one is the second daughter of comedian Robert Webb, younger sister of Esme who was born in 2011.

DEB&FLO. The name of one of the fish in the dentist’s fish tank and that of her reflection. The name Deb is usually taken as a short form of the name Deborah, which means bee in Hebrew. Deborah also happens to be one of my many nicknames for my sister Heather. Flo on the other hand can be a short form for any Flo- name, of which you can find a selection in a previous post, here.

JACQUES. Another fish tank alumni, this time a pacific cleaner shrimp. An initial look at the name may have you thinking that he’s the French form of Jack – but he’s not, rather, he’s the French form of Jacob/James; the meaning of all three names is supplanter.

NIGEL. This fuddy-duddy Brit pick  was bestowed on an Australia-based pelican. The name comes from the Latin Nigellus, which links up to Neil – a name that means champion or cloud.

RAY. The name of Nemo’s class teacher, the name Ray started off life as a nickname for either Rachel or Raymond, this name has evolved into a name in it’s own right. There have been a slew of celeb babies recently bestowed the name Ray either in the first or middle name slot, from Brit-boy Ray Holiday, son of Sophie Ellis-Bextor to little Mabel Ray, daughter of Bruce Willis.

BRUCE. Speaking of Bruce, here’s the name of a shark from the film. The name is originally a Scottish surname, which is traditionally said to come from Brix, Normandy. However, there’s little evidence to back this up. This name has in the last century or so has picked up a reputation as being an archetypal name for an Australian man.

PEARL. A new darling in the world of baby names, the character Pearl was an octopus in Nemo’s school class. In ancient times, it was believed that pearls were formed by raindrops falling into open shells floating on the sea’s surface. Sweet, huh?

SHELDON. Another classmate of Nemo’s, this time a seahorse. He’s another surname-turned-first name that means valley with the steep sides.

DARLA. The name of the evil neice of the dentist. Darla is normally taken as a variation of Darlene, a name that was first coined in North America near the end of the 19th century and inspired by the word darling.

CORAL. The name of Nemo’s mother and Marlin’s wife, she died in a particularly harrowing scene for it’s classification* at the beginning of the film, which the delightful BBFC decided to call mild peril. The first time I watched that scene, I was in tears and even back then, I rarely cried at and/or about anything. The name Coral is a personal favourite of mine, and it is a type of sensitive marine environment currently at risk.

*Note on Classifications: here in the UK, classifications for films are awarded by the British Board of Film Classification, or the BBFC. The lowest classification that a film can receive (which Finding Nemo was awarded) is U, which stands for universal. The BBFC definition of the U certificate is:

A ‘U’ film should be suitable for audiences aged 4+. The films should be set within a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror.

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Categories: Film Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Finding Nemo

  1. Jen

    I just love the way they named the characters for this film. Bruce is the nickname of the mechanical shark in jaws. Flo on it’s own suggests the movement of liquid, but with Deb we get a play on words (Ebb and Flow). There’s a group of fish which bear the name Dory as well. Nemo could also relate to Captain Nemo, from the novels of Jules Verne. The more obvious Coral, Marlin, Pearl, Sheldon are just great too. It makes me almost certain that there must be a reference for “Nigel” as well!

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