It would be easy for cynics to declare that Pixar’s just in it for the money– that the only reason they’re re-issuing their films in 3D is so Pixar Honcho John Lasseter can pad his already-thick wallet.

In the fall of 2009, both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 got the 3D treatment as a prelude to the subsequent summer’s third chapter, and Monsters Inc. is adding a dimension for the upcoming holidays. Heck, those all might indeed be money grabs.

But rest assured Finding Nemo is not.

As you sit back and take in the 3D reissue you will quickly come to the realization that Pixar probably wanted it to be in 3D all along, but the technology wasn’t quite there yet; the first digital 3D movie (2005’s Chicken Little) was still more than two years away after all.

Finding Nemo is stuffed to the gills with shots that just scream for 3D; most sequences have very pronounced foregrounds and backgrounds, and the depth of field seems to go on forever. No, there aren’t any scary monsters jumping out of the screen at you (though Bruce comes close), and you won’t be waving your hands in front of your face trying to touch Dory, but Nemo in 3D will significantly enhance what is already widely considered to be Pixar’s best film.

Fans of the movie (and who isn’t, really?) are already well aware of the vibrant colors and mind-blowing animation of the ocean and its creatures. The 3D makes it all pop that much more, from the delicate wonder of the forest of jellyfish to the roller coaster ride as Crush shoots the curves on the ol’ EAC.

Truth is– even without the 3D conversion, there’s still ample reason to see Nemo again on the big screen. Aside from introducing it to a generation of kids who weren’t around for the initial release nine years ago, ‘older’ folk will get a chance to once again marvel at the wonderful story and first-rate voice performances by Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres. But it’s the details you either forgot about or simply missed the first time around that push it over the top– little things, like smudges on the fish tank wall or plankton floating around like underwater dust bunnies.

There are very few movies each year that are truly ‘must-see’ events. Finding Nemo‘s 3D reissue is one.

5/5 stars