MARLIN: Now, what's the one thing we have to remember about the ocean?
NEMO: It's not safe.
MARLIN: That's my boy.
Yes, this is probably the one big lesson that Marlin needs for his son to know. The ocean is a dangerous place and, even though Marlin couldn't protect his wife and other kids from it, he's bound and determined to keep Nemo alive and swimming no matter what.
BOB: Hey, you're doing pretty well for a first timer.
MARLIN: Well, you can't hold on to them forever, can you?
BILL: You know I had a tough time when my oldest went out to The Drop Off.
MARLIN: They've just got to grow up some—The Drop Off?! What are you, insane? Why don't we fry them up now and serve them with chips?
Okay, The Drop Off does seem like a pretty dangerous place, but the other parents are sure Mr. Ray has it under control. Why isn't this good enough for Marlin? Is this just too much for Nemo's first day? If only they'd stayed home and played on the sponge beds instead.
NEMO: I can swim fine, Dad, okay?
MARLIN: No, it's not okay. You shouldn't be anywhere near here. Okay, I was right. You'll start school in a year or two.
NEMO: No, Dad! Just because you're scared of the ocean—
MARLIN: Clearly, you're not ready. And you're not coming back until you are. You think you can do these things but you just can't, Nemo!
NEMO: I hate you.
This is where father and son have it out. Nemo knows that his dad's fears have been holding him back and he finally says it. He not afraid like his dad and he'll prove it.
BRUCE: So, what's a couple of bites like you doing out so late?
MARLIN: Nothing, we're not doing anything, we're not even out.
BRUCE: Great! Then how would you little morsels like to come to a little get-together I'm having?
DORY: You mean like a party?
BRUCE: Yeah, that's it, a party! What do you say?
DORY: Oh, I love parties! That sounds like fun.
So, turns out Marlin was right. The ocean is a very dangerous place. Within minutes of leaving the reef, Marlin and Dory have run into (what looks like) a very hungry shark. Marlin's pretty smart to be afraid here. He thinks he's about to get eaten. But, Dory is just as cool as a cucumber. That little blue fish has no fear.
BLOAT: Oh, Darla.
NEMO: What? What's wrong with her?
GURGLE: She wouldn't stop shaking the bag.
BUBBLES: Poor Chuckles.
NEMO: I can't go with that girl! I have to get back to my dad! Aaah! Daddy! Help me!
It's not just the ocean that's scary. Life on land is pretty unpredictable, too. Here, the movie starts a frightening ticking clock for Nemo. He's got to escape back to the ocean before Darla arrives to claim him as her birthday present. This living in a tank thing isn't gonna be a breeze.
DORY: It's so... pretty.
MARLIN: I'm feeling... happy, and that's a big deal for me.
DORY: I want to touch it...
MARLIN: Hey, come back. Come on back here. I'm gonna get you.
For once, Marlin is pretty chill. The little light that he sees in the deep dark ocean is pretty darn soothing. Of course, that's what it's meant to do. By calming Marlin and Dory's fears, the anglerfish lures them closer and closer to his jaws. Evolution is a handy thing… for the anglerfish, that is.
MARLIN: This is bad, Dory. Very bad.
DORY: Hey, watch this. Boing! Boing!...
DORY: You can't catch me!
MARLIN: Dory, don't bounce on the tops! They will... not sting you. The tops don't sting you! That's it!
Once again, Marlin is panicked and Dory is just having a ball. It takes both their responses to this danger—fear and fun—to get them out of this mess.
CRUSH: Alright, we're here, dudes! Get ready! Your exit's comin' up, man!
MARLIN: Where? I don't see it.
DORY: There! I see it! I see it!
MARLIN: You mean the swirling vortex of terror?
CRUSH: That's it, dude!
Exiting through the swirling vortex of terror doesn't sound super fun to us either, but Crush thinks it's no biggie. This is another contrast between these two dads. Crush thinks the dips and dives of the EAC are a fun ride, while Marlin's totally panicked. In the end, Marlin realizes he was safe all along. Hey, maybe some of these fears are just all in his head.