Philip Sherman's Dentist Office is a location featured in the 2003 animated Pixar film, Finding Nemo. It is the building where the dentist Philip Sherman runs with Barbara as the receptionist and also the place where Nemo was formerly placed inside the dentist's aquarium in that same office complex.
Philip Sherman's office is located at 42 West Wallaby Way in Sydney, Australia according to the diving mask. The building itself consists of a waiting room where patients wait to be called for their appointment while on the other side is the dentist office where Philip Sherman checks on patients. In the dentist's office is a fish tank where Nemo ended up at and encountered the Tank Gang led by Gill who leads a plan to escape into the ocean. Ever since the tank was kept dirty with algae thanks to Nemo who used a pebble to jam the tank filter, the Dentist suddenly places an enhancement known as the AquaScum 2003 which would help scan to know if the tank is clean. When Darla arrives and Nemo is taken out of the tank and placed into a plastic bag, Nigel, Dory, and Nemo's father Marlin arrive and attempt to rescue Nemo only for Nigel to be shooed away by the Dentist, leaving Nemo behind while being shook by Darla. Gill, assisted by the Tank Gang, tells Jacques to do the Ring of Fire effect which Gill is launched on Darla, causing her to drop Nemo much to the Dentist who is worried about the animals going mad before hitting a scope. Gill then jumps to flip Nemo into the sink just as Nemo is being led to the ocean with Gill being placed back at the aquarium while Darla tries to look for Nemo only to be sprayed by the sink.
During the epilogue, the fish from the dentist's office have escaped albeit still trapped in plastic bags as they have made their way into the ocean while the Dentist worries what happened to them after the AquaScum broke down.
The idea of creating the aquarium sequence in Finding Nemo was inspired by the fish tank at Dr. Sam Aina's office in which director Andrew Stanton visited, located in Ipswich where the tank was placed in the wall in the lobby where children's books and Highlight magazines were displayed where Stanton spent his time looking at the dentist's office to look at the fish tank. While deciding on developing the fish which were displayed in the tank, the production team used movies such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and King of Hearts as an inspiration of how the fish would react while living in an aquarium and also an ensemble sense for fish living in a tiny community in the tank. Additionally while researching, Bob Peterson did his research of developing while talking to his hygienist on the phone trying to get the steps of the root canal while developing the scene where Nigel talks with Peach about what the Dentist is doing.
While developing the initiation scene where Nemo is asked to join the Tank Gang's club, the team was developing a sequence which was more dynamic and entertaining to develop the escape plan Gill was doing. During the escape plan sequence, an extremely wide lens was used to get close to see everything in the tank where it shows various visual marks to time with the story and while using a lighting perspective, the shot also presents a difficult challenge with setups inside the tank clean and the tank filled with algae, outside the tank in the air and the one in the plastic bag which moves indoors and outdoors in several sets.
Additionally, one of the most important elements to make the fish tank believable was the use of reflections and refractions looking from outside and inside back out using videotaped footage of looking at the fish tank's reflection to get a sense how the image gets warped and distorted by the glass/water interface with the physics of the effect well understood. However, according to technical director Oren Jacob, the idea to do the tank in computer graphics was difficult in which the team were unable to duplicate physics directly and had to put controls to help adjust it. In addition to this, an early version of the film showed Gill lying to Nemo who gave him a false story about him to impress Nemo only to be found out the Gill was completely betrayed before the scene was reworked with Gill comforting Nemo about him missing his father. During the scene where Nemo is trying to jam the tank filter with a pebble, the amount of tank sequences where Nemo was swimming past were cut in order to save time for production, truncating the whole storyline to its bare essence due to the storyline in the final version focusing on Marlin looking for his son Nemo the most. For the part where Nemo is planning to jam the filter, the crew actually got a tank filter and broke it apart to make sure that this could logically happen and it is figured out that like in the film, using a pebble to jam the filter causes the blades to stop turning.
During the escape sequence, the climax of the film proved very difficult for the animators to make with the use of water, simulated tubes, and human animation mixed together with the animated fish in which everyone worked together in helping complete the sequence in which one of the animators, Doug Dooley, did some great animation for the characters of Nigel and the Dentist while Tasha Wedeen did some great animation for Darla in that scene.
For the epilogue sequence, it was decided to feature a scene where the Tank Gang members escape in which this scene was used as an add-on with the film focusing on Marlin attempting to find Nemo the most so that audiences would know what would happen to the Tank Gang after Nemo is finally reunited with his father throughout the events of the film.
Points of interests
- Waiting Room: The area where patients wait inside where the dentist would give them a checkup after their appointment is ready.
- Dentist's Office: This is the place where the dentist Philip Sherman gives patients a checkup before leaving after getting their checkups done. In this area is a window where Nigel flies past. Also within the office is a fish tank where the Tank Gang used to live until they escaped to arrive in the ocean.
Role in the film
As Nemo finds himself inside a fish tank at the dentist's office, he sees a tiki statue which he feels frightened upon seeing it. He looks around his surroundings and sees the office all around him where he hears Philip Sherman asking for a few more cotton rolls for the patient he is taking care of and as the Dentist looks at Nemo, he frightens him where he explains to Barbara that he thought Nemo was struggling. While swimming, Nemo accidentally opens a treasure chest where bubbles come out as Bubbles, a yellow tang, swims frantically and frightens Nemo to which Nemo unawarely swims past Peach who explains to him that Bubbles has an obsession for bubbles, hence his name just as Nemo hides inside a diver helmet displayed in the tank. Hiding inside, he sees a pufferfish named Bloat, a damselfish named Deb, and a royal gramma Gurgle with Bubbles approaching him and as Nemo fears that they are a threat to him, a cleaner shrimp named Jacques pops out inside the helmet and greets him as Nemo continues panicking across the tank. As Nemo tries to scramble across the tank, Bloat tells him to slow down explaining that there is nothing to fear while inside the tank as Deb reacts to Nemo's panicking behavior. As Nemo tells the fish to know where is father Marlin is at, Peach thinks that Nemo's father is at the pet store while Bloat explains that he was purchased from Bob's Fish Mart followed by Gurgle explaining that he came from Pet Palace, Bubbles being purchased from Fish-O-Rama, Deb saying that she was received from mail order and Peach saying that she came from eBay. As Nemo tells Gurgle that he is from the ocean, Gurgle reacts to what Nemo said as he fears that Nemo is covered with germs from the ocean, so he hires Jacques to clean him.
As Nemo tells Bubbles that the ocean he lives in is big and blue as Bubbles knew about it, Deb asks him to know if there is anything if he needs from her or her "sister" Flo just as Deb talks to her own reflection as she tells Nemo not to listen what Flo says, Peach then tells the Tank Gang to watch the dentist checking on a patient's teeth in which Bloat and Gurgle argue with each other whether the dentist is uses a K-Flex or Hedstrom which Bloat suddenly inflates to which Deb deflates him. Suddenly, a pelican named Nigel flies to the office where Peach discusses about what tool the dentist was using just as the Tank Gang introduces Nemo to Nigel just as Nigel explains to them "fish gotta swim, birds gotta eat" to which the Dentist shops Nigel away. Seeing the picture of his niece Darla broken, he shows the picture of Darla to the Tank Gang explaining that she will arrive on Friday to pick Nemo up much to the Tank Gang's worry about Darla just as Peach nicknamed her a "fish-killer” as Nemo gets stuck on a pipe to which Gill, a moorish idol, tells him to not touch Nemo. Gill tells Nemo to stay calm and learn how to get out of the pipe by himself to which he successfully does so. Gill discusses with Peach about giving Nemo a proper reception to conquer his fear living in a fish tank just as Nemo introduces himself to the Tank Gang.
That night, Jacques wakes up Nemo where he follows him passing through Bubbles, Gurgle, and Bloat chanting together while passing through Peach and Deb on the aquarium's volcano where he encounters Gill on the top of the volcano Mount Wannahockaloogie. As Nemo reaches the top, Bloat explains to Nemo to join his club if he would be able to swim through the Ring of Fire effect just as Bloat turns on the volcano to bring in the effect where bubbles blast out of the volcano which Nemo puts faith to himself to swim through it to which he successfully does so with determination in himself just as Gill dubs Nemo as "Sharkbait". Gill discusses with the Tank Gang about Darla arriving in five days as Gill devises a plan to escape into the ocean to which in a plan to help escape, Nemo is the only one who can reach the tank filter where Nemo must take a pebble so that he can jam the gears and upon doing so, the tank becomes filled with algae in which he does so and the dentist plans to take them out of the tank and put them in plastic bags, giving themselves a chance to roll out their bags out of the office, through the windows, past the street, and then into the ocean to which Nemo plans to accept Gill's plan.
The next day, Nemo feels lonely as he feels that he misses his father to which Gill explains to Nemo that he's lucky that he has someone looking for him to which Nemo explains that his father is scared of the ocean just as Gill tells Peach to know if the dentist is not present to which she explains that he is there. Gill discusses with Nemo that the first time he escaped, he landed on the dental tools while aiming for the toilet to which the dentist put him back into the aquarium as Gill explains to Nemo that all drains lead to the ocean. As Peach alerts the Tank Gang that the dentist is on a break, Nemo leaps into the area where the filter is at as Gill gives him a pebble for Nemo which he can use it to jam the fan to which Nemo uses his optimism to jam the filter in which Nemo plans to swim through the tube to return back to the aquarium to which the pebble comes loose as the Tank Gang work together to pull Nemo out of it using an aquatic plant as Nemo ends up in the aquarium to which Peach tells Gill to not do this plan again.
The next day, Nemo swims out of the diver helmet while Gurgle tells the Tank Gang to not mention Darla's name and as Gill swims past the skull decoration where Gill is at, he explains to Nemo that he remembers that he was ready to reach the ocean but his attempt failed. Nigel suddenly flies back to the dentist's office while the Philip Sherman is giving another patient a checkup. Nigel explains to Nemo that his father has been looking for him where he took on three ferocious sharks, followed by more adventures of Marlin defeating an abyssal anglerfish and surviving a jellyfish forest as he explains that he is now on the East Australian Current on his way to Sydney. After that, Nemo swims to the filter again and does the same thing he did much to the Tank Gang's worry to which Nemo jams the filter again with a pebble as Nemo manages to return to the aquarium safely. Gill later discusses with the Tank Gang that Darla will arrive in less than two days, telling Jacques to not clean the algae as well as the rest of the Tank Gang to make the aquarium as dirty as possible.
The next day, the fish tank becomes dirty thanks to Nemo who followed Gill's plan just as Gurgle reacts to seeing algae inside the tank while the Dentist arrives to clean the tank as the fish retreat just as the dentist does a plan to clean it before Darla arrives which would give Nemo a chance to escape the tank. Later the next day, Peach wakes up and notices the fish tank is cleaned as the dentist is shown to have installed an add-on, the AquaScum 2003 as Gill explains that the dentist must have installed it last night while they were sleeping. Seeing the AquaScum blocking the area which prevents the fish from escaping, Gurgle and Bloat are frustrated that their escape plan is ruined, just as the fish see a mother and her son entering the room whom they mistaken them for Darla. While planning to escape when Darla arrives, the Dentist uses a net to get Nemo out of the tank to which the fish push the net harder to cause the Dentist to drop it. The Dentist later uses a plastic bag and gets Nemo out of the tank as Nemo attempts to escape, the Dentist puts Nemo's plastic bag on a container to prevent him from escaping. However, Darla suddenly arrives, much to the Tank Gang's shock.
As Darla arrives, she suddenly taps the glass, disturbing the Tank Gang and Nemo in the tank. However, she encounters her uncle Philip Sherman just as the Dentist plans to give Nemo as Darla's present with Nemo pretending to be dead like Chuckles, the goldfish seen on a photo of Darla. The Dentist then attempts to put Nemo into a trash can instead of the toilet which leads him to the ocean to which Nigel, after surviving a flock of seagulls, arrives in the office just as the Tank Gang tells Nigel, Marlin, and Dory that the Dentist has him to which Marlin tells Nigel to enter in which Nigel denies, fearing that the Dentist would see him again. Marlin points to the spot where the Dentist is putting Nemo in the trash can just as Nigel flies on the office, frightening Darla and her uncle while the boy who entered the office earlier while on the waiting room hears the commotion inside in which Nigel hits the Dentist, causing him to drop Nemo on the spot where the dental tools are placed. As Marlin and Dory react to Nemo playing dead, the Dentist gets back up and angrily grabs Nigel in which he furiously shoos him away, telling the pelican to never return to his office again.
Darla suddenly picks up Nemo and begins harassing him by shaking the bag, much to which Bloat, Deb, Bubbles, Gurgle, Jacques, and Gill react to him where the fish use the volcano decoration Mount Wannahockaloogie as a cannon where Bloat, Deb, Bubbles, and Gurgle work together while Gill tells Jacques to perform the Ring of Fire effect to launch Gill on Darla. As Gill is launched onto Darla, she feels Gill leaping on her hair much to the Dentist worrying that the animals at his office have gone mad just as he accidentally bumps into a scope while some more people in the waiting room hear the commotion while Darla drops the bag where Nemo is placed at, freeing Nemo from it. Gill suddenly leaps on the mirror where the dental supplies are at which flips Nemo and leads him to a sink consisting of a drain leading to the ocean. Philip Sherman places Gill back into the aquarium just as the Tank Gang thanks Gill for saving Nemo just as he explains to Bloat that all drains lead to the ocean. Darla goes to the sink to look for Nemo only to be sprayed by water. Nemo finally reunites with his father Marlin after encountering Dory after finding himself in the ocean.
During the epilogue, Philip Sherman holds the AquaScum where he explains to Barbara that the object which prevents fish from escaping has broken down, discussing with her that he had to clean the tank with the fish in it only to notice the fish have escaped without getting caught; Gill, Bloat, Bubbles, Deb, Jacques, and Gurgle tell Peach to reach the ocean to which she suddenly reaches the ocean albeit still stuck in plastic bags.
- Although 42 West Wallaby Way, the address where Philip Sherman's office is located, is purely fictional in Sydney, Australia, a street named 42 Rock Wallaby Way does exist in Australia albiet located at Blaxland in real life, which lives very far away from Sydney in real life.
- The lamp of a lighthouse seen in the dentist's waiting room is an actual lighthouse that exists on Thatcher Island, Andrew Stanton's hometown of Rockport, Massachusetts in which two of them are displayed throughout the film, one by the fish tank and another one by the entrance of the dentist's office. Also in that same area, a painting of the Motif #1, a historical building from Andrew Stanton's hometown was also depicted as a painting on the lobby. Besides these references to Massachusetts in the office, other references include the Aeolus III, named after Stanton's father's sailboat as well as giving one of the lobsters a Massachusetts accent using the term "wicked" with one of them saying "It's like wicked dark down there" due to lobsters being an abundant species in New England even though the film is set in Australia.
- The tiki statues seen in the tank are actual caricatures of Pixar employees: Peter Sohn, Nelson Bohol, and and Ricky Nierva.
- Several cameos and references to other Pixar films are seen inside the Philip Sherman's Office:
- Amongst the toys in the lobby room are a Buzz Lightyear toy from the Toy Story franchise. Additionally, a plane from Toy Story 2, Boo's teddy bear from Monsters, Inc., and the Pixar Ball can also be seen.
- Boo's fish mobile can be seen hanging on the ceiling in the dentist's office.
- Sunny Atlantis from the Pixar short Knick Knack also appears in the scene depicted on a shipwreck decoration in the tank. Coincidentally, the edited version of Knick Knack was released with Finding Nemo in the same year.
- A Little Green Man from the Toy Story franchise is also depicted on the Pixar University School of Dentistry certificate displayed on the wall. However, he is seen wearing a graduation outfit. Also, a postcard saying "Greetings from Emeryville" is also displayed on one of the Dentist's counters in reference to the location Pixar Animation Studios is located.
- During Gill's escape plan sequence, the Pizza Planet Truck is briefly seen passing by. Additionally, a red car uses the same model as the one seen in Monstropolis from Monsters, Inc.
- A Mr. Incredible comic book is seen being read by a boy during the climax of the film, in reference to Pixar's next film The Incredibles.
- During the epilogue, a taxi with the same model as the one seen in Monstropolis from Monsters, Inc. is briefly seen, followed by a non-anthropomorphic Luigi in reference to Pixar's next film, Cars.
- While Philip Sherman himself does not appear in the 2016 sequel, Finding Dory, a photo of his niece Darla was placed inside the quarantine area in the Marine Life Institute. Additionally, some of the background human characters are actually reused models of some of Philip's patients from the first film.
- In the 2017 Disney/Pixar film, Coco, the screen showing the results of Juan Ortodoncia's photo placed on his ofrenda at the dentist's office is actually Philip Sherman's office as confirmed by the audio commentary.
- Visual Commentary Bonus Feature (Finding Nemo Widescreen DVD, 2003).
- Coco Audio Commentary (Coco Blu-ray / Digital releases, 2018)