Pixar’s Finding Nemo was first released on May 30, 2003, and surpassed The Lion King as the highest-grossing animated film of the time.
Andrew Stanton pitched his idea and story to Pixar head John Lasseter in an hour-long session, using elaborate visual aids and character voices. At the end of it, the exhausted Stanton asked Lasseter what he thought, to which Lasseter replied, “You had me at ‘fish’.” (x)
In Finding Nemo, Nigel is a kind, friendly pelican voiced by … holy shit, Geoffrey Rush?! Captain Barbossa?! How?
Anyway, Nigel is good friends with some fish who live in the dentist’s office where Nemo ends up trapped. When he runs into Nemo’s dad (Marlin), Nigel agrees to help him bust Nemo out of the dentist jail instead of, you know, ripping him from fin to fin and eating him alive, like any other pelican would.
And while Marlin eventually reunites with Nemo, Nigel never learns the truth. Discounting a short cameo in the credits (which is probably not in continuity, since birds can’t breathe underwater), the last time we see Nigel he’s telling Marlin, “I’m so sorry.” It’s pretty clear that Nigel blames himself for the botched rescue attempt. He didn’t get there in time, and now a child is dead (remember – in this world, everything is a person). And it gets worse – as seen in the final scene of the movie, the rest of the fish at the dentist’s office also manage to escape. The next time Nigel returns to say hey to his friends, they’ll all be gone. As far as he knows, that satanic girl with the braces murdered every single one of them.