Friday, July 1, 2016

Movie Review: Finding Dory


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good characters in a fun new adventure
Cons; Not quite as good as the first.
The Bottom Line:
Search ocean again
Trio on new adventure
Different but fun




Dory Searches for Her Family

Pixar has turned out a number of sequels over the years.  While they all don’t match the originals in creativity (they are sequels after all), they are still a fun way to revisit old friends.  Their latest sequel is Finding Dory, and it fits the mold perfectly.

After an initial sequences that shows us Dory as a young fish and then growing up, we meet up with Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks), and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) one year after their first adventure.  Dory is on a field trip with Nemo’s class when she suddenly has a memory about her family.  She knows where they live – the Jewell of Morro Bay.  Marlin is very reluctant to leave home, but soon Nemo and Dory convince them to come along as they attempt to reunite Dory with her family.

What Dory remembers turns out to be a research center and aquarium right next to the ocean.  When the trio arrive, they quickly get separated, with Dory taken inside and Marlin and Nemo trying to get back to her.  Inside, Dory meets Hank (Ed O’Neil) an octopus who tries to help Dory find her way to her parents.  Will she find them?  Where are they in the facility?  Can Marlin and Nemo catch back up to her?

There are several things that keep this movie from being as wonderful as it could be.  First, Dory makes a great sidekick, and her memory loss is pretty funny for a sidekick.  However, it gets a little old when your main character is constantly forgetting things.  It’s just not as funny as it could be.  Second, Marlin seems to have reverted completely back to his worrywart persona for much of the film.  One thing I liked in the first movie was his character growth, so seeing his character build from that would have been nice.

However, the one thing that Pixar constantly gets right is the fact that they don’t force all the characters from the first movie into the sequel.  We get some cameos by a few characters from the original, but that is all.  And while a few of the plot points feel familiar, it’s never for very long.  Instead, those plot points lead us into some wild new adventures.

And the creativity that the team shows makes this movie fun.  Almost all of the action takes place around the aquarium, and it requires the fish to get from one location to another outside of water at times.  Yet, they do it in some creative ways.  Oh, I know that in real life what they do could never work, but this is a Pixar movie, and I’m willing to give them a little license.

In fact, what we see over the course of the film is remarkably believable.  If you buy into the premise, you’ll go along for a great ride.  We meet some fun new characters as well, including the already mentioned Hank and a couple of whales with their own problems.  We also learn how Dory learned a couple of her trademarks.  All this leads up to one of Pixar’s patented climaxes that will not quit.  I wasn’t sure how they were going to resolve things until it all came together in a very fun way.  We also learn what seals are really saying, too.

I do want to address the lesbian couple controversy.  To be honest, I had to look it up on Google afterward to see what I had missed.  Yes, it’s not obvious in the scene because of so much else happening, but now I can see that it was there.  It’s a very very small part of the film (one scene) and not in your face at all.  Still, it is there, and parents might want to be aware of it and be prepared for it before they let their kids watch it.

As always, the animation is fantastic.  It fits perfectly with the world they already established in Finding Nemo stylistically.  That’s not to say there aren’t some beautiful shots along the way just like there were in the original.

The voice cast is fantastic.  Along with those I’ve already named, we get Ty Burrell and Kaitlin Olson with Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy as Dory’s parents.  They perfectly bring their characters to life.

And yes, there is a short to start out the movie.  “Piper” is an adorable film about a sandpiper leaving his nest for the first time.  The animation on it is outstanding.  Part of it looked very real like so much of The Good Dinosaur did.

Oh, and be sure you stay until the end credits are completed.  Trust me on this.

While Finding Dory doesn’t recapture the magic of the first movie, it does give us a good new adventure with old friends.  If you love these characters, you’ll be glad you came along for the ride.

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