Monday, June 20, 2016

Finding Dory - Movie Review: A Deserving Sequel

Pixar waited so long to make a sequel to Finding Nemo I now have two kids to take to the movies. When it first came out I’ll I had to take was a date.

Finding Dory starring Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O’Neil, Albert Brooks, Kaitlin Olson, and directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane. The movie tells the story of how Dory slowly begins to remember small bits about her childhood and parents. She wants to try to find and reunite with them. That’s it, simple premise for a simple movie, but Pixar always finds ways to put more than what meets the eye into their kid’s films.

Finding Dory also fills in backstory about how Dory knew so many things in Finding Nemo. Did you wonder why a fish who can’t remember anything knows how to read and can talk to whales? This film explains how and does it extremely well. They weave how she gained her knowledge seamlessly into the film, and add onto what she knows while she is meeting new and old friends. The movie is a journey similar to Finding Nemo, but it is a different story. We meet a new host of side characters and they all are welcome additions to this ocean universe.

The standout among the new side characters is Hank the Octopus, voiced by Ed O’Neil. All Hank wants is to go to Cleveland and not be released back into the ocean. He gets wrapped up into helping Dory, and their interactions help make the film a treat to watch. DeGeneres and O’Neil bring both characters to life, and their chemistry, even if it is just vocal, is fantastic in the film. The other new character who stood out was Destiny the Whale-Shark voiced by Kaitlin Olson. From the trailers I didn’t know if she was going to be a welcome addition, but she was fantastic and the character had me laughing throughout the entire movie.

The comedy is another strong point for the film. I was laughing the entire run time and it has humor for both kids and adults, like most Pixar films. I laughed the hardest at the Sea Lions who were voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West who were great editions to the comic relief. They worked well for both children and parents in the audience I saw the film with. The movie had a great mixture of comedy and actual story. For those worried the side character of Dory couldn’t hold an entire film, they shouldn’t have. Stanton and MacLane had a story to tell with Dory and did a good job in telling it.

I’m not sure if anyone will be tearing up during Finding Dory, but the film does tug at your heartstrings. I found myself, as a parent, being emotionally invested in Dory’s story because of the connection I have to my kids. I heard before seeing this movie that Finding Dory could be a beacon for kids with disabilities, and I can see how the film could speak to those children and their parents. Dory is the undeniable hero of this film, and saves the day on numerous occasions in a fashion unique to her character.

The only problems I had with the film is that they went a little overboard with the ending. They could have ended the film on a few occasions, but kept extending scenarios which became more and more ludicrous. Yes this is a children’s movie about talking marine life, but for the finale I felt they broke some of the rules that had been established for the world they had created. Which is something that always bothers me. Create a world, and stick to the rules created for it. I’m can suspend my disbelief if a film does this, but I was pulled out of watching Finding Dory during the finale because of the events happening on screen.

The only other complaint I can see being leveled at the movie are the parts with Marlin and Nemo. They are important for the story, but I felt there side adventure wasn’t put together as well as Dory’s. The movie dragged just a bit when the movie flashed over to them, which in the original you were invested in both Marlin finding Nemo, and Nemo’s adventure in the fish tank. Marlin and Nemo’s parts aren’t horrible, but just not to the level of the main storyline. I don’t think they could be cut from the film, but you get the sense the writers weren’t completely sure what to do with them for the movie.

Overall Finding Dory is a very good film that touches your heart, and tells a compelling story about the fish who forgets. It isn’t the best Pixar movie ever, but they set such a high standard with their movies it’s hard to beat their top tier. This is film is Worth Seeing, and worth adding to your Pixar collection when it comes to home video. Take your kids or a date to see movie and have fun.

What did you think of Finding Dory if you have seen it? I’ll be generic, unlike Pixar, and ask what is your favorite Pixar film? My top two are Up and Inside Out. Inside Out keeps impressing me every time my four year old puts it on. I find myself always watching when he does. 

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