Finding Dory (Review)
Written by Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
I love Finding Nemo. It's near the top of the list in terms of the best 3D animated movies of all time. I still remember going to see it in theatres with my mom when I was 8 and getting a poster from playing a fishing game the theatre had set up for promotion and getting the talking toys at McDonalds that had Dory speaking whale. So you can imagine my (and seemingly many others, my family included) excitement when I heard they were making a sequel to Finding Nemo but instead focusing on everyone's favorite forgetful fish, Dory. It's a tough task and after the massive success of the Toy Story series and the middling success of the Monsters Inc sequel Monsters University I had high hopes this would turn out more Toy Story 3 and less Monsters U.
The story picks up one year after Nemo returns home from the previous film and finds him, Marlin and Dory living together when suddenly Dory remembers who her parents are and that she has to go and find them. The opening sequence to the film is for me, absolutely heartbreaking to watch. It's "Up" level sad. What follows is a pretty epic quest to go and find Dory's family again. We see some familiar faces like Crush and Squirt, and are introduced to some new characters like Hank who a septopus, (an octopus with a missing tentacle) and some rather interesting whales named Bailey and Destiny. This movie really is the celebration of people's differences and short comings and how they perservere and help each other to over come their fears and insecurities united in a common goal to help Dory find her family. It's a sweet message and one I think kids can learn from. We do get looks back at Dory as a child with her parents and those moments highlight what it's like to have a child that requires extra assistance in day to day life. It's touching and pretty unheard of in a big budget movie like this, that will I hope open some peoples eyes and give them an idea, myself included, a taste of what it's like for others to take care of people such as Dory.
It was nice to see Dory shine in this movie, they really made a case for her to be the star and Ellen brought some real weight to the character when the story demanded it. There are some really dour serious moments in this movie and they feel genuine and powerful and that's something that Pixar just seems to get right every time.
The story isn't without its faults. The seals, pictured above somewhat squash the idea of inclusion when they pick on Jerald, a clearly not bright seal who wants to sit on their rock with them. As well as the bird Becky, who is very disheveled looking and cross eyed and is equally treated as less than by Marlin when he has to recruit her help. I found that to be a step back for his character who should have learned from having a son, and Dory both with their own issues that inhibit their abilities.
The story sort of goes from one place to another, meandering a bit and borrows plot points from Finding Nemo and a sequence from Toy Story 3 reworked into the fish world. There is also a bit too much silliness, the characters like the whales and the seals are played almost too silly and some laughs come at the expense of the less intelligent Becky and Jerald, nothing overly terrible just not exactly great either.
Overall I enjoyed Finding Dory. It's a fun time at the movies. My theatre was packed but the kids were very respectful and seemingly engaged in the whole experience. It's quite dark and somber at points and will pull at heart strings like the best of Pixar. It also has the goofiness that the worst of Pixar can pull out from time to time but it's kept relatively smart throughout it's run time and is defintely worth checking out in theatres, either with kids or if you just enjoy a good Pixar film.