|Ellen DeGeneres and Ed O'Neill share a moment in, Finding Dory|
How many times have I seen 2003's Finding Nemo? Just ask my kids. I wouldn't doubt if it's been over a hundred times so far. When they were young, my children would watch that DVD over everything else (unless it was new, then straight back to Nemo), and more than once per day. I even had to replace the discs a few times as well, since they couldn't understand that sensitive plastic should never be scraped across a hardwood floor.
There was something special about that film. So special in fact, that I never got sick of seeing it repeated over and over (and over) again. Hell, I've got most of the dialogue memorized, and the final scene always fills my tear ducts. In the overall history of film making, Pixar was still fairly new at the time of Finding Nemo and its sentimental quality showed. Nowadays, Pixar is still at the top of the animation food chain, but I can't help but feel that their best days are in the past.
Does Pixar's newest sequel Finding Dory, have the classic re-playability like its predecessor? That's actually up to the viewer, younger and older. For me however, it's very close. Does it pique my sense of wonder this time around? Not really. But thankfully, this is no Cars 2. This is a worthy successor and follow up to the beloved classic (I think thirteen years is long enough to call it that).
But instead of it being an adventure about a father learning to let his debilitated son experience life on his own, the debilitation of Dory takes the forefront of this story and controls the entire adventure. Pixar loves to discuss issues and that's fine, even great, but this is a kid's movie, not a statement billboard. To prove that this is a kid's film, I'll just use one word; "cute". Finding Dory is full of it. Cute moments, cute flashbacks, and even cute otters.
There's way more cute this time than before. The plot itself reminds me of a mash up between the original film, and elements of Toy Story 3. It all flows well enough, yet I found myself comparing it a little too much. The vibrant colors of the visuals, are the best that money can buy. And as dependable as always, the humor is comfortably placed in all the right places. It's not easy to make people care about a creature created on a computer screen, but these guys prove that it's possible.
Of course, the voice actors are nothing to scoff at either. If they don't deliver the proper amount of heart and energy to their characters, then all the money in the world couldn't save the picture. In the role that she was born to play, Ellen DeGeneres (Mr. Wrong) gives us more Dory, and we are thankful for it. Sure, Alert Brooks (Drive) and newcomer Hayden Rolence are well suited for their turns as Marlin and his son Nemo, but we want to see us some Dory!
Without Marlin's constant panic attacks to overshadow her problems, this time Dory gets to take things over and runs away with it. Her new partner, is a seven-tentacled octopus named Hank. Voiced by underrated actor Ed O'Neill (Modern Family), Hank is that full package character that makes you laugh, cheer, and want to see more of. There are many more names as well, yet the only others worth mentioning for me, are the sea lions voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West (both from The Wire). They are like the combination of the annoying seagulls (mine) and Bruce the shark (& company) from before.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Finding Dory
The Good- Baby Dory, the sentimental seashells, John Ratzenberger (every Pixar movie) as a crab cutting sea grass, the delivery truck escape, those damn cute as hell sea otters, and the after credits scene.
The Bad- That regrettable feeling that no one is ever in any real danger and that it's all going to work out. Where's Pixar's statement on how mental conditions can and sometimes will get even worse?
The Ugly- That damn short film, Piper, delaying the start of a film that I've waited thirteen long years to see! How dare they make us wait so that we can see the most detailed animation so far?! The sand, the critters, the water, even the bubbles, were insanely detailed. It looks so good, it's scary. Best part, the cute little bird didn't sing and dance.
Finding Dory is a respectable follow up to Pixar's best film. It has a couple of issues to be sure, yet its heart is in the right place. Stay after the end credits to see a long time question get answered. Thank God for streaming when this comes out in a few months at home; Let's see those little bastards scratch that!
Rating- 8 out of 10
Finding Dory (2016)
PG | 103 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy | 17 June 2016 (USA)
The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Writers: Andrew Stanton (original story by), Andrew Stanton (screenplay)
Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill