The Disney magic has been unleashed once more, and this time they bring us yet another sequel. Today’s review takes to the depths of the ocean, to a reef that ten years ago served as the stage for the adventure of three fish in a great blue ocean. Yes, today we review the ever anticipated Finding Dory. Will this sequel be everything you wanted? Has Disney cheated us out of quality once again? Please read to find out.
- The Comedy
- The Cuteness
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Surprise…the Animation
Is it any surprise that Pixar has surprisingly managed to bring comedy to their works? If it is, then shame on you for not watching more of their films. Finding Dory has a little bit of something for everyone that had the audience (including yours truly) laughing up a storm. Kids will love the exaggerated, goofy, slapstick comedy and guttural noises, often repeating the words over again as if a second time will make it even funnier. Adults, however get the better end of the deal for once, with plenty of references that older audience members will relish in, while their kids will just stare at the pretty colors and cute fish.
Speaking of cute, despite some of the more adult references this film maintains that charm and magic that Disney brought with the first film. Dory is adorable, her innocence and sincerity by far the most endearing quality of the film. Her flashbacks to her younger self had everyone in the audience going awwwwww, and her moral compass brought the emotional tearjerker to the eye. Outside of the blue tang, Nemo is still as cute as a button and the new addition Destiny was sweet as well.
But all of this factors down to the legendary talk show host Ellen providing amazing voice work. Ellen’s dynamic personality carries over into Dory and keeps the film fun and energetic (yes like a dog). Her delivery is jokes is perfect and very Ellen like and the more emotional moments are laced with a strong talent Ellen has. Yeah, the other actors did a great job, each providing their own zing, spin, and emotion to the mix, but Ellen as the headlines was the thing that won me over. In particular, the interactions between Hank and Dory were by far the most entertaining of the bunch.
As for the animation, there are no surprises that Pixar did a fantastic job as always. The fish move just like fish, delicately floating in the sea until something massive attempts to make dinner out of them. The water itself is also fantastically brought to life, each component of it looking incredibly realistic in terms of texture and fluidity. These detail even carry over to the environment itself, as the reef, wreckage, and the marina are brought out into the high definition detail Pixar is famous for. If only the humans looked better, then everything would fall into place.
- The Story
- The Overdone comedy antics
- Characters felt cheated out sometimes
Okay, I know I’m probably committing a sin by calling out some of the weaknesses to the film, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t provide a full report. Finding Dory’s story is one area of improvement that Pixar should have looked into a little more. Think back to Nemo’s tale, his dad transversed the whole ocean with Dory facing dangers and uncovering areas of the reef we only saw in documentaries. It was exciting, it was exotic, and it was incredibly detailed. Not the case in this one. Finding Dory had a lot of emotion and the comedy was there to make it fun, but it wasn’t as exciting as its predecessor. The dangers of the deep were a little more lax, and the aquarium while stunning, didn’t have the same edge we got all those years ago. Seeing Dory’s flashbacks were great in the character development strategies, but the obvious foreshadowing and diluted suspense had me feel something was missing.
In addition, while the comedy was fun for all ages, it got overdone at times. Yes, little kids can’t get enough of anything and from a market standpoint it makes sense. However, in terms of quality, blasting the audience with whale noises, silly sounds, and smacking into walls begins to lower the scores a bit. Most will probably be okay with beating the dead house, but for me I like a little more balance in the comedy than what I got in this film.
Jumping back to the story, I felt manay characters got the short end of the stick in this film. No surprise that Dory takes the center stage, hence the title, but does that mean that characters like Marlin and Nemo have to be reduced to a shell of what they once were. Again, think back to Finding Nemo, a good balance between Marlin’s adventure and Nemo’s struggles in the tank. In this film, Marlin and Nemo are more side characters with some humorous moments, but seldom important for the story. I’m sure this was to help give the movie a different feel, but they could have done better to balance their characters.
Finding Dory is still a great addition to the Pixar library. It’s fun for all ages, very sweet, and packs the same animation punch this studio is famous for. Unfortunately the story is not as exciting as the first travel into the blue void and some of our characters get the short end that is disappointing. Overall though, I’m happy with the adventure and I hope that many will enjoy this movie as much as I did. Worth the 3-D showing? I can’t say it makes the total experience, but the visuals promise even better detail in 3-D. Is it worth a trip to the theater? Yes…yes it is.
Movie Overall: 8.0