Finding Dory (PG)
26/06/16 23:43 Filed in: 2016
Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres
The below comments (in Black) were originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appear @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation (in Red). For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
The animated short #Piper is equal parts cute and brilliant.
“I suffer from short term memory loss.” Admitting it is the first step.
“What if I forget you?” One minute in and I’m already tearing up.
Is that #VWBug on the ocean floor #Herbie?
#StingrayMigration Gorgeous animation. #Pixar
“Go for distance.” Hilarious!
“I’m okay with crazy.” Dory’s been there and back a few times.
“No memories no problems.” But no meaning either.
“What would Dory do?” #WWDD
“Follow the shells.” An underwater version of Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
“Your orange friends are on their way to Cleveland.” They must be #Browns.
All shells lead to home.
“You remembered.” Heartwarming scene.
“There are no walls in the ocean.” #FreeWilly moment.
“The best things happen by chance.” Dory’s guiding philosophy.
“Unforgettable.” Just like the movie.
Final analysis: just as enjoyable as the first film but for completely different reasons.
Rating: 3 out of 4. Though not as mesmerizing as the #FindingNemo, #Dory has even more heart. Superb sequel.
During the twenty-one years since Pixar released its first animated feature, Toy Story (1995), the animation studio has cranked out one hit after the next in an unparalleled feat of commercial and creative dominance. The studio’s highest grossing film (adjusted for inflation) is Finding Nemo (2003); the film was directed by Andrew Stanton and featured the voice talents of Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres. That formidable team has reunited in the sequel, Finding Dory, which has been thirteen years in the making. So let’s address the nagging question in everyone’s mind: is Dory as good as Nemo? Short answer…no. In some ways such a comparison is unfair since one of the main objectives in producing the first film was to prove that underwater (the most difficult of all environments to animate) sequences could be done, and done well, with CGI. The vibrant colors, virtual encyclopedia of fish species and gorgeous photo-realistic underwater environments made for an immersive viewing experience nearly unparalleled in cinema history (Nemo stands as the finest 3D film that isn’t). Whereas, the animation in Dory is still exceptional, the palette isn’t nearly as expansive, nor does it need to be since it’s a more intimate lost-and-found tale. So where did Dory go wrong? Unfortunately, it took a page out of parent company Disney’s book and followed the formula established in last year’s Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, a virtual rewrite of Star Wars (1977), with a dash of Empire (1980) and Jedi (1983) thrown in for good measure. Likewise, Dory is a virtual reworking of Nemo, but in reverse: clown fish Marlin (Brooks) and son Nemo (Hayden Rolence) are searching for missing Dory (DeGeneres) who, in turn, is searching for her parents Charlie (Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Diane Keaton). Many characters from Nemo appear here, like manta ray school teacher Mr. Ray (Bob Peterson) and laid back turtle Crush (Stanton), and show up in sequences that are so similar to the ones in the original film they may cause feelings of déjà vu. This sameness is this film’s Achilles’ heel and recalls the foisted, perfunctory Radiator Springs scenes in Cars 2 (2011), which, despite offering ample contextualization and that warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia, ultimately created boredom from familiarity. Fortunately, most of Dory’s story redundancies take place early in the film. Some of the passages near the middle of the movie, like Marlin and Nemo’s various pratfalls as they make their way through the Marine Life Institute in search of Dory, are a tad pedestrian—even by animated movie standards—and just feel like filler until the movie’s two major reunions take place. But all is not lost as there are many things that recommend this film as a worthy follow-up to Nemo. Many of the new characters are welcome additions to the aquatic menagerie, particularly: Hank the curmudgeonly octopus (Ed O’Neill), Destiny the myopic whale shark (Kaitlin Olson), Bailey the concussed beluga whale (Ty Burrell) and Fluke the territorial sea lion (Idris Elba). The action-packed climax, where Dory and friends must rescue Marlin and Nemo from a Cleveland-bound semi truck is uproariously funny and recalls the frenetic action in the similarly-themed airport rescue at the end of Toy Story 2 (1999). Of course, as has become standard in Pixar movies, Dory contains plenty of hard-hitting emotional scenes, which, like the opening moments of Up (2009), will have grown men (like this one) tearing up all over the theater. Indeed, has there ever been a more pathos-inducing animated character than a tiny fish with short-term memory problems alone and lost in a gigantic ocean? The scene where tiny Dory, with her cute, quavering little voice, frets over forgetting her parents is absolutely heart-rending. The implications of this scene won’t be lost on parents of special needs children or on adults grappling with memory loss in their aging parents. However, there’s an even broader message here about the nature of memories and how vital they are in shaping our identity and reality. Deep subject matter for an animated film, but this is just proof positive that Pixar films are really made for adults, with just enough action and humor to keep the kiddies interested. In the final analysis, Nemo may be the finer film, but Dory has more heart. The sequel is truly A-Dory-ble! Here’s a thought to ponder: if the next film in the series takes another thirteen years to produce, the storyline may feature Nemo and Dory searching for Nemo’s dementia-stricken father in Finding Marlin. Poor taste since I’m writing this review on Father’s Day?