“Finding Dory” Movie Review

Let’s be honest with ourselves. There was a time when a sequel to any Pixar movie was considered a gamble, and overall just a waste of time. However, after seeing Finding Dory, I would beg to differ. This aquatic-based computer-animated comedy released on June 17th, 2016, where it broke opening weekend box office numbers for an animated movie. Picking up a year after the previous Finding Nemo, we follow the forgetful blue regal tang fish, Dory, when one day, she remembers her old family. So now she makes her way to the Jewel of Morro Bay, California. All the while, the clown fish Marlin is reluctant to go out into the sea once more after having previously lost his son Nemo. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks reprise their roles from the first movie and haven’t a single ounce of their touch. In fact, they sound so unchanged, you could swear they made this film over ten years ago. Ellen is hilarious as Dory and was really able to bring something to the character. I mean, a person (or animal, in this case) that can’t remember anything within an hour’s worth of time? That should be really annoying, and yet DeGeneres kept her interesting and endearing. Along with the three returning main characters, there is a whole new array of supporting characters to become involved with. But the movie primarily focuses on the relationship between Dory and the octopus Hank. Bitter after losing one of his tentacles in the open ocean, Hank agrees to help Dory only in exchange for a one-way trip to an aquarium in Cleveland. Late-night sitcom veteran Ed O’Neill does a fantastic job voicing the character, projecting a strong comedic timing mirroring a cynicism that can only be cured by the optimism of “just keep swimming.” Ty Burell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olson, and Idris Elba also provide their voices for a variety of aquatic animals in the Marine Life Institute. Elba, (in like his 5th movie this year) a snarky sea lion, only appears a few times in the movie, but the moments he was on screen were really funny, almost as if he’s a natural at voice acting. And of course, we have to talk about the computer animation by Pixar Animation Studios. As with every Pixar movie released, the animations and art design of Finding Dory are absolutely beautiful. There is not a single frame devoid of bright or flamboyant colors, from the Marine Life Institute to Marlin and Nemo’s home coral. Each scene looks smooth and crisp in both framerate and lighting. And also like all other Pixar movies, there’s the soundtrack to praise as well. Thomas Newman’s score in Finding Nemo was excellent, and it’s no different in this sequel. Such soothing and sweeping instrumental tracks perfectly exemplify the natural beauty and scope and depth of the ocean in which the main protagonists must travel across in order to make it to their destinations. But that doesn’t detract from tracks for exciting and intense moments, like when the trio are down in a ship wreckage and desperately try to escape the wrath of a squid. Despite all of the praise of which I have just heaped upon the movie, it still cannot reach the level of emotional appeal as the first. I mean to stress, it’s quite funny and touching at the right times, but it never made choke up or well out any tears like Finding Nemo did. Whether that makes this movie a failure, that’s entirely subjective to the viewer’s opinion. But in a sense of objectivity, Finding Dory can still be qualified as yet another fulfilling entry into Pixar’s extensive catalog. The voice acting is great, the attention to detail is phenomenal, the characters are all hilarious, and the premise is executed very well. I would say that it was worth waiting nearly 13 years for a sequel, no matter how skeptical we all may have been. And yes, the animated short at the very beginning was nothing short of ADORABLE.

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