Finding Dory (2016) Review: Just Keep Feeling
I’ve now reached a point in my life where the unnecessary sequels that are being made are based off of movies that I saw in their initial release. The feeling of a beloved story that may be muddled by the cash grab disguised as the next chapter no one asked for, I now understand. Still, Pixar is Pixar and despite not being as perfect as they once were, the name inspires confidence. Although, since their last attempt at a revival of a long property was the decent, yet forgettable Monsters University, I went into this one cautious to say the least.
As I learned in the first film though, I can’t go through life being afraid of everything. No need to in this case because ‘Finding Dory’ is nothing to fear, in fact, it’s simply sublime. After having striking new memory about her parents, ‘Finding Dory’ follows the adventure of Dory, Marlin and Nemo as they embark across the ocean to find Dory’s long lost parents. Rather than a strict repeat of the first film however, ‘Finding Dory’ surprised and delighted me.
While it’s been 13 years since the ‘Finding Nemo’ hit theatres, (Yeah. You’re old) the movie takes place just one year after Nemo was found. It remarkably doesn’t feel awkward or forced at all. The characters immediately fall back into place and it’s almost as if you never left them. At the same time, the movie isn’t afraid to show growth. Finding Dory does the best any sequel can do. Keep it familiar but also show a little more the second time around.
That little more also comes in the form of new characters. Just like the first film, the adventure is helped along by a series of friendly fish. Instead of strangers across the ocean though, these friends are found in Dory’s home, the Marine Life Institute. It doesn’t give quite the wild and diverse environments of the first film, but having a centralized location provides for a more focused film.
Whether it’s Ed O’Neil as a curmudgeonly Octopus with a heart of gold, or Kaitlin Olson as a near sighted whale shark, the new cast has plenty of the entertaining yet heartwarming stories the first film was known for. It’s amazing how much character the movie was able to get out of them with the little screen time they were given. It’s inspiring considering most animated films use their cast as one bit jokes that do nothing but irritate the viewer by the time the movie is over.
Animation has come a long way since 2003. ‘Finding Nemo’ is still an amazingly fluid, gorgeous film to this date, but ‘Finding Dory’ highlights just how far the medium has come. Nothing shows this more than the character of Hank. The way his individual tentacles move so rapidly, shows an immense amount of work put into making the character seem as lifelike as possible. Usually when they try this with humans, it’s alienating rather than immersive.
There’s a lot to love about the ‘Finding Dory’. It has everything to love about the original and more. The best thing about it is the dialogue. Like the first movie it emphasizes extreme normalcy, giving the characters little phrases that people use everyday. It humanizes them and gives credence to this underwater society it’s trying to sell. Plus it’s really clever, so when it makes jokes, the jokes really land.
I really liked ‘Finding Dory’. It finds a very sweet balance with its tone, weaving in the more heartfelt moments among the levity. Its creativity is only matched by its technical prowess. While it plays the same beat as the original, ‘Finding Dory’ is its own song. It’s more focused and energized, much like Dory herself. It’s far from disappointing and a very good film by its own right, and definitely worth Full Price.