Finding Dory (2016)

findingdory_2016_poster
Finding Dory (2016)
  • Time: 97 min
  • Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy
  • Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
  • Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neill, Eugene Levy, Sigourney Weaver

Storyline:

Dory is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The one thing she can remember is that she somehow became separated from her parents as a child. With help from her friends Nemo and Marlin, Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them. Her journey brings her to the Marine Life Institute, a conservatory that houses diverse ocean species. Dory now knows that her family reunion will only happen if she can save mom and dad from captivity.

4 reviews

  • (RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5)

    THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED.

    IN BRIEF: A fish-out-of-water tale that celebrates family, friendship, and disabilities.

    GRADE: B

    SYNOPSIS: Little Dory goes on a search for her parents and overcomes many hardships along her journey.

    JIM’S REVIEW: The search is on yet again in Disney / Pixar’s sequel to its 2003 hit, Finding Nemo. Only this time it’s not Marlin hunting for his son, but his lovable and forgetful sidekick on the road to find out. Things go swimmingly in this latest chapter. Finding Dory takes the same initial premise and repackages it into a family-friendly always entertaining computer-generated fantasy.

    The same love and care is on display in this finely crafted animated feature as before. The sequel may not be as original as its predecessor, (it isn’t), but it is still packed with enough emotion, insightful dialog, and visual awe. Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, Finding Dory finds the right course in telling its tale of a little fish with short term memory loss overcoming the odds in search for her family.

    Visually, the film remarkably creates its under the sea universe. The reflections, rich color palette, and lighting effects are rendered with expert details. There is so much to take in with the background photo realism, plus the character animation has subtle textures and expressions that provide an inner story to each character.

    Yet, the deeper message in this children’s film is its celebration of disabilities. Weaknesses become strengths in overcoming adversity and we moviegoers cheer our characters onward. Their quest eventually takes them to a marine research institute and, once the trio hits dry land, the sense of underwater wonder dries up a bit too. At this point, the script loses its way and starts to take an all too familiar route, introducing new adorable characters (and possible tie-ins at toy stores), leading to another zany far-fetched climactic chase scene and eventual reunion. Still, the predictability of the formula works yet again and unapologetically tugs at our emotional core.

    Behind the microphones are a talented cast of celebrities voicing these lovable characters. Taking center stage is Ellen DeGeneres’ Dory. The comedian gives her character a wonderful sweetness and breathless wonderment as Dory encounters new experiences along the way…but then, everything is new to our absent-minded heroine. Albert Brooks returns again as Marlin, and Hayden Rolence takes over as Dory’s sidekick, Nemo, and they make a delightful tag team. Providing vocal support are Idris Elba, Dominic West, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, with Ed O’Neill stealing every scene as crotchety Hank, the seven-armed camouflaged octopus.

    Not in the same league as the aforementioned 2003 film, Finding Dory essentially tells a familiar (and overly cute) story, although it relies a bit too much on its original source. The film still visually enchants and allows the moviegoer to sit back and enjoy the humorous adventure as one little fish conquers its own disability to find inner strength and happiness. Perfect family fare and beguiling in its under-the-sea eye-popping technicolor beauty, Finding Dory is not a top-tiered Disney / Pixar classic, in the lines of Toy Story, Up, or Ratatouille, but it is a very fine addition to the studio’s cinematic resume.

    NOTE: Showing with this film is an animated short called Piper. The film is charming and a shoo-in as an Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Short Film. Wordless and gorgeous in its splendid details and textures, the film tells a story of a little sandpiper gaining courage agains the forces of mature. Delightful.

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  • Well, it’s summer and that means sequels and/or blockbusters. It does not mean good movies. Come the fall we’ll have the Oscar contenders but right now we have blockbuster sequels or bust. Finding Dory does fits the summer mold but it does it in a grand style that won’t win awards but, at the very least, is entertaining. This is an entertaining movie that’s worth seeing.
    Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse have put together a screenplay that works beautifully. I don’t know if they wrote for Ellen Degeneres or if she took their words and made them her own but whichever it is Degeneres’s vocal delivery from tone to pacing pulls every laugh there is to be found in the words. Stanton and Angus MacLane keep it going as the directors with fast paced visuals and great timing. This whole movie has the tech end of it sewn up but what else should be expect from Pixar?
    The voices used are not to be ignored. The list includes names such as Stephen Root, Austin Pendleton, Allison Janney, Brad Garrett, Willem Dafoe, John Ratzenberger, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Dominic West, Idris Elba,Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy, and Diane Keaton. This doesn’t include people we have heard and loved without knowing who they were such as Vicki Lewis.
    As good as all of these people are it is Ellen DeGeneres’s Dory who dominates the whole movie. She is closely followed by Albert Books returning as Marlin, Hayden Rolence as Nemo, and Ed O’Neill as the octopus Hank. DeGeneres has a hesitant delivery, as if she’s thinking of the perfect word which is perfect for Dory. She plays the character’s emotions without losing the comic timing the character needs. There’s something about Brooks that always seems just a touch exasperated which works perfectly with Marlin, Nemo’s father. There isn’t the anguish of the first movie but Marlin seems to find the end of his rope quite often. Hayden Rolence voices Nemo with all the innocence the character should have. Interestingly, Alexander Gould, the original voice of Nemo, also voices a character but this one has gone through puberty this time. Both as a voice and as a visual the octopus Hank is very funny. O’Neill bounces vocally from demanding that Hank be in charge or they’re all going to die to helping them all survive and all the emotions in between and creates a vocal characterization that is hysterical.
    Finding Dory is a sequel so a number of things happen that are only there because of the first movie but they’re made to fit well and work for this movie. I give this movie 5 shells out of 5. If they did give awards for just getting everything right Finding Dory would be the winner.

  • With its fast paced story line, cartoon graphics, and aquatic protagonist, Finding Dory is perfectly tailored to captivate a child audience. As a result, it is likely those older than children have overlooked the movie, thinking it to be too juvenile to interest them. However, digging beyond the cute graphics, the film has a deeper lesson: interpersonal relations can be the most powerful tool in overcoming hardships. This moral makes Finding Dory relevant to all age groups. Some critics argue that the portrayal of marine life as being literate and surviving for long periods of time on land takes away from the validity and enjoyment of the film. However, quite the contrary, this unrealistic setting actually helps to accentuate its moral, making it more satisfying. Often times, familiar settings lead viewers to become biased and less able to see the true meaning of the film intended by its producers because they overlap their own life experiences onto those of the characters. That being established, Finding Dory has a clear moral. Dory is only able to accomplish her goal of finding her parents by borrowing the help of many others. Without, Marlin’s affection, Nemo’s optimism, Crush’s generosity, Hank’s resourcefulness, and much more, her mission would have been totally futile. The final scenes of the film are especially memorable because all of the characters are working together to return to the ocean where they belong and where Dory’s parents may be. Hank the octopus is furiously turning the steering wheel and the fish are sloshing every which way in their tanks as the truck topples over the edge of the seacliff. When they reach the water, everyone knows that it was nothing but their teamwork that brought them so far. These interpersonal relations, or rather interfishonal relations, are Dory’s most valuable asset. Finding Dory’s powerful lesson of teamwork makes it appealing to those of any age. Watching the film will serve as a reminder to all that asking for help is not showing weakness. In fact, it is when we rely on each other that great dreams are fulfilled, just as Dory’s dream to find her parents was realized.

  • Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The one thing she can remember is that she somehow became separated from her parents Charlie (Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Diane Keaton) as a child. With help from her friends Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks), Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them. Her journey brings her to the Marine Life Institute, a conservatory that houses diverse ocean species. Dory now knows that her family reunion will only happen if she can save mom and dad from captivity.

    From the way Finding Nemo ended, a sequel probably wasn’t necessary, but here we are nonetheless. Since Ellen DeGeneres’ Dory is one of the most memorable animated characters in this millennium (in my opinion), it would make sense to continue her story in any way possible. The fact that DeGeneres pleaded for a sequel for so long after the release of Finding Nemo also helped get this film gain momentum.

    From what we all saw in Finding Nemo, Dory was a kooky, comic relief character, but we didn’t know much about her. In this sequel, we get to learn more about Dory’s character and her backstory. We catch a glimpse of a younger Dory (Sloane Murray), which is one of the cutest things on screen. We also got to meet her parents, Charlie (Levy) and Jenny (Keaton). It was evident how much they cared for Dory and Dory for them. After a freak accident, Dory finds herself separated from her parents and thus begins her quest to find them. Since she suffers from short-term memory loss, she forgets more and more about them over time until she has forgotten them altogether.

    The film takes place one year after the events of Finding Nemo where we find Dory, Marlin, and Nemo (Rolence) living together. The three live a pretty normal life with Dory often joining Mr. Ray’s (Bob Peterson) expeditions and frequently wandering off. One day, memories of her family and parents are triggered causing her to start missing her parents and wanting to find them. Because of Dory’s memory problem, Marlin and Nemo decide to tag along. Dory’s memories are triggered the further they go guiding them to her parents.

    Things quickly change when Dory is led by Sigourney Weaver (it makes sense) to a marine institute where she then meets a grumpy octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neil). With Hank scheduled to be released into the sea, he sees Dory as a means to be put somewhere in a tank of his own. He decides to help her find her parents in exchange to go to an aquarium. Hank starts off helping her begrudgingly, but they form a strong bond over time. Along the way, they run into a whale shark named Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and a beluga whale named Bailey (Ty Burrell). They all work together in order to help Dory find her parents who may or may not be in the institute.

    While Dory is finding her way through the institute, Marlin and Nemo find a way to get to Dory. This introducing us to new characters along the way–most notably a pair of sea lions named Fluke (Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West).

    While a lot of the story was entertaining and had comedic moments, as most animated films do, there was a surprising amount of emotion as well. Ever since Finding Nemo, Dory was already a great character, but her internal, personal struggle here was very compelling to watch. Seeing her desperately wanting to find her parents, while trying to overcome her memory problems, was compelling to watch because of both the great script and DeGeneres’ great, nuanced vocal performance as Dory. She was able to make you laugh and make you cry, which isn’t easy in animated film and is more of a testament to her performance than anything else. While DeGeneres was great in Finding Nemo, she took this sequel to an even higher level. It was just as good if not better than the Oscar-nominated Finding Nemo (I wouldn’t be surprised if this receives an Oscar nom too).

    This film may not have been necessary, but I’m glad it was made. Finding Nemo is a classic, but this one takes it to the next level creating an even greater emotional connection for adults and kids alike.

    Score: 10/10

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