Sunday, June 19, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Finding Dory (2016)

It's been a fairly sparse year so far in terms of brand-new movies which have interested me enough to go see them in a theater.

To date all of this year's "new" movies have come from different divisions of Disney: the Walt Disney Pictures drama THE FINEST HOURS (2016), Walt Disney Animation's ZOOTOPIA (2016), Marvel's CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016), and now Pixar's FINDING DORY (2016).

FINDING DORY is, of course, the long-awaited sequel to FINDING NEMO (2003). A year after meeting Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence), the notoriously forgetful Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) suddenly remembers she has a family.

Dory, who has always had a memory disability, had been separated in childhood from her loving parents, Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy). She's determined to find them again, with the help of her friends Marlin and Nemo, not to mention Crush the turtle (voiced by codirector/coscreenwriter Andrew Stanton).

Dory's search leads to a marine institute, where she makes friends with Hank (Ed O'Neill), an octopus whose ability to camouflage himself proves most helpfful.

With a similar "search" theme, FINDING DORY is something of a repeat of FINDING NEMO. However, it's beautiful to look at and is quality entertainment, even if it has a tiny bit of a "been there, done that" feel. One has only to have watched the many horrible trailers which preceded DORY to be grateful for its wholesome, heartwarming story and the care with which it was made.

I would have liked to see it have a bit more humor, while simultaneously I felt that the climax, with the octopus driving at truck, took the story too far out of the range of reality. However, those are minor complaints.

Dory's relationship with Hank the octopus is a lot of fun, and the film also utilizes her ability to "speak whale" in an amusing way.

One of the really cute storytelling twists is turning the "Voice of Sigourney Weaver," heard as the recorded host at the marine institute, into something of a character. Other voices heard in the film are Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, and, of course, Pixar's good luck charm, John Ratzenberger, playing a crab. Alexander Gould, who voiced Nemo in the original film, was brought back to voice another character.

Be sure to stay to the very end of the credits for a nice animated surprise.

FINDING DORY was directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane. The movie runs 97 minutes.

Parental Advisory: FINDING DORY is rated PG for "mild thematic elements."

Like all Pixar movies, FINDING DORY was preceded by an animated short. Today's short, PIPER (2016), was as good as anything Pixar has ever done. It's the story of a little bird whose mother is showing him how to leave the nest and begin to look for his own food on the beach, presented with remarkable animation and real heart. I look forward to watching it again on DVD or Blu-ray one day.


Blogger A said...

I finally saw 'Finding Dory'. It was as expected (I'm not a 'Nemo' fan and find Ellen DeGeneras's voice annoying), so it is definitely not one of my favorite Disney films. I loved the short preceding it.

12:38 AM  

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