Monday, July 4, 2016

Finding Dory

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Just keep swimming...but wait to do it for two hours if you just ate.

Finding Dory – 5 out of 5

I know that every time I watch a Pixar film I sing their praises but that’s because they deserve it.  They are an incredible animation studio.  Even though feature length animated films aren’t necessarily just for children they are often widely considered to be just that.  Pixar came along and created films with state-of-the-art computer generation animation and stories that are full of heart and are capable of making you both laugh and cry (and Pixar really likes to make you cry).  When they made Finding Nemo in 2003 they ended up creating something that not only decimated at the Box Office but was something that was instantly instilled into the consciousness of the pop culture collective and a film that will clearly live on for ages.  Now, 13 years later, we return to the undersea world for a new adventure with Finding Dory.


Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is the delightful but forgettable little regal blue tang.  A year after she met Marlin (Albert Brooks) and helped him find his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence), Dory is starting to have flashes of her memory return to her and she recalls her parents.  With the help of her two friends, she sets out to locate them and finds herself at the Marine Life Institute but gets separated from Marlin and Nemo.  With the help of a grumpy octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill), Dory sets out to search the institute high and low for her parents while Marlin and Nemo meet a wide variety of wild characters to help them reunite with their forgetful friend.

Octopi, the creepiest and, simultaneously, coolest of all of the sea creatures.

Finding Dory is, basically, just another prime example of just how amazing everyone at Pixar is.  Even though this sequel was done nearly a decade and a half after the first one it feels like no time has passed.  Sure, the original voice of Nemo (Alexander Gould) isn’t reprising his role—because he grew up—but Pixar didn’t tell him to shove off and they even brought him in to do a cameo voice.  Overall, the entire film has the exact same tone of the first movie but also feel like a great new adventure that sees our beloved characters grow and develop.  The production really mastered satisfying the nostalgia itch but refrained from making this just one long reference to what came beforehand and made it something that is also new and a whole lot of fun.

That seal is Gerald and, not surprisingly, people are offended by the fact
he's the outcast of the seals.  We love to outrage over everything.

Ty Burrell (the beluga whale) is also Phil Dunphy.
I openly admit that Phil Dunphy is my hero!
The voice acting in the feature is the usual top-notch quality that you usually see in Pixar features.  The returning cast like Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks (and even some post-credit cameos) are as fantastic as they were in the previous film and the new cast members are keeping the quality high.  Ed O’Neill brings his natural talent for playing a loveable grump as Hank, there’s a whale shark and beluga whale played by Kaitlin Olson and Ty Burrell wonderfully, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy bring Dory’s parents to life, we get a reunion for two cast members from The Wire as Idris Elba and Dominic West play two sea lions and Sloane Murray provides one of the most adorable voices as a baby Dory.  Every actor brings their sea-life characters to life perfect and really help bring this character-rich story to fruition.

How long until people dub lines from The Wire over these two?

Finally, the animation in this film is rich with color and absolutely gorgeous.  The environments look incredible—whether it is the wilds of the ocean that included vast kelp beds or a very impressive shipwreck inhabited by a giant squid and even the institute itself—and the water effects and character animations are extremely impressive.  The way the animators were able to emote with the characters (and mix that with the fantastic voice acting) and you got some real emotion that really tug at all your emotional strings.

Cup O' Dory.

And speaking of pulling emotional strings…it’s no surprise that the story is filled with charm, heart and drama.  Pixar’s writers really know how to craft stories that are not only fun and sweet but can really make you cry over the sympathetic drama and heartbreak—and believe me, this one really made for the waterworks with me.  However, as often as this film made you tear up over the struggle Dory went through, it also made me smile stupidly over its charm and tender tone and laugh warmly over some very great gags and jokes.

I can't handle how incredibly adorable baby Dory is!

I walked out of Finding Dory without a single complaint.  Even when the film felt like they were stacking conflict upon conflict during the film’s climax, it didn’t feel like it was writers attempt to add to the running length but rather them challenging themselves and trying to make Dory’s journey tougher and even more meaningful.  Overall, this film just felt like this is Pixar in their prime and proving once again that they are masters of their craft.  It was also a nice return after a less-than-spectacular product that was their last feature; The Good Dinosaur.

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