Finding Dory stars the voices of Ellen DeGeneres (Finding Nemo, Ellen), Ed O’Neil (The Bone Collector, Modern Family), Diane Keaton (The Godfather, Annie Hall), Eugene Levy (Best in Show, SCTV) and is directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL.E).
After the events of Finding Nemo, Dory, Marlin and Nemo are all living safe and sound until Dory begins to remember her parents and home. So they set out on an adventure yet again across the ocean to find Dory’s home, along the way meeting lots of new colorful and exciting new friends.
Finding Nemo is not only one of Pixar’s best but it’s one of the best animated films of all time. So going into this sequel/spinoff, I had to put aside my love for the original and try to view Finding Dory on its own. I’m pretty sure I accomplished that but I still was disappointed last night after seeing this film. It’s not horrible but compared to recent Pixar and the majority of their films, it didn’t meet their standards. There’s a lot to discuss so lets get into Finding Dory.
So although this follows on after Finding Nemo, really it’s a spinoff. Dory is front and center for almost the entity of the film and unlike a lot of side characters, she can carry a full feature. I was worried going in that we saw the perfect amount of her in Nemo and that she would be annoying as the lead character but the opposite was true. I think I like her even more now I’ve seen this film because you were able to delve more into her struggles with short-term memory loss and how difficult that can be. Ellen DeGeneres is perfect in this role and through her voice acting, you get that emotion and likability.
Speaking of emotion, Finding Dory is a heartfelt even sad story. I didn’t think the humor worked as well as I would have liked but the emotional beats were amazing. Over the years Pixar have been great at ripping out hearts of kids and adults and with Finding Dory there were several moments throughout the film that really hit me hard. It almost got to the point it was a negative for the film, as the first thing the little boy sitting next to me said to his dad when the film ended was “that was a really sad film”. There was enough fun and humor too but if you cry easily, this one will probably get you.
This is a Pixar film so of course the animation is gorgeous. What really blew me away in Finding Nemo and now in this one, was how breathtaking the ocean looks in these films. I made the stupid mistake of not taking a drink to this film and about 20 minutes in I was desperate for a glass of water. The glistening blue sea looks beautiful and for that alone this film is worth seeing, just make sure you have a beverage.
So like I said this is a Dory film and as much as I enjoyed the character of Dory, the plot emulated her in a way I found tiring. This entire film is, Dory gets into a problem, she gets out but then forgets what’s happening and has to start again. I felt after every scenario the story was restarting in a different location until you finally get to the conclusion. This worked for the first 20 to 30 minutes but then it got to the point it was annoying and repetitive. I guess watching this film is like having a conversation with Dory, in which it goes in a thousand different directions but never gets anywhere.
I don’t really want to compare this film to the first one but at the same time I can’t help but notice where Dory failed and Nemo succeeded. For me that was the side-characters you meet along the way. In Finding Nemo there were constant new fishes popping up that populated the film with brilliant scene after brilliant scene. In Finding Dory I found them all (with the exception of the two whales) to be pretty boring. I had heard people raving about the Octopus and how he stole the film. I thought the way he used his camouflage to move around was cool but other than that I didn’t care for him. Bruce the shark, the ‘mine’ birds, the turtles, the tuna, the pelican, all side-characters from Finding Nemo that I still vividly remember and enjoy but I doubt I’ll remember any from Finding Dory.
Not just in Finding Nemo but in every great animated film, one of the standout aspects is always the humor and for me this was my biggest weakness with Finding Dory. I chuckled a few times but there wasn’t any big laugh out loud moments and overall I came out of the film thinking, “that was an OK animated drama not an OK animated comedy”.
Finding Dory was a fun enough film but as I hold Pixar up to such high standards, I was disappointed. Dory herself was great, it’s very heartfelt but ultimately it was pretty average.
Have you seen Finding Dory and what did you think of Pixar’s latest outing?