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Finding Dory – Review


Release Date: 17 June 2016 [USA]
Director: Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane
Writer: Andrew Stanton [Screenplay] - Andrew Stanton - Victoria Strouse - Bob Peterson [Story]
Cast: Ellen DeGeneres - Albert Brooks - Ed O'Neill

Posted June 16, 2016 by

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Finding Dory Review:

When I heard that Finding Dory was releasing, I really had to contain my excitement since it was Disney Pixar’s calling card to explain more into the backstory on my favorite character that came straight out of Finding Nemo. Yes, our favorite Blue Tang, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is back and the film opens straight into a year after the original film picks up and explore more into Dory’s inability to remember anything beyond ten seconds and go back to kid Dory in all her big hopeful eyes and childish curious tone that will win your affections within the first few minutes of the film.

Trying to deal with her problems, Dory in her fragmented memories remembers getting trained by her parents, (Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Diane Keaton), to tell anyone to start any conversation with how she suffers from short term memory loss. Too bad, it takes her a while to remember that phrase and suddenly we’re thrust into a character who goes from a funny happy go lucky fish with a memory problem to a child that forgets her family and that sentiment hits hard and you’re suddenly looking at Dory as someone with a disability trying to deal with an ocean that can’t seem to care. This is the only spoiler that I will give away to provide some context on how spectacular this film is. Side note, Disney’s short film Piper is absolutely adorable and beautiful too.

How do you follow up with a great movie that was Finding Nemo ? Disney Pixar had decided to take the soft and sensitive route by letting the audience feel so emotionally tied to Dory and her quest to find her parents and her ability to work with her disability as a quirk to find a way and she often remembers the one thing. That there is always a way. I found little to fault Disney Pixar this time around, they are not immune to the occasional soft hits but with Finding Dory, a film I expected not to be a heavy hitter is filled with visual poetry and a soul that sinks right into your heart strings, the kind of sentiment that what makes Disney Pixar a class of its own.

It will dazzle you in IMAX screens but for those not looking for a 3D experience will still be more than satisfied with the fantastic visuals that accompany as you experience Dory’s journey. I believe the directorial duo, Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane struck a chord with audiences, old and new as I overheard the child next to me marvel at wonder at Hank the octopus, a lovable grouchy character played on point by Ed O’Neill. While this is Dory’s story, Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) no longer the focus of the film provide many of the film’s funniest moments.

It’s also a different tangent from the first film, when the first film was about facing your fears, the second is about accepting your flaws. Many of the film’s side characters seem to have them as they try to find normality in their lives at the Marine Life Institute, inspired by the real Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, an area where most of the film covers rather than the open ocean, a move that works and this is the reason why Finding Dory won’t be lost on you.

Really though, it’s Disney’s  time honored traditional way of teaching young viewers on what acceptance really is all about and these are things that children of all ages will find easy to understand and notice it bright as day under the water than most adults. It’s been 13 years since I saw Finding Nemo and for watching a film again, it remained magical even as I grew up, a world filled with so much beauty that the underlying theme is about reuniting creatures of the sea back to where they belong. Expect some great laughs as a grouchy octopus will win you over with his three hearts, or Dory trying to speak to a whale and Sea Lions provide natural comedy among other things. There are also some heartbreaking moments where we’ll see separation, despair and conflict especially with Dory who gets chastised for not remembering enough.

Finding Dory is beautifully titled in that very sense, because as you dive deep into a film that holds its weight, it’s really not about Finding Dory, she’s finding her family in this journey but it’s about Dory that struggles emotionally where she builds her past, piece by piece and in her own dorky Dory way starts cluing in on what she needs to do. Her own short term memory loss is her gift as it doesn’t let her past weigh her down. It inspires her friends to think beyond the box in a way that they begin to question themselves by asking, “What would Dory do?” as they overcome their own problems. A complete film that will leave you in sea of tears from laughter and sadness as is the Disney Pixar way of doing things.


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Kevin Sebastian
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One Comment

    Chris Dickson

    Saw Finding Dory in 3D at the world’s largest IMAX in Sydney the other week. Blown away by it. Pixar have come a long way over the past 27 years or so, but never have they lost sight of the ability to engage a story with an audience. The attention to detail is quite mind blowing. A very clever storyline that is unpredictable and very funny. Nice cross-referencing Finding Nemo. I thought the voice overs were perfect including my initial reservation about using Idris Elba as the big sea lion. Casting was perfect.

    The one thing that annoyed me and I really don’t know how to resolve it but needs addressing somehow at the end of the movie is when people are too quick to get up from their seats to leave when the titles are just starting to roll. If you stay through to the very end of the Dory titles you are rewarded with a lovely and funny conclusion to the two sea lions sat on their rock. A perfect, clever and apt way to end what is a fantastic journey from beginning to end. Highly recommended for all ages.

    The little sandpiper film beforehand is beautifully observed, charming and again incredibly animated. We’ve come an awful long way since Steamboat Willy. Thank you Pixar!

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