Runtime: 103 minutes
Main Cast: Ellen Degeneres
Production Companies: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Written By: Andrew Stanton
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Written by Nelson Cumming
Finding Nemo swims in the ocean, a whale, a seagull and a drainpipe. Finding Dory is a movie that swims in the ocean, down the drainpipes, across water enclosures and rides on the surface while plunges underground into our hearts (Even a soulless critic like myself can be very corny). Finding Dory is a movie that has a heart and most of the elements work. There are a couple of interesting things that I have picked up. Some are easy to spot and some are not. Either way, this movie is great. It is the best movie I have reviewed in awhile.
The premise is that Dory (Ellen Degeneres) is a Blue Tang fish who travels to California to find her parents. The problem is that she suffers from short-term- memory loss so she needs a lot of help in the form of an octopus called Hank (Ed O’Neil) , a shortsighted whale shark called Destiny (Katlin Olson) and both Marlin and Nemo as well as many others to help find Dory’s way back home
What is so great about Finding Dory (and Pixar in general) is that not only is their heart in the right place, but they are innovative at portraying themes in ways I can connect. There are many ideas in Finding Dory, but the main idea was overcoming self-adversity in my opinion as Dory is forgetful, but she is aware of that, making that mental barrier more challenging for her.
Another thing I found particularly interesting is the interplay between her memory and her subconscious. The only time Dory can remember is if any of the characters say something that triggers in her subconscious. Those memory triggers serve as the plot devices for the entire movie. This move by Pixar grabbed my curiosity. It was a good move as it related to Dory’s character progression. It looks like I need to see Inside Out again to revise my understanding of psychology and memory.
The other character that I think all the children will love is Hank. Hank, while not cute and cuddly, is entertaining. He is an octopus (or a septopus, depending on your interpretation) who is the straight character. He plays an important role as the octopus that goes astray from his enclosure that tries to find Dory’s parents. Hank also hates kids (and for good reason) which are portrayed in a scene done in a similar fashion with Toy Story 3. I don’t know how Pixar made me think about land mines in that scene, but they did.
There are other supporting characters in this movie that are mainly there for the comedy. A lot of the comedy works. The seals are funny as well as the psychotic bird that looks like he has raved at a party for three days straight while still on speed. Finally Destiny, the whale shark was funny, but the one gag she does is over-repetitive (the gag she does is repeated about 10-25 times, no exaggeration) but she is sweet and sincere enough to be likable.
There are also two scenes that were done professionally by Jeremy Lasky, who is the cinematographer. There is one scene which is in first-person where Dory is being swept by stormwater drains as she is dumped into the ocean which was really good at giving us the feeling of despair. The other scene was the use of slow motion at the climatic moment of a car chase which was also spectacular (Yes, there is a car chase in Finding Dory, it is hard to believe) and gave us the image of liberty.
Despite all this praise about how great this movie was (and it was), I don’t think this quite matches up with the more memorable Pixar movies because I thought it was not as powerful (my hankey was dry). I still think Finding Nemo was better. I can also think of about six or seven other movies that Pixar made that could trump Finding Dory, to be honest. That is not a negative criticism but it is an observation (I just think it is wrong as a critic to say “this is the best movie ever” without meaning it). I believe that Finding Dory is a great movie and is a worthy addition to the Pixar canon ****