Friday, June 17, 2016

Finding Dory Review: A Family Fun Sequel

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this movie. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own and honest.

"Finding Nemo" is a favorite of both of our kids and they were excited when we heard about the plans for a sequel. We had the chance to see a screening of "Finding Dory" a few nights ago and while I left with mixed feelings, I can assure you that the kids absolutely loved this film. 
"Finding Dory" is a fun return under the sea with the majority of the familiar characters from "Finding Nemo". The movie begins with a sequence showing the events leading up to the meeting between Dory and Marlin and giving us a peek into Dory's early life. Mr. Ray and Crusher make quick and delightful appearances in these beginning scenes and I was disappointed not to see more of them.

As Dory begins to remember pieces of her past, including her parents Charlie and Jenny, she starts on the long journey to go home. Of course, with her short term memory loss, it won't be easy. I must admit that Dory annoyed me in "Finding Nemo" and I found her much more likable in this film.

When she loses Marlin and Nemo along the way, Dory is forced to turn to other creatures for help and meets some great new characters that truly steal the show. Hank, voiced by Ed O'Neill was the highlight of the film for me. I've always thought the octopus is an amazing creature and Pixar worked hard to get all of the details of this guy perfect. His camouflage skills were hilarious and be sure to stick around through the credits to watch him show off a bit. I wish we could have seen more of his back story as it felt incomplete but I'm guessing we will be seeing more of Hank soon.

Ty Burrell and Kaitlin Olson delight as Bailey, the beluga whale, and Destiny, the whale shark. Working together to overcome disabilities, they are the perfect helpers for Dory.

And these guys, seriously, cuteness. Do I have to say any more???
The animation in "Finding Dory" is what we've come to expect from Pixar, beautiful and enchanting. Every ocean frame is so full of color and I can't wait to watch it again to see all of the small details that Pixar is famous for. The majority of the film takes place at the Morro Bay Marine Life Institute in California allowing for many different kinds of sea life to be featured. The sea lions were a funny addition to the film giving Marlin and Nemo some unexpected and a bit crazy help in their mission to find Dory.

"Finding Dory" is full of hilarious moments and I have always loved that Pixar creates movies that adults will enjoy seeing with their kids. Unlike "Finding Nemo", there weren't any scary moments that would be a problem for little one, however there is a generally sad undertone to the film as Dory fights her disability to find her way home. While Dory makes great strides in this film, I found the other character development to be lacking. Like I mentioned earlier, Hank's story seems incomplete and Marlin and Nemo's sections seemed a bit forced to me. As a sequel, I feel like it lacked the strong character development that made "Toy Story 2" such a success.

I don't believe that "Finding Dory" has the heart that has made "Finding Nemo" a classic Pixar film but it is worth seeing as a family fun comedy and for it's beautiful animation. We will definitely be adding it to our DVD collection. It's a perfect summer movie to see with your family this weekend! 

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