Finding Dory review
Thirteen years ago, Pixar gave the world one of the biggest animation hits of all time, Finding Nemo. People went nuts for the beautiful animation, the father-son story that parents related to so much, and probably the biggest selling point, the use of Ellen DeGeneres as the fish with short-term memory loss. As much of a surprise as it was to some people, I originally didn’t care for Finding Nemo. I was a freshman in high school at that point and was the wrong age to get into a story about a little child trying to be found by his worrywart father. It wasn’t until several years later that I gave it another watch and really started to appreciate what it gave us.
When Disney announced that a sequel would be developed, I wasn’t sure how to react. The tract record for Pixar sequels has been a mixed bag. The Toy Story sequels are amazing movies that built upon the world of toys, but Cars 2 took a step back by giving the uninteresting side character his own story while Monsters University did all right showing us an origin story. Lets take a dive back into the water to see where Finding Dory ranks.
It’s been about a year since the events of Finding Nemo and Blue Tang Dory (played by Ellen DeGeneres) has been living peacefully with Clownfish Marlin (played by Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (played by Hayden Rolence). While she’s still suffering from short-term memory lost, she’s been experiencing occasional flashes of old thoughts. While helping out on field trip for Nemo’s class, a view of the sting ray migration triggers a sudden urge to find her parents. With the only clue being that they might be off the coast of Morro Bay, California, Marlin and Nemo accompany her to help.
They arrive, but are separated when Dory is “rescued” by marine biologists. It turns out that the coast is right outside of a Marine Institute/Aquarium attraction. It’s here where Dory also comes across a grumpy Octopus Hank (played by Ed O’Neil), a near-sighted shark whale Destiny (played by Katlin Olson), and a beluga whale whose sonar is broken Bailey (played by Ty Burrell). They all try to help Dory see where her parents went while Marlin and Nemo try to find Dory.
Finding Dory seems like a sequel that doesn’t have much reason to exist, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. Thanks to the same team from the original movie returning, they give Dory a pretty solid background on where she came from. Parents of children with disabilities will probably relate to this story given how much Dory’s parents go through to make sure their daughter is happy. While part of me misses some of the characters from before, it makes up by including some likable new animals. Ed O’Neal seems to know how to use his “grumpy” personality to his advantage. Of course this movie belongs to Ellen DeGeneres who is not only funny, but a pretty good dramatic actress (she much love doing her talk show, as I’ve always wondered why she hasn’t done more movies).
Finding Dory is a very good movie, though not a great one. To be fair, the original movie is tough to top. I think the issue falls on two things. First, the story of Dory finding her parents can feel a bit repetitive to the first movie. And also, while Finding Nemo gave us a vast ocean off the coast of Australia, here were stuck at this Marine park for most of the story. It’s nice looking, but it does limit how much these fish can do.
I’ll give this four Dorys out of five. This movie will definitely please families looking for a fun animated movie and movie fans that have been waiting for a sequel. I myself was laughing at several jokes and even hoped that Dory would find what she was looking for. It may have not had the emotional punch the original had, but Finding Dory is a solid effort, come on in with the fishes and keep on swimming.