Dory, Dory, where do we begin?
I am not the biggest fan of Finding Nemo. Now, I was a pretty nerdy student in high school, who obviously liked movies, but I hated watching movies in school. It felt lazy to me and I wanted to learn things! So I was annoyed having to watch Finding Nemo, for the first time, in my 10th Grade Biology class. And then also for my 10th grade Coastal Marine Biology class. I also was annoyed at it, because now when people say Nemo, they think of that movie and not the great classic Little Nemo!
So yeah, my reasons are bad. In time I have come to see how good the animation is and like the humor and story, but it never was my fondest Pixar movie.
And now we have Finding Dory. It unfortunately is the first of many Pixar sequels over the upcoming years, including the dreadfully approaching Cars 3, another strike against it.
Also a couple years ago, after Blackfish came out, a very biased documentary that kind of irked me, but gained praise everywhere else, they announced they would be making changes to the films plot. For reasons. As to what the movie was like before the changes, no one will really know. But if they went from showcasing sea parks from good to bad, then that is super kind of awkward.
Oh well, let’s just keep reviewing, just keep reviewing.
Oh shit, is that an Octopus? I love octopuses in film!
In this film, we get to find out about Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) when she was a cute little baby Dory (Sloane Murray), with big eyes and kid voice. This is where we meet her parents, Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy), who have made it their goal to teach Dory about her short term memory loss, the dangers of the sea, and what to do if she ever gets lost. And I think you can tell what happens. A few minutes of some of the saddest shit I have ever seen in a Pixar movie, especially as a new parents.
Anyways, a long time later, she meets Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). The majority of the film takes place a year after Finding Nemo, where Dory is kind of a pain on Marlin and Nemo’s lives, but they love her anyways. Things happen and she remembers that she has parents, she lost them, and a rough name of where they live, off the coast of California!
Hells to the yeah! California with a couple of Clownfish, across the entire Pacific! And the journey isn’t the issue. What they find when they get there is that Dory used to live in a Sea Park! Not one that super exploits animals. But one that takes in sick animals, helps make them better, and eventually releases them back into the wild.
And inside, Dory meets Hank (Ed O’Neill), a septopus (because he is missing a leg) who doesn’t want to return to the ocean. And Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) an old friend and a nearsighted whale shark. Bailey (Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who has no echolocation. And and and Idris Elba and Dominic West voicing a couple of sick sea lions. And Sigourney Weaver as a mysterious role!
We also have Crush (Andrew Stanton, also the director) and Mr. Ray (Bob Peterson) returning, because why not.
Yep, this is the closest thing you will get to a The Wire reunion in a long time.
Oh, let me also mention Piper. It was the animated short. It had crazy amazing graphics, was very cute, about birds on a beach, but it had a problem with a shit ending. Mostly, that it didn’t know how to end.
As for Finding Dory, being a feature length film, the animation is not the same hyper realistic quality of Piper, but similar to Nemo in style (which makes sense). We aren’t given a lot of new cool environments like Nemo though. We have a small dark crash site, a kelp forest, and a lot of rooms and tanks in a Sea Park. So in terms of visual pleasantries, Finding Dory feels mostly darker and bleaker in terms of scenery.
Unfortunately, Dory also feels really repetitive. In Nemo, her memory for the most part was a big joke and led to a lot of laughs. But given the cry inducing intro (damn birthing hormones) and the constant problems, this joke was turned into a very sad issue. A crippling problem for Dory that prevented her from trying new things knowing she would get distracted before she finishes. It was a good thing to acknowledge her issue and ramp up its seriousness, but it takes away a lot of joy for a problem that just, well, keeps being a problem.
The ending also feels like a complete jumbled mess, with a no way at all realistic final few scenes that turn our once scientifically accurate fish series into a Looney Tunes cartoon. I hated the ending and it dragged as the issues were never solved in an easy manner, leading to more and more issues that made me indifferent to what would actually finally happen.
Ignore the controversy. This couple have 2 seconds of screen time and are not a reason to hate/support a movie.
Despite all of this, I didn’t hate the movie. I was just mostly disappointed, expecting a certain level of plot greatness from Pixar. I loved most of the new characters, mainly the septopus, the sea lions, and the Clam whose name they didn’t say and I can’t find in the IMDB credits. (They also didn’t say the sea lion names in the movie, quite annoying when you think about that). Beluga whale started out fine, but they made him real annoying by the end.
And you know what? The message of the film is a good one. Disabilities change your life. They can make life scary, they are serious, and they affect more than just a single person. But fish (/PEOPLE) with disabilities aren’t useless creatures. Practically every new character, along with Dory, has a problem and they are able to overcome their problem, or learn to live efficiently with it. Hell, there was even a weird plot about a frazzled bird and Marlin learning to trust her to do things correctly. It is about acceptance and friendship.
It is also just a film that has weird issues about sea parks, a lot less humor and not a lot of originality. On an unrelated note, I was also annoyed that despite taking place a year later, all of the fish kids are still fish kids. Come on Pixar, grow those bad boys up.
2 out of 4.