Review – Finding Dory

Finding Dory Poster

In my opinion, Pixar has only made one bad film – The Good Dinosaur (and even that one I gave three hats to).  The rest of their catalog ranges from just above average to priceless gems, and 2003’s Finding Nemo is undeniably one of their better entries.  Thirteen years ( o_O ) later we are presented with the next chapter.  Is it a watered down cash grab, or a worthy sequel?

Six months after the search for young Nemo ended with a family reunited and the addition of a new friend (Dory, once again voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), a new adventure is brewing.  The forgetful Dory is suddenly overwhelmed by some unexpected memories resurfacing from long ago.  She has a family and she kind of sort of remembers them and where she might find them.  Filled with a longing she forgot she had, the little blue fish convinces Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) to help her on the quest for her home and parents.

Previously loved characters reprise their roles and soon to be beloved new additions to the cast include Ed O’Neil, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Idris Elba, Dominic West and many more surprises.

It’s as if almost no time has passed for us, the audience, as we dive right into this new story alongside our favorite fish friends.  That there might be more to Dory’s story than we ever considered grabs you immediately, an emotional hook that couldn’t feel more natural.  This is no waterlogged sequel just phishing for your cash – we’ve got a real story on the line here.

As the adventure progresses, it becomes obvious that this is a story about being different, and both overcoming and excepting those differences that you and others might see as weaknesses.  It should feel familiar in a sequel to a movie featuring a young fish with a gimpy fin.  While there are a number of more subtle nods to this theme, the most obvious is Dory’s memory loss.  No longer just a quirk of a cheerful fish, you’re forced to see Dory’s difficulty through a new lens.  Not nearly as devastatingly heart-wrenching as the Alzheimer’s drama Still Alice (it is a kids’ film after all), Finding Dory still hits you right in the feels as per the Pixar usual, but in a slightly more direct way than standard which is quite effective.

The movie has all the hallmarks of a great Pixar film.  Characters that are complex yet easy to love, plenty of laughs along with plenty of tears, and beautiful story telling to go along with beautiful images.  Speaking of beautiful images – the short, Piper, that precedes the film looks *amazing* and that alone is probably worth the price of 3D IMAX admission.

When all is said and done, there is a little less magic and a little more goofiness here than in Finding Nemo, but it still very much a worthy sequel and one of Pixar’s best.

Mrs. Hamster says:

“It’s refreshing to see a sequel that feels new, yet has all your favorites from the original.”

Brother Hamster did not screen this film

My rating: Four out of five hats

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Trailer:

Finding Dory swims into 4,305 theaters, including IMAX 3D, June 17