Ellen DeGeberes’ Dory was the breakout character of 2003’s Finding Nemo. 13 years later, she stars in her own movie – a touching, cinematically gorgeous journey that takes place 1 year after the events of the original film.
To set the stage: early in the film, Dory has brief flashbacks to her childhood, having been separated from her parents. Thanks to these small glimpses into her past, she decides to set out on an adventure to find them. The story is at times emotional and hilarious, borrowing largely from the plot in Finding Nemo. Much like another Disney property, Star Wars, this sequel takes what worked from the previous film(s) and made it better. Finding Dory isn’t without it’s imperfections, but it is nonetheless a fine work of cinema from the studio that brought us classics like Toy Story & Monsters Inc.
The story’s overall pacing is ideal, save for the final act, where things slow to a crawl. Ultimately, the story concludes in a manner I felt was satisfying, particularly for a sequel that I didn’t think I wanted nearly a decade and a half later. You see, I am in the minority in considering Finding Nemo to be one of Pixar’s less-spectacular films (what am I really saying here? It’s like pizza – even not-the-best pizza is still pizza – it’s usually pretty damn good). It’s not elite when compared to other films in the Pixar family, but it’s still a good movie.
The overall arch does a good job of letting Dory have the spotlight, leaving Marlin & Nemo to have a good subplot. We are introduced to new characters throughout, with superb voice acting performances across the board. Finding Dory is at its best when it ramps up the humor. I was pleasantly surprised to find that on numerous occasions, I laughed out loud, not being able to contain myself even if I tried.
At times, the story found itself to be a tad repetitious, shining brightly when it strayed from the original film’s trajectory and blazed its own trail. Unsurprisingly, the movie is a cinematic marvel. I didn’t think digital water could look any better. As always, Pixar has been an innovator in terms of CGI progression ever since the original Toy Story was released in the mid-90s. Before the movie begins, you’ll witness the traditional Pixar short film, this time a short entitled Piper. It set a nice tone for the following film, again showing off Pixar’s visual prowess.
Finding Dory is another successful release for Disney and Pixar, building on the original film’s success while having enough of an identity to stand on its own.
+ Visually sets the new standard for animated films.
+ Voice acting is great.
+ Humor knocks it out of the park, er-water.
– Slowed pace leading up to ending.
– Story doesn’t always hit the mark.
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