Review: “Finding Dory” is a very satisfying sequel.

Finding Dory. Pixar

Finding Dory. Pixar

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read this review if you don’t want to know anything at all about the plot. However, I tried not to give you too many details beyond what you already expect from watching trailers.

This is what I liked about “Finding Dory:” Everything!

I winced. I smiled. I cried.

Pixar’s new animated movie, “Finding Dory,” combines strong emotion with powerful CGI that rivals photo realism; you’ll be mesmerized by the colors, clarity, and life-like underwater scenes much like we were with “Finding Nemo.”

This sequel finds the perfect story to complete what “Finding Nemo” started back in 2003. Then, we didn’t question where Dory came from. We just kept swimming along with her endearing but clumsy thought process, and somehow she figured out how to get to the other side of the ocean by herself to rescue Nemo.

Thirteen years later, something triggers a memory that compels Dory to lead her clownfish caretakers, Marlin and Nemo, into the deep blue sea to discover Dory’s ocean of memories.

I winced during this opening sequence. Dory is sad and suddenly misses her family. She hadn’t thought about them until she remembered something, and this makes her feel very much alone. I think it will strike a chord with anyone who’s experienced separation or loss, or in the case of parents, the fear of going through something like this.

Finding Dory. Parents.

Finding Dory. Parents.

As Dory flashes back to her childhood, we see her tiny wide-eyed self (and that baby voice? So cute!) learning to live with her short-term memory handicap. Her parents taught her some tricks so she’d be able to cope with life in spite of it.

It was a little heart-wrenching to experience the love Dory’s parents have for her, and their dedication to teaching her how to be self-reliant in case she’s ever alone. Will she be able to survive without her parents?

This movie highlights Dory’s handicap, but you have to pay close attention to notice it. In the real world, she’d be considered a ‘special needs’ child. If you look deeper into this film, Dory’s short-term memory represents one of many handicaps not only fish, but real people live with every day. We are made to feel every ounce of worry Dory’s parents face raising Dory — though the message is somewhat buried in the movie’s murky waters.

Once we get the emotional material out of the way, we’re on to the thrills and shenanigans these intrepid fish get themselves into.

I smiled when Dory asked Marlin to help her get from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to Morro Bay in California and he reluctantly replies, “I know a guy.”

As you might expect, all three hop aboard the EAC (East Australian Current) with that super cool sea turtle, Crush, and they travel to California in search of Dory’s family.

I was anticipating riding the EAC again — I would have been crushed if it had been left out! If you own my book, “101 Movies” then you know I open the page for “Finding Nemo” with this sentence: “Hop aboard the East Australian Current, dude!

For those who remember this part in “Finding Nemo,” we know exactly the guy Marlin is referring to. However, the younger set might not be able to make this connection. Watch “Finding Nemo” before heading out to see “Finding Dory” to refresh everyone’s memories about these characters.

Speaking of memories, Dory’s memories weave the perfect story between “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory.” The writers found a way to recycle some familiar places and faces, starting with the coolest of turtles and ending with a fish tank.

By the way, tank rimes with Hank. Dory’s sidekick in this adventure is Hank, an octopus voiced by Ed O’Neil. Incidentally, I thought the camouflaging mollusk displayed similar cranky character traits as his “Modern Family” counterpart, Jay.

Finding Dory and Hank

Finding Dory and Hank

Once they make it to the Morro Bay Sea Life Institute, all mayhem break lose. There we meet the new characters of this movie: Bailey, a beluga whale voiced by Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Destiny a whale shark (Kaitlin Olsen), and a pair of sea lions that replace those “Mine. Mine” seagulls (voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West).

Finding Dory and Destiny and Bailey

Finding Dory and Destiny and Bailey

This is also where we finally get confirmation that Dory can speak whale!

Finding Dory and Sea Lions

Finding Dory and Sea Lions

The movie’s pace doesn’t let up from here until the end, when I cried. I cried because what we want from the very beginning of this movie, what is at the very heart of this story, is that we want to be reassured about Dory’s ability to survive on her own.

So, can she survive on her own? You’ll have to watch “Finding Dory” to find out when it opens in theaters June 17.

It’s worth noting this about “Finding Dory.” In a cinematic world full of manufactured PG rated movies (read, cash grab), “Finding Dory” stays closer to the G than the PG-13 side of things.

The obvious peril present in some PG rated films is not that prevalent in “Finding Dory.” While some of the old characters are back in this sequel, those menacing sharks from “Finding Nemo” are nowhere to be found.

I found this aspect very comforting since I noticed there were more than a few toddlers at this screening, in their seats, ready to watch this film.

The little boy next to me was watching a movie in a theater for the very first time! He refused to wear his 3D glasses. But he watched the entire film with blurred vision, and sat through the whole thing quietly and willingly. It helped that his mom brought him his favorite snack to keep him busy: Seaweed. How appropriate!

“Finding Dory” is a satisfying sequel to “Finding Nemo.” It is not repetitive and doesn’t rehash an old story. The story focuses on the blue tang we loved from “Finding Nemo,” and we find out Dory can carry a movie all by herself.

“Finding Dory” Rated PG

Runtime 97 minutes

Opens June 17, 2016

 

Comments

  1. Liv says:

    I can’t wait to see this one. We’ve practically worn out our Nemo DVD. This will be the first real movie we take our almost three year old to see in theatre.

  2. Madonna says:

    My kid can’t wait to see this….me I can wait. LOL thanks for the review.

  3. Cathy Mini says:

    I got to attend a prescreening of Finding Dory on Monday and absolutely loved it! I can’t wait to go and see it again.

  4. Courtney says:

    I just saw Finding Dory last night and I absolutely loved it. I cried so badly when you saw her as a child and then again with happy tears at the end. It was so much more than i really expected and I love how they incorporated things from the original movie and explained why Dory is who she is. It was the best sequel they could have made.

    La Belle Sirene 

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  1. […] are rarely as good, or better, than the original films. But “Finding Dory” is a masterful film tugging at our sentimental memories of that little clown fish that surfaced in 2003, and left us wanting more of this heartwarming story […]

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