‘Finding Dory’ entertains while getting more serious
The long-awaited sequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, finally arrives in theaters and continues the adventure of the lovable Blue Tang and a pair of Clownfish. This time Ellen Degeneres’ Dory takes center stage, struggling with short-term memory problems and flashbacks which reignite her desire to reunite with her parents.
Dory is quickly swept up into a journey, threading together various images and pieces of memories of her family. Director Andrew Stanton returns with co-director Angus MacLane keeping Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) as a grounded center for our real-life drama, struggling with single parenting to Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and the guilt/regret which comes from hurting someone we love.
Finding Dory is visually amazing as the opening set pieces seem too real, especially following an incredible short titled Piper, and the action moves pretty quickly as Dory races across the ocean to find a marine research facility in California where she meets a ton of new faces: a cantankerous octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill), a pair of lethargic harbor seals voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic Cooper, a whale shark named Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and a neurotic beluga voiced by Ty Burrell.
There is plenty of silliness interwoven around this serious message on accepting and dealing with your limitations, if not your disability. Pixar layers strong messages in most of their films and Finding Dory is a heavy theme, possibly boring the youngest of viewers.
Stanton achieves greatness again, he’s also the director of Wall-E, considered one of the best in the company’s library, but struggles a bit with maintaining the “fun” from the first film. Hank is an interesting character, but there just isn’t enough of the other characters.
Bruce and the sharks don’t show up and the gang from the tank don’t appear until an after credits scene which most fans will miss.
The mirrors the first in structure, almost to a fault, and it’s as predictable as most animated films of this era. Young Dory was a big hit, getting a big “awwwwe” from the crowd, but Becky, a crazy looking Loon, but didn’t connect. Most of these family films have grown in the ability to entertain the parents, but Finding Dory may be a bit too heavy for some of their audience ripe for another joke from those seals.
Overall Finding Dory earns 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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