Finding Dory (2016) starts like any Pixar movie does and hits you right in the feels within the first ten minutes. Any Pixar savant knows this and comes prepared with tissues and a friend for support (I chose my aunt because she took me to see Finding Nemo (2003) when I was ten years old). After the feels, we jump to a short time after the events of Nemo and Dory has visions of her parents. She realizes that she remembers them and enlists the help of Marlon and Nemo to help her find them and that pretty much takes you to the end of the movie. The movie really should be called Finding Dory’s Parents since no is REALLY looking for Dory. Some people I’m sure will argue, “But Dory finds herself and that’s the secret to life yada yada yada,” and that’s wonderful and all but not how I saw it.
I was excited and concerned when this movie was announced because Pixar DOES have a decent track record with sequels and prequels like the Toy Story sequels and Monsters University (2013), respectively, and I did love Finding Nemo and rewatched it multiple times over the past thirteen years still appreciating its story and voice acting. As the trailers came pouring out for Dory and all the talk show appearances hyping it up, I was thinking to myself is this really a story that needs to be told or is it a cop out and to be completely honest I thought it was a little bit of the latter.
Everyone who shows up from the first movie that has a part in the second movie does well. Ellen DeGeneres is great as Dory, she hasn’t forgotten the character. There’s always this gamble giving a supporting character their own movie and Ellen certainly doesn’t miss. Albert Brooks is as Marlon as ever, and newcomers like Ed O’Neill and Ty Burrell are great too. O’Neill plays an octopus named Hank and he was without a doubt my favorite part of this movie – he was a better supporting character than Marlon. They all have the chemistry to carry this movie but when a movie that’s only an hour and a half long feels like it’s two and a half, there’s an issue.
Over the years, Pixar has come out with so many touching movies with adventure, heart, laughs, and more. Some movies like WALL·E (2008) and Inside Out (2015) take huge leaps and it pays off. As a result, when I go into a movie with the Pixar logo on it, I can’t help but instinctually raise my expectations for a studio that has brought so much magic to the big screen in recent memory. Dory is in no way a BAD movie – and it is certainly not Pixar’s worst attempt (Hi, Brave (2012)). But when you compare Dory to movies like Up (2009) and The Incredibles (2004), it’s hard to even hold a candle to them.
To be honest I thought Finding Dory was cute and certainly more for kids than the adults looking for a great sequel to a childhood movie they held near and dear to their heart; but the plot is very 1-2-3 we’re done and doesn’t really leave you with the feeling that Finding Nemo left me when I was younger AND when I’m 23 years old. Every time I thought the movie was about to end I was a little relieved because I wanted more and I REALLY wanted to like this movie. However with every additional plot line to come every time I thought the movie was over, I was more aggravated and thought the movie dragged more and more.
Overall Rating: 6/10 – Meh
All of the voice actors are great whether they be old or new. My issue with Finding Dory is there wasn’t a story worth telling in my opinion. Finding Nemo is a heartwarming movie about the thrills and difficulties of being a parent (especially a single parent) and juxtaposes that with the issue of being a child with an overprotective parent. It made me think as a child and I feel like Finding Dory misses the point of the original and instead opted to do an easy routine sequel. I expect a lot from Pixar and they brought it on themselves by proving they can be masters of storytelling and life lessons.
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