Saturday, July 9, 2016

Finding Dory (2016)

IMDb plot summary: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane. Starring Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, and Kaitlin Olson.

My biggest concern about Finding Dory was that Dory was a one-joke character, and stretching her out into a full length production would wear too thin too quickly. Pixar made a smart move when they decided to take everything that made Dory funny in the first one and flip it on its head to make it tragic in this sequel. Dory's memory loss isn't a punchline or a hilarious quirk, it's a true disability, and we see Dory struggling to adapt to it, feeling frustrated with herself and constantly apologizing to those around her because she keeps irritating them and can't keep it from happening because she doesn't know what's already been said. The movie takes its humor less from Dory's memory loss and more from its outside characters (Becky and Gerald are especially amusing) and from Dory's cheerful determination in contrast to her new buddy Hank's stubborn misanthropy. The adventure is interesting, the new characters shine, and it definitely has the heart that we've come to expect from Pixar.

That sounds like a glowing review, but there's another aspect to this movie that I haven't mentioned yet. When it comes down to it, this movie was still wholly unnecessary, and as with all sequels, viewing it changes the original movie. Dory's antics in Finding Nemo are now going to be tinged with sadness as we know how truly upsetting she finds her own condition from time to time. Finding Nemo is no longer the end of the story; we instead have two halves, and the ending of the original can't be nearly as satisfying knowing that Dory's happy ending hasn't actually arrived yet. It's an unnecessary addition at best and a movie that drags down the original at worst. It was a fun ride and probably the best a sequel for Finding Nemo was likely to be, but it still wasn't good enough to justify its own existence, though it was miles ahead of the pointless Monsters University in that regard.

3.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Finding Dory > Good Morning, Vietnam
Finding Dory < Eat Pray Love
Finding Dory > Children of Paradise
Finding Dory < Hamlet (2009)
Finding Dory < Lagaan: Once Upon a Time In India
Finding Dory < Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Finding Dory > Splice
Finding Dory < Thor
Finding Dory < A Bug's Life
Finding Dory > The Good Dinosaur
Finding Dory < Hook

Final spot: #905 out of 2476.

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