Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Finding Dory (2016)

                           'Finding Dory' Is Hardly Forgetful

        So when watching this film about everyone's favorite forgetful fish, the only thing that I had wish that I had forgotten is that I watched it with a very obnoxious crowd with yapping children and someone in the row in front of me texting.

       Finding Dory continues the story of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) who decides to set out to find her parents while Marlin and Nemo (Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence) tag along on her journey. Along the way, Dory reunites with old companions while making new ones and learning about the importance of love and family.

     I'll start off with Ellen DeGeneres' voice work as Dory as well as the writers of the screenplay. In the hands of a lesser voice actress and writers, the character of Dory probably would've been written off as a simple nuisance. But despite her forgetfulness and motor mouth, what makes her so easy to root for is the fact that she has a heart of gold and her compassion also shines through in DeGeneres' voice as well as her written characterization.

     A few new additions to the bunch that I thought stole the show were Ed O'Neill as a cynical and ill-tempered Octopus named Hank, Kaitlin Olson as Dory's short-sighted childhood friend Destiny, and Disney's secret weapon for their pictures this year: Idris Elba as a sea lion named Fluke. Between this, The Jungle Book, and Zootopia, Elba has been having a stellar year thanks in large part to his voice work in all those films. 

     I also really liked the beginning where we get flashbacks of Dory's childhood and how she got separated from her parents. To me, it packed a rather subtle emotional punch. The film, like any other Pixar film, does pack an emotional punch. But it comes at a rather natural flow where we just see Dory dealing with her short term memory loss and it never feels manipulative.

     My biggest problem is that, while the film itself isn't something I wish to forget, it didn't feel as fresh and original as the first one did or even last year's Inside Out. I did laugh a number of times and clap at the very end like other audience members did. But the fact that its story about Marlin and Nemo finding Dory this time around is similar to the first made it seem almost like a rehash. 

    Overall, Finding Dory is a familiar yet hilarious film for the whole family. Ellen DeGeneres helps recapture the magic of Dory along with the film's writers who have all made Dory one of the animated film genre's most colorful and rich characters. 

Grade: A-