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‘Finding Dory’ movie review

Finding Dory trailer (Disney, Pixar, The Ellen Show)

Fun characters make for passable sequel


I have an interesting relationships with Pixar movies as I’m sure most adults my age do, even if they aren’t as honest about it as I am. Some of them tear me apart — ahem, “Toy Story 3”, “Inside Out” and the first 15 minutes of “Up”. Others are just kinda ‘meh’ — looking at you “Brave”; or dumb — that would be you “Cars” and “Cars 2: Why is there a Sequel”.

Finding Dory movie poster (Pixar)
Finding Dory movie poster (Pixar)

But here’s the thing about “Finding Nemo”: I never really cared about it one way or the other. Sure, I loved the animation, but I just never connected emotionally to the characters or the story the way I have with others. And full disclosure, thought Dory was kind of annoying. She was actually my least favorite part of one of my least favorite Pixar movies. So a sequel that focuses on her? YAY.

Here’s the thing, in “Finding Dory“, the Pixar creative team, being the wizards they are, not only manage to make her more likable, they find a way to turn her her ailment into a sympathetic crutch…and it almost makes for a better movie. Where “Nemo” played Dory’s forgetfulness as a joke, the sequel plays on her difficulty in living with short-term memory as a disability.

Finding Dory (Pixar)
Finding Dory (Pixar)

In “Finding Dory”, Dory (Ellen Degeneres) suddenly begins to remember clues that trigger memories of her parents and how at one time, she had been search for them. So, her adventure is setting off to find them, which has Marlin and Nemo tagging along in an attempt to bring her home. Her search becomes more than a quest for her parents, but a journey of self-discovery, and all that jazz.

Oddly, the movie is a lot more fun when Dory is kicking it the supporting characters. She spends a lot of her journey with a squid named Hank (Ed O’Neil), who wants to escape to Cleveland and they have great chemistry — or at least as much as a cartoon fish and squid can have.

The film really picks up when Dory gets to a rescue, rehab and release center, where she meets Destiny, a pen-pal shark with a vision problem (Kaitlyn Olsen), and a whale in need of channeling his eco-location purpose (Ty Burrell). But my favorite are the cockney sea lions (Idris Elba and Dominic West). Can we get a spin-off about this place? I’d be down for that.

But, despite all of that, the story drags on far too long, testing the patience of some of the younger children in the audience. And it feels long, especially during a final act set piece that feels tacked on to give Marlin and Nemo a purpose. Unfortunately, you could have easily cut them completely from the movie and had a tighter film with a clear focus.

Yes. The film looks incredible. Is there any doubt there? The Pixar animation team once again has outdone themselves. This is the rare movie when shelling out a few extra bones for the 3D up-charge is well worth it.

Finding Dory (Pixar)
Finding Dory (Pixar)

The good news is, even though “Finding Dory” feels like more of the same from Pixar, it’s still a pretty satisfying flick. Again, it doesn’t hit all the emotional feels that a great Pixar film does, but the animation is amazing, the characters are fun, and the story hits some surprising chords that will mean more to the kids as they grow up.

Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane

Written by Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse

Starring  Ellen Degeneres, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlyn Olson, and Albert Brooks

Pixar’s Finding Dory official website

Photos and video property of Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures

Summer Movie Preview — June 2016


The summer starts to heat up, but the choice at the cinemas are going to get a little weak this month. Hopefully The Rock (Central Intelligence) and the Independence Day boys and girls can kick it up a notch.


TMNT 2 OUT OF THE SHADOWS: The Turtles return to save the city from Shredder, Rock Steady and BeeBop. Starring: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett.

POPSTAR NEVER STOP STOPPING: When his new album fails to sell records, pop/rap superstar conner4real goes into a major tailspin and watches his celebrity high life begin to collapse. Starring: Andy Samberg, Imogen Poots, Bill Hader.


CONJURING 2: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits. Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, David Thewlis.

WARCRAFT: The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another.

NOW YOU SEE ME 2: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet. Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Daniel Radcliffe.


CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE: After he reunites with an old pal through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage. Starring: The Rock, Aaron Paul, Kevin Hart.

FINDING DORY: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way. Starring: Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks.


FREE STATE OF JONES: As civil war divides the nation, a poor farmer from Mississippi leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Keri Russell.

INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough? Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum.

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