Thursday, June 16, 2016

Finding Dory Review: A Memorable Sequel from Pixar

In 2003 Pixar found a major hit in the movie Finding Nemo. The branch of Walt Disney Pictures took moviegoers below the sea as the clownfish Marlin searched the ocean for his missing son Nemo alongside Dory: a fish who suffers from short term memory loss. This movie is one of my favorite animated features of all time as it featured an adventurous story with both great humor and animation. It has been years since this tale came to close so the idea of Pixar making a sequel to Finding Nemo seemed like a concept that has gone adrift. However it would seem that the animation studio would prove me wrong as now in theaters is the long awaited continuation to the 2003 film-Finding Dory. The new movie centers on the everyone's favorite fish as Dory journeys forth to find her parents. Despite the first film being self contained I will admit that I was curious to see what Pixar would do with a sequel to Finding Nemo. So is this new film one to remember or should Finding Dory remain forgotten at the bottom of the sea?

Taking place one year after the first film Finding Dory once again centers on Marlin (Albert Brooks), Nemo (Hayden Rodence) and of course Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). After remembering her past Dory sets off to find her parents while both Marlin and Nemo accompany her on this adventure. Their travels lead them to the Monterey Marine Life Institute which just so happens to be the aquarium where Dory was born. Upon their arrival Dory gets separated from Marlin and Nemo as she is taken inside the facility. In order to find her parents Dory gets help from a reclusive Octopus named Hank (Ed O'Neil) while Marlin and Nemo search the aquarium for their lost friend.

With the story to Finding Nemo as sound as it was, it would be hard for a continuation to emulate the same level presentation. However the concept behind Finding Dory's story had potential; and when it came to the plot's execution this tale did a fair job. When it came to the adventurous aspect to the plot this story was quite enjoyable as it would keep me wondering just where Dory's parents were. The pacing was bit quick (particularly in the beginning) but the structure still worked for the movie's concept. The only issue the story had was its balance between perspectives. As Dory searched for her parents Marlin and Nemo are left outside to find a way to get to Dory. While the clownfishes' part of the story was not bad it does not have the intrigue that surround Dory's tale. Aside from that issue this plot was still effective as it featured the right tone and had a good sense of adventure to it.

Finding Nemo featured a cast that was filled with rich and memorable characters; and I feel comfortable in saying that Finding Dory has just as an effective ensemble. When it came to the three lead characters each of them had the right level of presence Dory's development in this film was well suited by adding more dimension to her character; and Ellen DeGeneres' performance was just as good as her role in the 2003 film. Marlin and Nemo may not have the sound development that Dory did but the direction and performance behind the characters made both clownfishes enjoyable to see. Despite there being three good lead to this film I found myself really enjoying the new characters to Finding Dory. Hank made for a great character to work with Dory as the octopus' attitude brought a dilemma and charisma to the cast. Along with Hank were enjoyable pairs like the whales Destiny (Katlin Olson) and Bailey (Ty Burrel) as well as the two seals Fluke (Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West). These  supporting characters were both fun and intriguing in their own right. The cast certainly had color to it as it features other fun characters like Becky and Gerald, a cameo from Sigourney Weaver and of course Dory's parents: Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy). While it may not hsve had the  presence of the first film's cast, Finding Dory's ensemble features the right level of charisma that one should expect to see from a Pixar film.

It was no surprise that Finding Dory would feature great animation. In the case of this technical element the animation did not change the style that one expects from a Pixar film, but the movie did use this factor to the best of its ability. I particularly like the lighting in the animation as it worked to show off the detail in the film's animation as well as its cinematography. The score by Thomas Newman was not as prominent as his work in the first film, but it brought some new color to the film series and I found myself impress of how the sequel's tunes differed from its predecessor. The film's technical element only helped to complement the movies direction. As expected this film featured a light tone that was filled with laughs; but that is not to say that the movie did not have its serious moments. The direction behind this sequel was quite appropriate as it could make one cry from laughter or just tear up from the film's emotional moments.

Finding Dory may not  have been as profound as its predecessor, but then again topping Finding Nemo is no easy feat. That being said the movie could have been more coherent with elements likes story and characters; but that is not to say that this animated film was not effective. While it does not have the presentation of the 2003 film Finding Dory still featured an enjoyable plot that was filled with fantastic characters; not to mention featuring solid animation. The movie may not have gone above and beyond the call of duty, but Finding Dory managed to be a sequel that will not be easy to forget.

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