Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Finding Dory - Movie Review

Finding Dory is the latest from Pixar and Disney Studios and continues the adventures of Dory, Marlin, and Nemo who audiences were first introduced to 13 years ago in the highly successful Finding Nemo. The (mostly) underwater animated adventure features the voice talents of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bill Hader, and Sigourney Weaver.

The Short:
No Pixar feature would be complete without an accompanying short film to help set the mood and raise the bar for what is achievable in the world of computer animation. This time around, we are introduced to Piper, a beautifully rendered story that is so sweet and lovable, it will take you a moment to remember you are actually at the theater to watch the feature. Using zero dialog, the film is just as effective as the first act of Wall-E and it's honestly pretty shocking how much personality and emotion they can cram in to the six minutes of screen time. This will be yet another huge success story in the studio's long history of making truly fantastic short films.

The Review:
When Pixar first introduced audiences to Finding Nemo back in 2003, the film blew everyone away with stunning visuals and a touching story that appealed to all ages. Since that time, the studio has tried time and time again to repeat that success with varying results and they have finally now decided to actually revisit the undersea world where we first got to know a couple of clown fish and their forgetful friend, Dory. What I really like about the film is how it feels very familiar yet doesn't come across as a carbon copy or rehashing of the same formula that worked so well the first time. Sure, all the familiar pieces are in place, but for the most part, they creative team keeps things fresh and interesting by focusing on new topics and going to new places.

If Pixar was only known for one thing, it would have to be stunning visuals that absolutely pop and create a sense of awe and wonder when viewed on the big screen. Just like its predecessor, Finding Dory is filled with underwater vistas and scenery that all feel so alive thanks to a rich and bold color palette that is such a treat to look at. Even if there was no story in place, you would probably enjoy just looking at this film, but of course, the Pixar team is also well known for crafting tales of wonder and excitement so you won't be able to help but fall in love as the story plays out in front of you. It's this perfect combination of story and visuals that Pixar does so well that, when they hit on all cylinders, you end up with something truly special. I will say, the film does have a few flaws, but there's really nothing that derails the fun or causes you to think any less of the overall result so no big deal.

The Verdict:
Finding Dory is an adorable movie that you will find hard to resist and, while it may not reach the same heights, or in this case depths, as the original, it is still a more than worthy sequel that gives me hope in Pixar's ability to revisit our favorite stories to give us more of the same magic we originally fell in love with. I did not see the movie in 3D or IMAX so not able to comment on either of those options. The 2D version is absolutely beautiful and I can only imagine that the added features might only enhance the end result so feel free to pick the format you are most interested in.


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