Wednesday, October 26, 2016

'Finding Dory' Greatly Improves on 'Finding Nemo'

Finally, I got to watch Finding Dory.  Like most Pixar films, I thoroughly enjoyed its predecessor, Finding Nemo.  However, it’s not exactly one of my most favorite Pixar films, and a sequel is not at the top of my list of preferred Pixar follow-ups (at the top, by the way, are The Incredibles and Toy Story, which are both in the works.  Yay!). Hence, I wasn’t really looking forward to Finding Dory that I missed watching it when it first got released in theaters earlier this year.

Finding Dory is set a year after the events of Finding Nemo (while in real life, it took 13 years before the sequel got made, that Nemo had to be recast since the original voice actor had obviously grown up).  Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the regal blue tang fish suffering from short term memory loss, has now been living with Marlin (Albert Brooks) the overprotective clownfish and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence).  One day, an occurrence triggers Dory to recall her past, that she has parents, and she decides to look for them.  Empathizing on her situation, Marlin and Nemo proceed to help and accompany her in her.  Their journey brings them to the Marine Life Institute in California, wherein Dory encounters old friends like Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) the near-sighted whale shark, and meets new ones like Hank (Ed O’Neill) the snappy, camouflaging, seven-tentacled octopus (“septopus”), as she gets one step closer to the family reunion she is aching for.
It has been a while since I last watched Finding Nemo.  But I believe Finding Dory is actually a lot better.  Aside from the expected upgrade of the technical stuff, like visuals, Finding Dory also has a more poignant and better written story.  The revelation of Dory’s origin, an integral aspect of the plot, actually enhances parts of the first movie, like exploring how she learned talking to whales (I have to make a SPOILER-y nitpick though: whale sharks are NOT whales.  It’s a bit annoying since Finding Dory is a generally smart film, and yet it missed such simple detail) and where her mantra “just keep swimming” came from.  And though Dory is incredibly lucky, and her attitude and methods may not prove successful in real life, I still appreciate the optimism and resiliency of her problem-solving style: even in the face of insurmountable odds, never give up, never lose hope, and engage the problem one step – even if it’s just a small step – at a time.  Also, Finding Nemo doesn’t have a Baby Dory, and Baby Dory is probably the most adorable thing I’ve seen in an animated movie.

Finding Dory doesn’t beat Zootopia as my choice for best animated movie of the year so far, but it’s a terrific movie nonetheless – beautiful, touching, charming, thoughtful, and delightful.

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