"Hi everyone – I'm about to make my creators millions upon millions of dollars!" The title character swims in her underwater paradise in FINDING DORY. Credit: Pixar. © 2016 Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved.

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlyn Olson, Hayden Rolance, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, and Sigourney Weaver ... Kind of

WRITER(S): Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, Bob Peterson (story); Andrew Stanton (screenplay and characters)

DIRECTOR(S): Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane


THE STORY AS BEST WE KNOW IT: Remember Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres)? She was the adorable blue tang fish from Finding Nemo that suffered more often than not to comedic effect from short-term memory loss. Well, it's been a few years since we last saw her – but since she is still suffering from short term memory loss, it's been a few years since she last saw her parents Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy). Sure, Jenny and Charlie have tried their best to help their daughter remember important things like how to find her way home using a system of shells, but as Dory does, for all her well-meaning ways, she  still has trouble keep tracking of everything she needs to keep track of ... Like not getting swept up in the undertow. 

And then, Dory gets swept up in the undertow, which is how she ended up meeting Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolance) in the first place. 

So, after hanging with Marlin and Nemo one day out in the ocean blue, Dory has a memory come back to her: She has a family – and she must find them!

Able – in a roundabout way, of course – to figure out that her parents are likely at the Marine Life Institute in California, Dory (of course with Marlin and Nemo in tow) is determined to find her parents. Of course, given Dory's condition, it should come as no shock she's going to need some help from a colorful cast of characters such as the cranky octop ... – make that "septopus" since he lost a tentacle – Hank (Ed O'Neill), the somewhat impaired duo of whale shark Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and beluga whale Bailey (Ty Burrell) and sea lions Fluke (Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West) among others.

All she has to do now is remember what she is trying to remember to make her memories come to life once again.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? People who loved Finding Nemo; Ellen DeGeneres fans; children 10 and younger; slapstick comedy fans


SO IS IT GOOD, GREAT, JUST ALL RIGHT OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? Now, I preface everything I'm about to say with this: Overall, Finding Dory is entertaining as a film and if you like it more than I do, I have no qualms with that. (Sometimes I do; for example, if you thought the Penguins of Madagascar full-length film you already forgot about was actually good, I pity you.) Just don't try to convince me that the film is anything other than "cute" or a "nice, simple diversion" for the summer. 

Because when it comes to Finding Dory, it can't quite seem to find the same magic that made its predecessor so special.

Finding Dory relies on Dory's medical condition to the point it almost becomes a crutch in the story. If you don't know that Dory suffers from short-term memory loss, you are possibly suffering from short-term memory loss worse than she is as the film's story hits you over the head with it at every turn for the first 50 minutes ad nauseam. It goes from being cute and a little sad to almost annoying with the number of ways the audience is reminded of the concept to the point it almost makes poor Dory seem a captor to the condition. Likewise, whereas many of the jokes rely on the slapstick and zany nature instead of the clever and subtle variety one has come to expect from a Disney•Pixar release, the heartfelt moments more often than not don't feel as organic and naturally happening as they do inevitable. (Hello? Heartstrings? We'll be tugging on your for the next hour and 40 minutes-plus.)

Now, once you get past these two noticeable flaws, you'll find an enjoyable enough romp suitable enough for adults but made for children (get ready for whale shark and beluga shark plushies and more!) that is happy and snappy with just enough sappy to entertain. A perfect family release given the current glut or movies featuring ghouls, explosions and caped crusaders, Finding Dory's cast gives their all to their performances, O'Neill in particular to deliver a suitably pleasant although not perfect feature film.

In short, if you're having trouble finding something the entire family can watch together, Finding Dory will be a simple answer the next time you visit the multiplex.



Popular Posts