Important note for everyone seeing Finding Dory. Ladies don’t forget the Kleenex and guys don’t forget we’re supposed to be too tough to get choked up by an animated film about a fish. You will anyway, but it’s OK.
Finding Dory is the kind of enthralling, immersive movie that will have your inner Inside Out crew working overtime handling all the emotions.
With the strength of the Toy Story follow-ups and Monsters University, Pixar has earned significant benefit of the doubt when it dips into the sequel well. Still, another scavenger hunt in the sea didn’t exactly seem necessary. Finding Nemo was a terrific one-off film that didn’t seem to lend itself to further adventures.
In another studio’s hands, this would have been a blatant cash grab hoping to tap into nostalgia and love of the original film. The result would have been a stinker unworthy of the franchise. Under Pixar’s guidance however, it’s apparent there are plenty of stories to be told under the sea. Finding Dory is a lively, engaging and colorful sequel about discovering your inner strength.
Picking up shortly after the events of Finding Nemo, Dory — the helpful, but forgetful fish (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) — is starting to recall her childhood.
Those flashbacks featuring Dory’s parents Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy) helping the adorable younger Dory (Sloane Murray) are some of the heart-touching moments we’ve seen from Pixar yet. Pixar hasn’t made an emotionally touching film like this since the finale of Toy Story 3 and that devastating opening sequence of Up.
Convinced she knows how to find her family, Dory sets off on a cross-country journey. Tagging along are Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son, Nemo (Hayden Rolence) to help Dory get to the Marine Life Institute and find her folks.
Along the way, Dory and company meet some new friends destined to be beloved entries in the Pixar/Walt Disney stable. Hank the octopus (Ed O’Neill), Destiny the whale shark (Kaitlin Olson) and Bailey the beluga whale (Ty Burrell). Hank is the easy standout with his chameleon abilities and his gruff attitude that eventually gets worn down by Dory.
Occasionally in the animated genre you’ll hear a voice actor that sounds like they’re going through the motions for the paycheck. DeGeneres hardly mails it in with a passionate performance that stands as one of Pixar’s finest.
Director/Screenwriter Andrew Stanton adds another instant classic to his already impressive resume, which includes Finding Nemo, WALL-E and the Toy Story trilogy. Stanton has the Pixar formula down pat and Dory is packed with laughs, thrills and an epic animated scope.
Most Pixar films don’t have such obvious moral lessons so it was refreshing that Dory has an easy one to grasp for both children and adults: you can overcome any disability or obstacle so long as you believe in yourself.
It’s going to cost a little more, but with the gorgeous colors and aquatic backdrop you’re going to want to pay extra to enjoy the film in 3D. Zootopia is going to have its supporters, but for my money, Finding Dory is now the Best Animated picture to beat. You’re going to have to search far and wide for a better animated film this year.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures