General Review: Finding Dory

Hello, Spongey here.

Guess I ended up skipping out on Warcraft after all. It was mostly due to wanting save up on money than anything else, as I would prefer to see it in one go in theaters then watch it on DVD and pause every 5 minutes because I get distracted easily.

But ah well. So …Pixar has changed since I last dedicated a post to their work. I did a whole series of Pixar reviews back in 2012, that I still quite enjoyed doing. I thought Brave was a good return to form ,but for whatever reason, others didn’t and then their rep got weird since.

Monsters University and got similar mixed reactions. It is flawed, but I still think it’s pretty good, if only for the great ending that has a really refreshing message that is pure Pixar. Yet people overlook that to complain about the college cliches.

They took a break and came back with Inside Out, which was said to be their big return to form, which some calling it one of their best. And…yeah, it’s really great. It’s got minor issues (like most Pixar films, even the so called “perfect” ones), but the stuff it does right makes up for it, with it’s endless creativity and another refreshing message.

Then came The Good Dinosaur, which was just that, good. Plenty of issues, but was moslty a cute simple adventure that was quite sweet. Yet again, has mixed reactions which is fine, but some of the harsher people were being…silly.

But I’ll get into more detail on all that someday. I wanted to do Pixar-A-Thon post because this came out, but I dropped it out of laziness. I’ll maybe do it someday because I really want to get into those movies and their reception.

But those are the short versions. So Pixar has been mixed lately, while I get it, I think some people bash them them too much. I mean, most of these are flawed, but still flawed with heart. But from what you hear, you would think some of these are Cars 2 levels of crap.

It’s one of thing to dislike those, but some of these reactions go to fair. And it’s all because their not hugely epic or amazing. Even the people who like some of those fine, are still disapponted because they aren’t perfect.

Because everything they make has to be a perfect 10/10 masterpiece or else it’s just crap. Perfect logic, see? They aren’t allowed to make something just “good” for some reason. Yet when Disney or Dreamworks do that, no one cares.

I’m just saying, people give them way too much pressure. Sometimes, being just good is FINE. As long as it has true effort put into it, it doesn’t matter. I’d even rather watch Cars 2 a million times than sit through Hoodwinked 2 ever again.

What I’m saying is, fight the real enemy, like Planes!

But whatever, their future is uncertain, as oyu think after Inside Out, we’d be back on track. Not quite. Good Dinosaur under performed, and most of the upcoming films are…sequels. That thing people didn’t quite like from Pixar.

But hey, the future is the future, we’ll do with it as it comes. Personally, as long as they actually try, I don’t care. So hopefully Cars 3 will be amazing. For now, let’s get to our sequel to Finding Nemo.

While picking the objective best Pixar film is hard, I think this one was my personal favorite. The story is a simple one that has been done a lot, but it’s executed perfectly, being decently deep, while also being really funny and beautifully animated.

It’s the definition of a modern classic, and it still holds up 10 plus years later. So naturally, a sequel seemed like an odd episode. Especially it would star the comic relief, which turned out so well last time!

But I was somewhat interested in it, especially after seeing more ads, which emphasized a possible dramatic turn instead of just silly antics. Various interviews got more more excited as well.

Then the reviews started coming. This currently has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Damn. They aren’t as glowing as Pixar’s best, but it’s at least one of their better reviewed films as of late.

By comparisons, most people I follow would gave Brave and Monsters U something in the B-, 6/10 range. This is on the B+, 8/10 level. Most people seem to like it, with some really liking. No one is saying it’s perfect, but it is getting generally good reviews, vs the mixed reviews of some other films.

So maybe there’s some hope! Director and writer Andrew Stanton return, although there’s only one other writer now, and it’s someone who hasn’t done much. Still, this should be interesting.

Is Pixar’s latest sequel worth finding, or is it best left forgotten? Let’s find out!

This, is Finding Dory

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ANIMATION:

I figured I’d start here, because it’s a given that the animation in a Pixar movie will be good, so I may as well get it out of the way. Now, Finding Nemo is 10 plus tears old and STILL looks amazing.

And thankfully, this one just just as great. The biggest strength in the first movie was the water, as it looked just perfect. It looked real, without looking too real. The environments just looked breath taking.

They keep that up here, but now I think the biggest strength would be the character animation. Like before, the fish actually look real fish, as opposed to another certain underwater film from around the same time.

There’s great variety in the design so no two fish look the same, even ones of the same type. We have other creatures too, this time they include beluga whales, sea lions, and an octopus. Each of them look great in their way, with Hank being the biggest triumphant here. They get creative with his movements, and how he gets around and blends in with the backgrounds.

And at this point, Pixar has nailed humans and typical environments. Back n 2004, it was impressive that they could do humans perfectly for a full film, now they just include perfect looking humans in the backgrounds, which we take for granted even though they still look great.

I will point out that my theater’s project was a bit odd, as the film was not in big full screen so it kind of looks like the film is in a box. The quality was still good, but I tihkn I could have admired the animation more if it was full.

I do have one small issue with the animation, especially compared to the first movie. Finding Nemo had a lot of creative set pieces to showcase the animation, like the EAC, a herd of jellyfish and so on.

This, mostly stays in one place. They do a lot but it’s mostly on land, which isn’t as impressive as the big wide ocean. I get that it’s the point but it does mean the awe factor has gone done a bit.

But that’s just a small issue. Otherwise, Pixar once again excels with the animation, by taking one of their best looking features and keep all the same quality. But onto the important parts…

WRITTING:

A Year after helping Marlin find his son, Dory suddenly gets memories of her parents, and goes out to find them.

The thing to know about this movie is that it is a Dory movie. The whole thing revolves around her, and the whole is about exploring her in various ways. Marlin and Nemo are separate from her in most of it, and they just get a small subplot, even though they are semi important.

This is important because the writers clearly were trying harder at making true Dory is portrayed perfectly, rather than creating the most epic sounding story. I’ll start with the negatives of this.

There is slight rehashing. Not a ton but it’s there. The film is finding trying to find a family member, and Dory is mostly saddled with a grumpy guy while working towards this goal. And at one point someone must be rescued from a human location.

I’m not sure what they could have done differently, but there is a bit of “been there, done that” to an extent. Thankfully, it’s not overloaded with “MEMBER THIS?” moments, as the turtles are the only arguably forced appearance. The others that exist are natural enough.

The basic structure as the biggest problem here, as it does remind too much of the previous film. Thankfully, it’s used as a spring boar into something deeper, and isn’t just Finding Nemo, but with Dory.

But the fact it has rehash elements may bother someone, as well some of nitpicky stuff. How do they handle the Dory focus? …Pretty damn well! I’ll go into more detail in the Character section but manage to do a film about the supporting right!

Mostly because they use the focus to go deeper into her character. Before, her memory loss was used for laughs, with occasional serious moments, like she’s proud she remembers P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney.

This elaborates on that. Because it was an element from the first one, it’s a natural extension and not just something they pulled out of their ass. And the direction they go is engaging .Right from the opening scene, you feel sorry for Dory and want to see her find her parents.

They really go into what this memory loss is like for her, as she gets various flashes but can’t quite put the pieces together. It’s interesting to see these flashbacks, and how every set piece leads her towards her goal.

And of course, this features an interesting message about disablaties., Yeah. Don’t worry, it’s not forced, it feels natural because it’s never preachy. I mean, Nemo’s bad fin was an important bit in the first film.

No one launches into a speech or anything, it’s just a story that happens naturally. Dory learns to cope with her memory loss, and get over it in her own way. They also show this with some other characters, which I’ll get into in that section.

So ontop of the main story, it has a relevant message that isn’t forced and makes sense. Which leads us to the big thing that makes this movie good: The emotion. Holy crap, this has some of the most emotional moments in a Non-Inside Out Pixar film in a while, and the rest had their sad moments too.

I won’t spoil anything but they really go into Dory’s feelings to create some real tearking moments. I won’t quite say I cried, but I came very close, and that doesn’t happen too often. And in true Finding Nemo fashion, one such moment is in the first few moments.

Sorry I can’t go into detail, but trust me, they nail the emotion here. These moments are what make me like the film as much as I do, as if they weren’t there, I would be more ambivalent towards some of it.

It’s kind of like Monsters University in that way, but this writing is better in general.

So overall, the writing itself is slightly mixed. The actual story isn’t the most original and has slight rehashing but also has a well done message, and uses Dory as the lead correctly by going deep into her character and using her dramatically.

But they mostly nail it, as it manages to to be mostly engaging with a well written lead, in sprite of slight rehashing. I’ll go into how this compares to other recent Pixar works at the end.

So yeah, the story isn’t the best, but the actual writing manages to be surprisingly good, with how it naturally develops the lead, and goes into deep themes in a Non preachy way, with tons of emotional.

Even with it’s flaws, Pixar still delivers with the writing where it counts.

CHARECTERS:

Finding Nemo was well known for it’s very memorable cast of characters, and the sequel manages to keep that up. We’ll start with the important two people…the lesbians who appear for a few seconds!

Okay. I’m joking, but yeah that was cool. Not worth either side going ape shit, but nice to see. We’ll really start with the returning characters, starting with Marlin and Nemo, voiced by Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence. Yeah, the previous Nemo grew up, but he does actually get a cameo, which is nice.

Their roles are reduced, mostly being surrpot, and as I said, are separated from Dory for what a lot in. And they really don’t get a lot of development on their own, just little moments connecting to Dory. Those bits work well, but it means these two arent’ as complex as before.

Marlin is slightly more dick-ish in one forced moment, but it works in the long run. And otherwise, he’s fine as is Nemo. There just really isn’t a whole to let about them this time, though. I get that their arcs have been completed, but maybe they could have done them better, maybe.

And…actually, I think they are the only returning ones besides the lead worth mentioning. Crush is just a minor scene, one is a spoiler, and Ray and the classmates are also in a minor scene. Not too much to say with them, they still have their charm for the bits they get.

Guess we can move on to the new ones, starting with Hank, voiced by Ed O Neil. He’s a grumpy octopus, and he’s a good foil. He fulfills Marlin’s role but it works in context, especially with his ultimate goal. He works well of Dory, and is quite enjoyable.

Then there’s the Belgua Whales, Destiney and Bailey, voiced by Katlin Olson and Ty Burell. They manage to be really likable in their own right, and Destiny’s connection to dory is pretty clever.

They both tie into the disability thing I mentioned, and it’s well handled, bringing depth to their characters. They were nice additions.

Then we have these Sea Lions, one of which is voiced by Idris Elba. Everyone has joked about him being in three Disney films this year, so I’ll skip that. They are mostly minor, but serve as the pelicans of the film, helping out and being really funny.

And then there is Dory’s Parents, voiced by Eugine Levy and Diane Keaton. I can’t really say anything without spoiling it, but yeah they add to the film too. They are good plot devices thanks to the flashbacks establishing their connection to Dory very well.

And I left Dory, voiced by Ellen Degneres, for last, as she is the most important. As I said, this film works mostly because of her. Thankfully, they manged to keep her the same, as right from the get go she’s even more likable, as her nature is put in a new light. We even see her first scene in the first film again in a new way that makes her even more interesting. See, her nature isn’t just for dumb jokes, they go deep into it.

She oddly never annoyed me in either film, because she happens to be so damn likable. You should would be more annoying this time, but they keep her in check due to the dramatic elements, and how she bounces off of others.

I’m sure some may like her less, but I almost liked her more because make her jokes more dramatic. Also, Ellen is damn good here. Not just in terms of Comedy, she also does the drama well too. I mean, when she sounds sad, you immediately feel sorry for her.

She did it in the first one, and she does it even more her. I’m surprised, Ellen isn’t exactly known for making you cry of sadness, but she manages to do it. Good job!

Overall, the leads from before aren’t as strong, but the new characters are all memorable, and Dory works great as the lead, creating a solid cast. And top it off, there’s an awesome cameo of someone playing themselves, which I won’t spoil.

Final Thoughts:

I’m relived to type that with Finding Dory, Pixar has made a worthwhile direct sequel again. Yes, it has rehashed elements, and Nemo and Marln aren’t quite as strong, but the animation is as amazing as ever, the writing brings up interesting themes, and puts Dory in the spotlight correctly by going deeper into her character and introducing some fun new ones.

This is how you give the spotlight to a comic relief. First, pick an actually good one and then actually develop beyond just a joke machine. Here, Dory’s main joke is a deep element in itself. They peel back her backstory and really make you feel sorry for her, especially in the opening and climax.

Is it necessary? I don’t know, they managed to justify it’s existence by putting Dory’s nature in a new light, and giving us strong development and some truly tear jerking moments. So that makes up for it not be needed.

Besides, I’m sick of people saying a sequel is unnecessary. A lot of sequels arent’ needed. Did we need a 2nd Terminator after everything seemed to wrap up fine? Did we need another Mad Max after so long?

Not really, but they still justified it by making them awesome! This is what happened here. As far as Pixar’s works go, it’s complicated. It is on the same level of Brave and such, but the problems bug me less. Meaning, I never groan and the best parts make up for the problems more here.

But I don’t like comparing them since they don’t all have to be great, it just matters if it’s good. And this film is quite good. I doubt it’ll fully put Pixar on track (Cars 3 is next after all), but it shows they can make a sequel with a comic relief as a focus properly.

Instead of bitching it not being their best, let’s be glad it was a good very good movie, with the usual Pixar charm and heart. If you liked the first one and love Dory, you will most certainly like this movie. And if you think this is an idea that can maybe work, you will enjoy it. If you thought this was a bad idea, then it depends on how you reacted to the type. I say listen to WHY people are liking it, and then decide for yourself.

At worst, you’ll just find it forgettable rather an heinous. Then again ,i thought the same for Brave and Good Dinosaur, and look what happened. But whatever, at least I still quite liked it. Perhaps not great, but still another solid effort from the lamp.

Writing: B

Animation: A-

Characters: B+

OVERALL: B+

With the heights of this one, 2016 animation is back on track, with three very good entries. We’ll see if some pets can keep it up. So, what’s the biggest film coming out next week?

Sequel to a 90’s movie that no one asked for

…Pass. The week after that?

Disney version of a classic book directed by Steven Speilberg.

…SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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4 Responses to General Review: Finding Dory

  1. Also dammit Spongey it’s “writing” not “writting”.

  2. Okay I just…Really want to point something out here. People DID actually ask for The Jungle Movie. Specifically Hey Arnold’s actual fandom. Hell, the movie WAS supposed to air a long-ass time ago as Hey Arnold’s finale but Nick decided to pull the plug on it just because Craig wanted to make a show for Cartoon Network.

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