‘Finding Dory’ Review

Pixar’s newest family feature, ‘Finding Dory,’ has enough charm and wit to make you as forgetful to the 13-year-old sequel as the protagonist at hand.

Pixar reaches new depths with ‘Finding Dory.’ 

finding dory
Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

Almost 13 years after the original smash hit Finding Nemo, the widely-acclaimed animators at Pixar finally realized that there is still some ocean left to be swum for this aquatically dysfunctional family. Luckily for us, they came to the conclusion that another lost clownfish would lose its luster all too quickly. Furthermore, they turned to a quirky, flawed blue tang for some moral support. And, in the end, it’s exactly what we were hoping for all along.

Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) has always experienced short-term memory loss. Her personality quirk has provided her with countless endeavors and encounters-galore, including her fateful introduction of Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo. Nevertheless, when her memory pick ups and she gets a mental glimpse at the family that she’s left behind, Dory enlists Marlin and Nemo to help her find her way back home. This leads to a journey across the Pacific towards the Marine Life Institute in California, where she befriends a grumpy octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neil), a nearsighted whale shark named Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and an anxious beluga named Bailey (Ty Burrell).

Pixar practically built its empire on the idea of making people feel and connect, whether it be through a toy or, in this particular case, a fish.  Your box office ticket lets you accept their terms and conditions, allowing them to make you laugh, love, cry, gasp or simply smile. This reason leads me to understand why Finding Dory works like a charm. Even though it makes you feel deep emotion and long-awaited nostalgia, it also manages to be one of the most clever films, both animated and not, of this 2016 movie season.

Dory’s adventure has a plethora of interesting twists and turns, maneuvering every possible dead-end point to a new story arc with sincere ease. And, interestingly enough, it made me root for Dory even more than some of the children in the theater. Not to mention, it’s flat-out hysterical. Director/writer Andrew Stanton truly shows off his creative chops in this 105-minute laugh-fest, with punchlines so quick-witted that you’ll forget that they’re meant for children.

“Though I already knew that it was going to be good, it definitely surpassed any expectations that I had for it,” said Jenna Stuiso, a 20-year-old fanatic of anything animation. “It was equally funny and cute, maybe even more than half of the movies that I’ve seen in the past few years alone.”

All in all, Finding Dory takes one of Pixar’s strongest characters and puts it in the right kind of spotlight. It makes you contemplate how far you would go for your own family, but makes this bold statement with fresh perspectives on old archetypes. Furthermore, it makes a sequel over a decade in the making feel like a completely original thought.

In other words, I’m glad to see that Pixar, with the pressure of ruining a beloved classic on their hands, decided to do what their protagonist does best: just keep swimming. Finding Dory is now playing in movie theaters everywhere. Some local venues include AMC Clifton Commons 16, AMC Loews Wayne 14 and even Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas in the heart of downtown Montclair! For a list of even more nearby theaters and show-times, visit fandango.com today.

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