Here is my first film review since being home. I will keep this short. Unfortunately, I did not like this movie as much as I thought I would. But, there were many good things I liked about it! I have a new rule when critiquing films: I want to keep my reviews as positive as possible and avoid negativity and sarcasm as much as I can. On with the review then!
First off, Finding Dory (2016) is a Pixar animated film which came out last summer. It was a commercial success grossing over 1 billion dollars worldwide and critically and publicly recognized as one of the best films last year. As far as I saw, it did not win any major awards at the Oscars or Golden Globes, but I don’t think that was particularly a problem for the film.
I remember when Finding Nemo (2003) came out when I was twelve. Goodness I love that movie! It is charming, with memorable characters and a witty story that is both heart-warming and engaging. I loved the music, animation and messages on family and overcoming one’s fears. But I don’t think Finding Dory lives up to its predecessor.
The story, was all that I expected. I saw advertisements for it while I was in Russia and thought, “Well, I guess this means they will go and try and find Dory who got lost. . . as a play on the original story where Nemo was lost. That’s clever.” Those were my thoughts. I did hear though, from many friends I made from my mission, how cute this movie is and I thought I better seek it out when I came home.
It’s story is very simple. Dory had lost her parents. She goes to find them, haunted that she had forgotten them in the first place. Though the idea is cute and fun for children, I don’t think this story arc is very impressive compared to early Pixar films from the 2000s. Here are my thoughts. Throughout the 2000s they had so many creative ideas and took a lot of risks in their films. They changed the scope of animation and entertainment forever. But this movie. . . does not do that. It builds on the work those foundationsl films did and does not rely on its own power.
Now, it is a cute story, but I don’t think it will stand the tests of time. Which is unfortunate.
Just as the story lacked in creativity, I don’t think it was executed extraordinarily. The settings were limited to home on the reef, a graveyard of ships, and the aquarium. There was very little variety. I feel it lacked the breadth and scope of Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo introduced so many beautiful sites and aspects of ocean life, but I don’t think that was accomplished in this new movie.
But here is what it does well. It is very touching and has a heavy emphasis on family and how those ties are never severed. I loved the scene where Dory finds the trails of shells her parents set down for her in order to find her. When they saw her, I could feel how much they loved her and their relief in being with her again.
Overall, it was predictable, but also fun to watch. If anything, I think it is a phenomenal film for little kids.
I liked Dory in the first film a lot. I thought it was hilarious she could speak whale, knew how to read, and always had an infectious positive attitude. Easily, she was my favorite character. Now, hmmm. . . I am not sure. She was the same as before and I loved her for her quirkiness.
Other characters I really liked: the bird with the bright red eye, who we are never sure is all there or not, hank the spy octopus (sectopus?) who is constantly escaping and has a hatred of other people and. . . (dun dun dun!) Gerald the seal. He is my favorite. No questions asked. If I could be a character in this movie. . . it would be him.
Now, I definately liked the characters here better than in Inside Out (2015), but I did not love them. Well, except for Gerald. He is the exception. Definitely so. But other then that, *shrug*, there is nothing more I can say. They are really cute, just not too memorable for me.
To put it simply, this is a very well animated film. It is very smooth, and has clear, bright colors and backgrounds. I like the designs for the characters and how they are animated, especially Hank, and have no complaints in regards to its execution. So, why not the full score?
Simple, I have seen all these things before. They didn’t accomplish anything new. Nothing really. . . blew me away. But for all it is, it is certainly enjoyable to see. I just wish they had given us as an audience something more. Honestly, when I went in and saw the film I did not notice the animation too much. It wasn’t till later that I sat down and thought through how it was executed.
Again, very well animated. But nothing really impressed me.
Hmm hmm hmm, well, the music is pretty. I listened to it today and thought. “That’s nice.” But really. . . nothing really sprang out at me. Thomas Newman wrote the musical score and did a very good job. His music fit the film well and there are some very pretty pieces scattered throughout the movie. One that immediately comes to mind is when Dory and Marlin are sitting and staring out away from the reef together in the end. I liked how peaceful it was.
I don’t rate this score with a 5 because I would not go out of my way to listen to it. But it is still nice and fits the film really well.
PERSONAL ENJOYMENT: 3.5/5
This is a good film. Truly. But not a great one. I think Finding Nemo was definately more groundbreaking and memorable. However, this is a very cute movie and great for children to watch! I recommend this movie for children and families. Now, if you have not seen its predecessor please go out of your way to watch it! It is older animation but is a very well done movie. Also, if you have not seen this movie, go ahead and see it. Though it is not as great as I hoped, at least it was a very enjoyable watch.
OVERALL SCORE: 3.6/5
1. [post-credits scene]
2. Nemo: I trust Becky.
Marlin: You trust Becky? Becky’s eating a cup!
Marlin: It really is quite a view.
Dory: Yup. Unforgettable.