Sunday, July 17, 2016

Finding Dory

Pixar seems to be in the habit of releasing sequels more than a decade after the original film came out. Granted, this keeps them from producing anything played-out or derivative, but it also means that they don't capitalize on the height of their franchises popularity. I get that Pixar doesn't like to milk their franchises, at least as far as movies are concerned. However, if they could maybe pick up the pace a bit, that'd be great, because I was six when Finding Nemo came out, and I'm nineteen now. I've still got my original copy on DVD and have since gotten it on Blu-Ray as well. Finding Nemo is old enough that it came out on VHS for gods sake. The fan-base of Nemo, like the characters voice-actor, has grown up since then. Not to say that we're not still interested, it's a freaking Pixar movie after all, and I've been re-watching The Incredibles on a yearly basis since the movie came out.
Out of all of the movies Pixar has put out, I think Finding Nemo was one of the ones that wasn't literally begging for a sequel. Granted, most Pixar movies that aren't The Incredibles are usually stand-alone fare that don't seem like they'd have a need or an opening for a sequel or a prequel, but Pixar inevitably finds a way. Rather unfortunately, it seems like literally every other Pixar film from the surrounding five years got a sequel or prequel before the one that was outright begging for one.
However, that doesn't mean any of the movies that have been put out between then aren't enjoyable. Despite the fact that I would have preferred to see The Incredibles 2 before I saw any of the other sequels. Or original properties they put out in the last twelve years. Or in the fifteen years it will have been by the time the movie comes out. The same goes for Finding Dory, or as it would be more honestly titled, Finding Dory's Parents.
Spoilers inbound, as usual.
A year after the events of the previous movie, eternally forgetful blue-tang Dory (Ellen Degeneres) has a flash of memory from her childhood after a montage of the early years of her life. She went on a journey across the ocean looking for her parents as her memory deteriorates more and more, before she eventually runs into Marlon on his search for Nemo.
Dory decides to go looking for her parents after a memory flash. Marlon and Nemo tag along to be her memory on a journey from Australia to California by way of Crush the surfer turtle. They wind up at Morro Bay California, and do battle with a squid, which winds up with Nemo bruised and battered, and Dory with a six-pack ring wrapped around her. She's picked up by the staff of the Morro Bay Aquarium for treatment. Marlon and Nemo wind up in the aquarium via help from two sea-lions and a loony loon, but they can't quite find out where Dory is.
Meanwhile, Dory befriends a mischievous octopus named Hank, voiced by the one and only Ed ONeill. He agrees to help her find her parents in exchange for the ID tag on her fin which will take the holder to Cleveland, Ohio.
Eventually, Dory runs into an old friend of hers, a whale-shark called Destiny (Kaitlin Olson). Destiny and Hank help her find her old home, and there Dory finds out that her parents are probably with the other Blue Tangs in quarantine, the place she was just in a while ago. A beluga whale named Bailey (Ty Burrell) uses his echolocation to plot Dory a path to quarantine.
She runs through the pipes to quarantine, and runs into Marlon and Nemo along the way. They get into the blue tang tank, and the tangs there tell Dory her parents disappeared years ago.
Hank tries to get Dory out, but he leaves Marlon and Nemo behind. As he's trying to get Dory back to the Open Ocean exhibit or something, he's apprehended by aquarium personnel, and drops Dory into an ocean-drain. She winds up back near the kelp-forest she, Marlon and Nemo wound up in earlier in the movie, and she wanders around, stunned from the idea her parents might be dead, but she follows a trail of seashells to a fish-house, and there she finds her parents. They tell her that they've spent years putting down trails of seashells, since their old home had a trail of seashells leading to it. Dory remembers Nemo and Marlon enough to remember that they need help, and she gets Destiny and Bailey to help her get onto the truck so she can rescue Marlon and Nemo. With Hank's help, they hijack the truck and all of the fish in it are set free, and she re-unites with her entire family.
All in all, this was a great film. It's good to see that The Angry Birds Movie isn't going without stiff competition in terms of family movies this year. It's almost like Pixar decided to release this film just to show the amateurs who worked on the aforementioned disaster how it's done. This film is well-animated, it's well-acted, it's funny, well-written, perfectly paced, and overall, fun.
I haven't really thought about Ellen DeGeneres since Finding Nemo. No particular reason why, I just never cared for daytime talk-shows, and I never saw her sitcom once. Buuut she's pretty good in this, and it's a damn good thing she can pull off something other than the flighty, ditsy Dory from the first movie, because nobody would have been able to carry an entire film like that as the lead character. And if she hadn't been able to pull off the character the way she did, the movie would have been utterly unwatchable. If that comes down to DeGeneres' talent as an actress, or Andrew Stanton's direction talent, I don't care. It came out incredibly well, and I'll definitely be watching this movie again when it comes out on Blu-Ray. As opposed to a certain movie I could mention.
A lot of Dory's strange quirks and seemingly random things she said have been paid off in this film, from her speaking whale, to the song she sings to cope to pretty much everything. I like how they paid all of that off.
There's plenty of fun to be had, be it from returning characters, or new ones. If I had to pick a breakout character, it would be Hank. Ed O'Neill kills it as the snarky octopus, delivering some of the funniest lines in the film. The duo of Destiny and Bailey is great too, but Hank is just cool.
Albert Brooks appears to have aged a bit audibly, but he doesn't sound like he's bored, or doesn't want to be in the movie. He hasn't lost the Marlon voice despite the thirteen years between movies.
Then there's Hayden Rolence as Nemo, who sounds a bit older than Alexander Gould did when he voiced Nemo, which makes sense considering it is supposed to be a year later.
In the end, I give Finding Dory a 10.1* rating.

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