Review: “Finding Dory”


Photo Courtesy of Disney Pixar

When the animated classic “Finding Nemo” was released in 2003, it’s groundbreaking visuals and voice acting paved the way for computer animated films.

For years, fans have been waiting patiently for the inevitable sequel; and it has finally arrived with the same astounding visuals, but unfortunately a lot of the magic has disappeared, leaving me with an empty feeling inside.

The film follows Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) as she continues to struggle with her memory. Much like the Pixar film “Up,” the opening minutes of this film are exhilarating and heartbreaking; directors Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane give backstory to Dory, allowing her to truly bloom as much more than the ancillary sidekick of the predecessor.

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Dory is once again voiced brilliantly by Degeneres. Aside from her already hilarious quirks, she is given heartwarming flashbacks featuring her long lost parents, played delicately by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy.

But not all characters are given the necessary balance to sustain throughout the film. For instance, Marlin (Albert Brooks), the apprehensive clown fish, gives an irritatingly grating performance. There is very little character nuance, and he’s almost entirely unlikeable throughout. The same goes for Nemo (Hayden Rolence). Aside from the fact that both Marlin and Nemo are technically apart of Dory’s character development, they both really bog down most of the scenes they’re in.

By far, the best and most unsuspecting part of “Finding Dory” is Hank (Ed O’Neill), an octopus whose afraid of the ocean. The physical comedy and chemistry with Dory is top notch. When the two of them are on screen together, it’s pure magic; in fact, most of the new characters greatly overshadow the old.

While there is a lot of heart and quite a few laughs, many of the weaker story elements hinder the film’s chance of becoming great. Also, many of the themes of mental illness spark interest, but aren’t nearly as though provoking as they think they are. This is good, not great, Pixar fare.

Grade: B-