Movie review: Finding Dory

Shades of Sigourney Weaver

finding-dory-movieDespite some positive reviews in Rotten Tomatoes (94% at this writing), I was a tad wary to see the new Pixar/Disney film Finding Dory. This comes from my basic lack of trust in sequels, though I liked the Toy Story franchise.

My family was at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany with about 25 other people, and The Daughter was one of only two children; I expect the kiddies had gone earlier in the day, which was Father’s Day.

In case someone had not seen Finding Nemo – it WAS 13 YEARS AGO – there’s a very brief recap of Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) meeting Marlin (Albert Brooks). A year passes, and the forgetful blue fish suddenly has WHAT APPEARS TO BE a flashback. She crosses the ocean with those same groovy turtles from Nemo.

Then the film becomes its own narrative, as she is – shades of Sigourney Weaver – on the trail of her parents, helped by a couple of friends from her fragmented past, and by Hank (Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who’s trying to escape from the Marine Life Institute, and sees Dory as his ticket out. It was all rollicking fun.

But there’s a point about 2/3s of the way through when Dory’s memory failure threatens to derail her goal, when I heard sniffling, the distinct sound of suppressed crying. The seeming failure of Dory to achieve her goal, because of the inability to recall, thwarting that primordial need to find one’s way back home, also had The Daughter clinging to my arm.

Still, there was the finale, over the top even by cartoon standards, but would have seemed even more ridiculous had it not been earned emotionally. There were other fine vocal actors, such as Ty Burrell, and it looked nice, as Pixar films are wont to do. And yes, you should stay to the end.

The short before Finding Dory was Piper, about a young sandpiper, which was, I’ll admit, kind of adorable.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Movie review: Finding Dory”

  1. is there a part 2? Yesterday a bus stopped by my road advertising a blue fish. I didn’t have a camera. Saw finding Nemo with my daughters.

  2. Compare Independence Day: Resurgence (or any of the other films I’ve listed as missing a second act) with Finding Dory, the movie currently dominating the national box office. Finding Dory is predictable. It’s formulaic. Its scenes that make you cry feel as if they’ve been dropped into the story with an “insert tears here” sign attached.

    The difference is that even though you can see what’s coming from a mile away, you cry when you’re supposed to. You laugh when you’re supposed to. The characters build relationships and have adventures together and come into conflict with each other. Those conflicts might be simplistic — Dory is a forgetful fish who wants to return home, so of course she squabbles with Hank, an octopus with a long memory who wants to run away — but they exist, and the film gives them room to breathe.

  3. I definitely agree with both your review and the review you quoted. It’s definitely formulaic, but formulaic isn’t necessarily bad (e.g. )

    Dory made me cry, but I don’t think it’s the part you cite. The part that made me cry was “many, many shells.”

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