The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
1080p, 1.78:1 aspect ratio, English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, 5.1
2016, Rated PG, 1 hour, 37 minutes
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell, Idris Elba
Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Finding Dory is the long-anticipated sequel to the now classic Finding Nemo. Like most people, I loved the original and its heartwarming tale of a father desperately in search of his lost son, so my expectations were rather high. In the new installment, Dory goes in search of her parents after memories of her childhood suddenly start bubbling to the surface. Along the way she meets an outwardly selfish Octopus named Hank, who quickly reveals his heart (or three) of gold. With help from Hank, Marlin, Nemo, and some others, Dory finally accomplishes her longtime goal of meeting her parents in an emotionally satisfying climax. It feels like a culmination of both movies, and strikes the perfect range of emotions to make this an instant classic.
Naturally, Finding Dory will always be compared to its forbearer. Like the original, you meet a host of side characters who are funny, quirky, and add greatly to the story. My favorite of these was the shark Destiny, who was Dory’s childhood “pipe pal”. As a shark that can’t quite navigate to avoid hitting objects while swimming, she is the perfect example of what a Pixar character is, and how it contributes to the main character’s end goal. She provides guidance, friendship, and help to a desperate Dory, and even brings in a new friend, Bailey, whose echo-location proves critical to their success.
Their friendly banter mirrors that of what you’d find from side characters in many Pixar films, which is a great thing. The aforementioned Hank is the primary side character, and also proves to be invaluable in getting Dory to her endgame. At first he is only in it for himself, desperate for the tag Dory got from the Institute workers indicating she was to be shipped to an aquarium in Cleveland. But by the end his new friendship with Dory and his conscious dictate that he stays and helps.
Despite the similarities with the original, there are certainly differences in the newer film. I felt like Finding Dory, while still an excellent movie for kids, offered more in the way of adult themes. Dory’s memory problem seemed less a comedic plot point and more of a commentary on the challenge of living with a disability. Indeed, her mechanisms for dealing with her struggle, such as repeating her goals over and over to keep them fresh in her mind, demonstrate the difficulty of her daily life.
The theme of what it means to be part of a family, whether biological or not, is also key as Dory had to grow up without her real parents. Unlike the original film, we actually get glimpses of what it was like with them early in her childhood, making their loss that much more devastating. Then we see Dory wandering about looking for help – scared because her memory is gone and because she is alone in a strange place – and we feel awful for her. Yet it is the friends she makes once she finds her place that carry her through to her ultimate goal of reuniting with her parents. Overall, the film just felt a bit more serious and emotional than the first, while staying true to Pixar films’ guiding principles.
The film is presented in the 1.78:1 wide screen format, slightly off from the theatrical 1.85:1. As it is a computer-animated film, it translates perfectly to the Blu-Ray format. One thing you can certainly see is just how far computer animation has come in the last 13 years. Fine detail, shadows, shading – all look so much more realistic than in Finding Nemo. When they first showed the surface of the water when we are introduced to the sea lions, I could barely tell whether it was real or animated – it was that good.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack was outstanding as well. The background water sounds in the surround channels were extremely effective during all of the underwater scenes. I even tested with setting my receiver to Dolby Surround to see how the soundtrack would work with the overhead channels. They worked very well, adding to the overall soundstage. Things like the seagulls overhead really translated superbly.
I had not seen Finding Dory in the theater, and tried to avoid much of the details before seeing it at home, though again, as a Pixar film it is not terribly difficult to guess the major plot points. Still, the movie was done extremely well. There were those that said it did not live up to the original, but I disagree with that notion. Perhaps it was not the landmark film that Finding Nemo was, but it was a terrific movie in its own right, offering a more mature take on a similar story. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and will be happy to watch it again.
- Mini short: Marine Life Interviews
- Short Film: Piper
- Featurette: Animation & Acting
- Featurette: The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar
- Featurette: Deep in the Kelp
- Deleted Scenes