Movie Review 'Finding Dory' Bigger Story, Bigger Heart

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The exceptionally endearing and adorable sea-life creatures of Pixar’s big blue world return to the silver screen in one of the most jam-packed, fast-paced, wham-bam-snappy emotionally impactful films of Pixar’s collection to date.  FINDING DORY escapes it’s prejudice by making sure the audience is aware from the get-go that this is a heartfelt journey in search for Dory’s parents and forgotten past rather than a search for Dory herself.  Instead Disney and Pixar do what Pixar’s does best and search for the deeper meaning of Dory’s character and tells a meaningful and inspiring story using every possible commonly used theme in the most positive way.  Tear-jerkers around every kelp and under every shell on top of endless laughter helps keep the audience grinning even while eyes are watering up.

Wait. It can’t be! FINDING DORY you say is that good!? YES! I am not listening to anyone else at this point.  I am not even a true FINDING NEMO fan, but I found myself embraced to every absurd circumstance the fish find themselves in.  While the first film was still filled with heart and beautiful scenery, this 13-year-later sequel offers so much more than just banking on guaranteed story structure success from before  The film benefits from a much stronger well-balanced storyline of subplots and sub-themes galore all interwoven together in a continuation story that keeps the bulk of nostalgia from the original along with an addition of a school of creative new characters.  While the first film dependent on a familiar story structure with lovable characters and a stunning waterscape, Finding Dory builds on already cherished characters and finds new lovable, strong characters that help in telling a much larger relatively complex story.


Finding Dory isn’t just a retelling of the first film with Dory instead of Nemo.  No.  While sure there is a time where Nemo and his still overprotective father Marlin must search for Dory, this story involves more around Dory’s search for her parents, old friends, and her coming of age.  Still using some of the most popular themes in the industry, the movie never ends up beating any singular thematic moral dead horse.

The story picks up just one year after the popular blue tang fish suffering from short-term memory loss, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) returned back to the Great Barrier Reef with the famous little clown fish Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and his father Marlin (Albert Brooks).  After a brief flashback to meet Dory’s parents Charlie (Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Diane Keaton), this forgetful fishy is reminded of her family during a short stint as the teachers assistant in Rays class.  This prompts pure joy for Dory with her new found memory of her family, but quickly turns into a new epic transpacific adventure search for Dory’s parents to the coast of the California at Monterey Bay Aquarium inspired Morro Bay Marine Life Institute.

Please keep your disbelief at home as I must remind you that you are watching talking fish and sea-creatures journey across the Pacific and manage to at times to pass as human babies or even drive a vehicle.  Expect the outlandishness, but also expect incredibly creative new scenarios that you couldn’t even have dreamt up.  Scenes can become ridiculous, but are done in such a way that you shouldn’t have to think twice as to how this is possible  Just keep reminding yourself these are TALKING ANIMALS!


With such highlights as the hilarious sea lions, Ty Burell as a beluga whale with biological sonar skills that blames his big forehead for the pain he has in head, to the super cute cuddling otters; the clever new cast of hilarious characters are at no shortage.  You will laugh until the credits roll… well even more after. But that’s to be expected.  In between laughs are such emotional feasts, and fears that thankfully never go too… deep.  Such ardor of expression in every face of each character really shows the masterfulness of the animators and creators at Pixar.  While the GOOD DINOSAUR never failed in this aspect, Finding Dory picks up and soars with better story, pace and attention-span.  Kids should be able to stay engrossed in the film more so than much of Disney’s more recent lineup.

While it’s a story of platonic love, acceptance, and friendship, it’s just as much the story of who Dory is inside.  The film is more beautiful than ever and contains possibly more hyperreal scenery than any other animated film.  Humans and animals still remain with slight animated flair.  There are so many comical situations Dory and company get themselves into that one point seem to never end, but it always remains quick at the point.  Finding Dory finds itself at just over 100 minutes, which is shorter than most Pixar epics, hopefully helping assist with any antsy-ness whether your kids or own legs.


The name of the film is actually more fitting than you may expect.  Finding Dory explores many more themes that we find in everyday life.  Instead of an action-packed film in search for a fish, we find ourselves finding Dory’s inner self and quite possibly a reflection of ones own self.  Well written, Andrew Statton has done it again telling a story that its setting helps tell the story, but doesn’t take it over.  There was a sense of love and pride in this sequel with a sense they really wanted to tell this story.  Finding Dory fills the deep blue world with love and hopefully will fill some of yours.