Finding Dory – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

finding doryFinding Dory – 4/5 – In a world filled with technology; it is something that has influenced many things in our society.  One aspect this is true for is for the film industry.  The advent of technology has progress the use of CGI and animation within this art; allowing filmmakers to bridge realism through the vividness of the imagination.  Some of the best animated features in recent times come from a little known studio named Pixar.  Known for some iconic films (Up, Inside Out, Toy Story, etc.), they have shown that in the animated world they can create something with passion, drama and heart.  With this new entry and sequel to Finding Nemo, they have returned to a world of the underwater variety.  Finding Dory brims with a lot of familiarity with returning characters, but it does enough to create an endearing ride.  Beyond the imagination, Finding Dory is a wonderful trip for the whole family.

Premise:  Dory begins to remember that she has a family; and sets out on a journey with Nemo and Marlin to find her parents and home.  Along the way, the three find the true meaning of family.

With a huge cast of characters (new and old); there are too many to name.  If you want to see the list of voice actors/actresses, please refer to the IMDb page.  Overall, the full cast do a wonderful job in bringing you back into this world.  Living within the group of many marine creatures, the colorful sense is not only brought about by the visual creation, but also through strong voice acting.  It is a hard to provide emotional response with general acting, but having the ability to create personality through your voice is another step above.  From the returning main cast of Dory, Nemo and Marlin to the newcomers like Hank, Destiny and a few others, you feel that personal touch within each CGI created creature.  There is that strong individualistic aura that helps provider unique, raw and distinct characters on the big screen.  No matter if it’s the short memory antics of Dory, the lovable interaction between the father/son duo of Nemo and Marlin or the new relationships formed with newcomers like Destiny and Hank, you feel the realism in everyone and everything on screen.  The emotional overtures are superb because of the layering of the vocal talent with powerful deliverance.  This shows the greatness within the actors/actresses providing their voices.  Outside of the main cast, the rest of characters are wonderful standouts throughout the film.  They provide that depth and perspective that allows for a truly believable world.  No matter if it’s the creatures of the sea, the animals in the aquarium or the humans, you feel the authentic allure from everything.  The secondary cast feels just as individualistic as the main, creating a realism vibe throughout.

The direction follows a script that tackles a twofold path.  What you have is a general building effect within the continuation of a sequel combined with the typical journey aspect.  Within that journey, it builds upon the ideal situation that is used in a lot of animated features, finding a way back home.  This will put the audience in familiar territory; creating a situation that is acceptable but safe.  The creative team here doesn’t try to push the bounds within a different or new perspective, just give you another window into worlds by general concepts.  What you figure out from the onset is that the director (Andrew Stanton) decides to take the same formula of the first film and mold it around a different character.  Instead of Nemo being the focal plot point within the ‘journey’ theme, it is Dory as the main character/plot point combined with that same theme.  With a slight twist to the basic outline, you get a different take within the confines of the rehashing method.  Taking a liking approach, the film retro fits why and how Dory ran into Marlin from the first film (in the prologue).  From here, the film moves forward a year.  After a quick introduction to the returning cast, the direction picks up the pace and begins to move frantically from each situation.  At each of these specific points, you watch as Dory slowly piece together her fragmented memory, leading her on a ‘journey’ to find her parents and home again.  Through the bulk of this linear progression, we have two paralleling stories:

Dory trying to find her home/parents

Dory (along the way) finding herself

Both flow seamlessly together; weaving a connective tissue for Dory, Marlin and Nemo.  This creates a sense of characterization that builds upon the meaning of family.  The heart of this film relies on becoming witnesses to these flawed individuals.  No matter if it’s the young kids or adults; the layering is deep enough for the latter but fun enough for the former.  Even in its driven familiar context, there is a sense of brevity within the interactions on screen.  You watch real growth within every single character that has screen time.  No matter if it’s the dramatic scenes that strike an emotional cord, the action boiling up the intensity or the comedic forays that spark hysteria, you feel that true evolution of the characters.  The mixture of emotions helps provide an indifference to the linear directive.  Once we get into the final act, certain ‘moments’ happen that will provide that ‘heart’ you expect from any Pixar film.  This shows what makes them great; by breeding a place of family fun within the complexity of telling a story and growing characters.  Once we head into the climax, it turns into twisting turns of chaotic scenes.  After everything finally settles, the audience gets that true ‘full circle’ approach for all the creatures involved.  It is one that leads into an epilogue that shows that ‘happily ever after’ mantra within the concept of ‘finding our home’ theme.

The visuals are beyond breathtaking.  Within the recreation of the underwater world along with the aquarium; you feel the authenticity of the locales.  No matter if it’s the home of Nemo and Marlin, the journey through the sea or the different aspects of the aquarium, you get a sense of an original flavor combined with that creative touch of CGI.  No matter if it’s the creatures or the specific places; you feel a part of this world.  You believe this isn’t an animated film but a real place.  The score is an enjoyable mixture of ambient sounds and a general orchestra.  Even with some decent music, it does not play as a strength for the film.

Finding Dory will take you on a familiar ride, but it is one that becomes wonderful, charming and heartfelt.  With the returning characters bringing you back into this underwater world, there is enough fun here for everyone.  This is a great time for anyone that is a fan of Pixar and a great weekend at the movies for the whole family.

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