How nice it is to finally see a movie that isn’t a comic book or video game. It’s been a while. I don’t remember Finding Nemo at all, except that I’d been impressed by it. I’d meant to see it again for context but I didn’t, so Finding Dory has to stand on its own. And it really did. Finding Dory was strong on all levels, it was beautiful and touching and funny and fun. I liked the writing, the acting and, most of all, the visuals.
The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Boy did this movie ever know how to tug on the heartstrings. First of all, little Dory was hella cute so when she was sad I just teared up on reflex. Dory suffers from Anterograde Amnesia, she has the inability to learn new things as she cognitively resets every few minutes. This is actually a fairly realistic form of amnesia though it’s way less funny or cute in real life. Finding Dory gets the tone just right, it’s just tragic or ridiculous enough to serve the story, which could not have been easy. It’s funny and that’s a good thing. Things could have gotten very dark very quickly. But the emotional payoff was just right, every time, throughout the entire movie.
Visually Finding Dory was amazing. I mean the bottom of the ocean is visually amazing anyway, and they nailed that. But they made Seaworld (or whatever the movie version of that was) look great too as both visually appealing AND a terrifying obstacle course. And the characters, even their minor characters were wonderful. My favorite was the Octopus – I loved him so much. Not only was his gruff demeanour very funny, with his camouflage there were some brilliant sight gags. There were some other characters too, including a bird and some seals. The voice acting was spot on. Especially the seals, they cracked me up.
The only problem I had with the film was that I’m not the target audience. I’m not a kid. The theater was packed with kids and they loved it. As for me, I kept finding myself distracted by the the idea of putting seawater fish, even temporarily, in a freshwater container, (anyone who has had an aquarium knows what I mean). I fully admit it’s my problem – Dory is WAY better without that kind of realism. It would have been way too short and traumatic otherwise. (Oddly, it didn’t bother me that fish could talk). But it’s this kind of thing that doesn’t matter – the story was consistent with its own rules. And it was emotionally true, which is true enough. It has very real things to say about family, belonging, perseverance and overcoming disability and it does this without being preachy or obvious.
So is Finding Dory worth watching? Yes, definitely. Take the family, it’s that kind of show. I’m not certain it’s better than Finding Nemo – I did get the sense that it took some work to make another story fit within the Finding Nemo universe. But despite whatever obstacles they might have had in this show’s creation, Finding Dory is absolutely a Pixar film and well worth it.