by Alan Yudman
Pixar has established itself as the go to studio for comedies with a lot of heart. Movies like WALL-E, UP, INSIDE OUT, and the three TOY STORY films are funny and touching without being sentimental. They also deliver a message without bludgeoning the audience over the head.
FINDING DORY is a very good. The way overdue sequel to FINDING NEMO brings back Nemo, Marlin and of course Dory. It also adds some great new characters the best of which is Hank the Septopus (he lost a tentacle in an accident), voiced by Ed O’Neill. DORY features the Blue Tang voiced by Ellen Degeneres in her search for her family. She’s finding them, while Nemo and Marlin are trying to find her. That takes Dory from her home to Morro Bay in search of her parents.
Other than overcoming the obstacles and challenges you expect, Dory must overcome her disability. As she tells everyone she encounters, she has short term memory problems. That means she forgets directions and clues to her parents whereabouts almost as soon as she learns about them. The message is clear: just because you aren’t like other fish (kids) that doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness and achieve great things. Ok, we got it. Message sent and received. Over and over again. Enough already, I got it!
The movie is funny, has tons of heart and really outstanding animation and voice work by a great cast. Hey, it’s a Pixar movie, what else did you expect. The kids will love it. There is nothing too scary or shocking. But it lacks the craft of those films I mentioned earlier so even a very good Pixar movie can be a disappointment.
I also want to mention the short, PIPER. It is adorable with simply amazing animation. The water and surf and detail in the birds feathers is a real achievement. Apparently those are extremely difficult to bring to life. Well, Pixar has done it. Can’t wait to see how they use that technology in future movies.