I have to admit it, dear reader: this reviewer shed a tear during the new Pixar animated feature. Of course, we shouldn’t have expected anything different from the animation studio that famously made grown men weep during the first 10 minutes of a movie (Up), but still, we have to head into any sequel with a bit of apprehension. Finding Dory creates an interesting paradox within itself. Playing with the title, the writers smartly created two storylines: one in which Nemo and his father, Marlin, do indeed have to physically find Dory—and two, we watch Dory as she “finds” herself.
Dory (voiced honestly and gently by Ellen DeGeneres) suffers from short term memory loss. We watch as she inevitably forgets the story of where she comes from and rediscover it along the way. Finding Dory is an emotional ride: heartbreaking, exhilarating, fresh, and hilarious the whole way through. That’s hard to accomplish for any film, but for a sequel to constantly surprise its audience with jokes and characters that feel fresh is a world that that I didn’t want to leave. Pixar trusts the audience in a way that a lesser studio doesn’t, and that’s what’s so admirable about the film: no part of the story had come easy for Dory.
Also worth a shoutout is the incredibly fleshed out supporting cast. There’s Hank the grumpy but lovable septapus (you know, when an octapus loses an arm) and a couple of whales that could have a Will & Grace-style sitcom on their own.
While the usual crop of summer blockbusters continues to churn out lackluster sequels and simple minded action movies, Finding Dory proves that some stories are worth continuing.
The film is now playing!