I had the opportunity to catch a screening of “Finding Dory” this past weekend at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Since it was an early screening none of the special events at the theater for the film were going on so I cannot offer an opinion on them. They will be having a Bubble Guy before the movie and an interactive exhibit from the Aquarium of the Pacific from June 17 until August 7.
Maggie was our point person for “Finding Dory” and she has our primary review/film overview as well as a press conference post. Below are my initial thoughts/ramblings on the film and the great short before it.
Piper – This six minute short carries on the Pixar tradition of an animated short before the feature and it delivers an entertaining story as you would expect. It follows a young sandpiper hatchling who must learn to find food and the first trip from the nest out to the beach to deal with the ocean. This short is directed by Alan Barillaro and produced by Marc Sondheimer. As with many of the recent Pixar and Disney shorts it is almost worth going to the film just to see the short. I found it to be very entertaining and just fun to watch.
“Finding Dory” – 13 Years since “Finding Nemo” was originally released we travel back under the sea for another adventure with Dory, Marlin and Nemo. This film is primarily set about a year after the original and this time around the trio sets off to find Dory’s family. To do this they travel to the California Coast. Most of the characters from the original film make appearances in this new movie (speaking of which be sure to stay around through the credits it is worth it, there is a well done sequence at the very end). “Finding Dory” fills in the backstory on where Dory came from and dives deeper into what makes Dory Dory.
As with previous films it “works” on many levels. Two primary themes of the film are family and learning to turn your own shortcomings/challenges into advantages. For example to learn more about Dory you find out some fun items such as why/ how she learned to speak whale. Or where her theme, “Just Keep Swimming” came from. Also a new catchphrase “What would Dory do?” is sure to be repeated by parents and children alike for a good portion of this summer and beyond.
Another catch phrase is used by Fluke and Rudder, a pair of sea lions (to keep this spoiler free I will refrain from using it). Time will tell if it is as popular as Mine! Mine! Mine! from the first film, but it has potential.
If you enjoyed the structure of the original film this one holds true to the format with multiple stories happening in parallel in different locations as well as the addition of flashbacks. I am usually not a fan of a lot of flashback sequences throughout a film but they are used effectively for the most part this time around. Even with all this jumping around I did feel like the film lagged/slowed down in a couple spots but luckily it picked back up relatively quickly.
There are plenty of references to other films and beyond. If you are like me you usually have a hard time spotting these on a first viewing (and sometimes a second and third!), but one that is extremely obvious thanks to a slow pan of the camera and what seems pause on it is a reference to the Tomorrowland attraction at Disneyland, which is actually a reference to the original submarine attraction.
On the whole I really enjoyed “Finding Dory”. The new characters were interesting and entertaining. While some of the film felt repetitive of the original it did deviate enough to make it stand on its own. If you were a fan of Finding Nemo you will most likely walk out of this film pleased with how they grew the cast and characters and you will enjoy your time under the sea again.