Welcome back to Pixar Countdown Reviews, which we take a look at and review all seventeen theatrical Pixar films every Friday leading up to the release of Pixar’s Cars 3 this summer. Take a look back at some of our previous entries and stay tuned every Friday as we cover all of Pixar’s incredible films.
Despite what some say about Pixar’s non-Toy Story sequels, I think they are usually fantastic films and highly underrated. Finding Dory is no exception. While I’d hardly call it underrated, seeing as how it made over $1 billion in the worldwide box office and many people agree that it’s an amazing film, I’m here to agree completely with what people are saying about the film. Finding Dory is the perfect sequel to the equally amazing Finding Nemo.
What I find so creative about Finding Dory is how crafty the film is in its storytelling. We know just about as much as Dory does about her family and director Andrew Stanton was very careful in what details were revealed and when. The answers to where Dory’s family is progressively coming to us in very quick pieces of memories. Dory is using her memories as clues to unravel all the answers and when she knows something new, so do we. I find that to be a very unique and gripping way to tell a story where our main character suffers from short-term memory loss and it really raises the stakes, as well.
One thing that really stood out for me, however, was its amazing message about coping with your disabilities. Dory’s journey involves her learning to cope with her short-term memory loss, which is her disability that she often sees as an obstacle for her. As someone who also has had some trouble coping with his own little quirks, this message really resonated with me, and those who may have disabilities or things that they too have had trouble dealing with, or even parents of kids with disabilities will find this message to be very important and meaningful. Dory will be a character that will resonate with you as well and become an inspiration.
The film has a fantastic cast of characters. Dory is very relatable and lovable, but there is also a great cast of supporting characters as well. The standouts are hands down Hank the Septopus, Bailey the Beluga and Destiny the Whale Shark. And there’s even goofier and hilarious side characters as well, along with some returning characters! What is so amazing about the mentioned characters is that they each have their own disabilities that they need to learn to cope with. This really makes that theme about coping with disability all the more present in the film.
The animation is stunning, to say the least. Computer animation really has evolved since 2003, hasn’t it? They stick with the same art style of the original film and the lighting effects and set design are absolutely gorgeous. I’m glad it stayed true to the original film’s style, rather than doing something completely different. It only makes the film even more of a perfect companion piece. There are also plenty of hilarious sight gags, as is common with Pixar’s films.
The direction is amazing as well, capturing the film’s beauty with shots that are simply breathtaking to experience. Director Andrew Stanton returns with this film, but this time with co-director Angus MacLane and they both knock it out of the park. Andrew Stanton also wrote the screenplay, along with Victoria Strouse, and they managed to keep the clever humor of the original film intact with a bunch of quick and witty jokes, while still keeping the film very heartfelt and telling a beautiful story.
The score is beautiful and atmospheric. Thomas Newman returned to do this score and it keeps the same thematic and aquatic feel of Finding Nemo, while giving us something different and unique as well! It fits the tone of the film perfectly as it goes from playful and fun to tragic, intense, and dark to simply beautiful and emotional.
Finding Dory is a perfect example Pixar proving once again that sequels can be just as good as the original film. It doesn’t feel like a forced sequel and instead fits so well as a continuation of the story that it actually feels as if it was planned back when Finding Nemo was still in production! It’s a story that really needed to be told and serves as both a perfect companion piece to Finding Nemo and a phenomenal standalone film. Finding Dory is truly unforgettable.
Film Grade: A+