PIXAR MASTERPIECE/MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Finding Dory” is voiced by Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen [TV series], The Love Letter), Albert Brooks (Drive, Taxi Driver), Ed O’Neil (Wayne’s World, Married with Children [TV series]), Hayden Rolence (Whom I Fear [Short], Cicero in Winter [Short]), Kaitlyn Olsen (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia [TV series], The Heat), Ty Burrell (Modern Family [TV series], Mr. Peabody & Sherman ), Diane Keaton (The Godfather, Annie Hall), Eugene Levy (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind), Idris Elba (Prometheus, Thor), Dominic West (300, John Carter), Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Avatar), Bob Peterson (Up, Monsters Inc.), and John Ratzenberger (Cheers [TV series], What If…). It is directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, John Carter) and Angus MacLane (Burn-E [Short], Toy Story of Terror [TV short]), while Stanton also wrote it with Victoria Strouse (New Best Friend, Tinker Bell). When Dory (DeGeneres) suddenly remembers that she was taken away from her parents, she goes on a search for them, with the help of Marlin (Brooks) and Nemo (Rolence). This leads her to an aquarium, where she will rediscover her past and meet some new friends.
It’s been thirteen years since “Finding Nemo” came out. Thirteen years; that’s insane. Fans of the film have been waiting for over a decade to delve back into the ocean world, and now they finally can with “Finding Dory,” a movie that doesn’t live up to its predecessor and is quite a disappointment. Yes, you read that right: a disappointment. I don’t know what the critics were smoking when they reviewed this, but if you weren’t fond of the trailers to this film (like me), you most likely won’t find the flick all too good. Before you jump to any conclusions, don’t think that I hate this release. I actually thought it was okay. There are some entertaining aspects to it that I enjoyed and overall I had a good time at the theater. However, there is this constant feeling that creeps up on me, telling me that this movie isn’t good. Where would I get such an inclination? It’s probably because this story neither excites nor establishes itself as a brilliant, shining light in the movie industry. It’s simply a sequel that doesn’t make much of an impact on anything. It does have some fun moments, but outside of that, there isn’t much to offer here that will convince me that it should have been made. “Finding Nemo” felt like a tale that should be told once. It was a really good standalone feature that I fondly remember. Although “Finding Dory” offers a relatively bright idea, it fails to make itself bounce off the page, often retreating back to its old roots, which is what I feared the most. A ton of things feel all too similar in this because it is in fact structured the same way as “Finding Nemo,” from swimming with sea turtles to being whisked away by a bird to save someone you love. I expected more from this, mainly because it’s Pixar. I was hoping that they would try to create something fresh, but instead I was given a simple welcome back to the film that I saw back in 2003. Aside from the plot being all too similar to its predecessor, let’s look at its other issues before I dive into the pros. First, this story can become too unrealistic. I know, it’s an animated movie; I shouldn’t expect realism. But, “Finding Nemo” was well-grounded enough to where I could sit and not focus on the fact that the fish were talking. In “Finding Dory,” a lot of crazy, nonsensical stuff happens, including a septopus driving a car. It got to the point where I would laugh at how silly it became, and that isn’t a good thing. It was as if the writers couldn’t figure out a more grounded, simpler way to fill out this script. Something outrageous had to happen in order for our characters to get from point A to point B. The second problem with this plot is that Dory’s search for her parents doesn’t hold much weight. While in “Finding Nemo” both Marlin and Nemo had something to learn, there wasn’t much to take from Dory’s adventure in “Finding Dory,” other than the fact that she has short-term memory loss and we are supposed to feel sorry for her. This caused her search for her mom and dad to become lengthy and tiring towards its end as all I could do was sit and watch a blue tang fish try to remember something. Marlin and Nemo had a part, even though it was minor. I can tell that the writers wanted me to take a lesson from the two, but nothing really landed as I could predict the outcome of their issue right away and it wasn’t heavy or deep. Finally, the last thing I find wrong with the story would be found in nitpicks. There are minor things that I have issues with, but none of them are worth mentioning. Now, onto what I liked. The animation has to be the first thing to talk about. Pixar keeps getting better and better in the animating department with each new film, and “Finding Dory” was a sight to see. I loved seeing the fishes’ glistening bodies as they poked their heads out of the water, and the look of sea life has improved immensely since “Finding Nemo.” The characters and voice actors were good, and I found some of the new additions to be fun, my favorite being the sea lions, which were hilarious. There were quite a bit of things that I laughed at in this, as the comedy was good at times. Like I said before, the story also had some fun moments, and I will admit that Dory’s journey wasn’t all too awful. Although it can get tiresome, there were parts where her back story that can hit the mark. In the end, this movie offered some enjoyable moments. I’m sure that those who were obsessed with “Finding Nemo” will find comfort in watching this sequel, but for me it was a big let down. It’s not utter trash, nor Pixar’s worst effort. It’s just not what it’s cracked up to be. Hopefully we don’t receive a third one (“Finding Marlin” anyone?). FINAL SCORE: 69%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
Onto my review for Pixar’s new short film, “Piper.”
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “Piper” is a 2016 Pixar short film that is directed by Alan Barillaro. It follows a baby sandpiper as he tries to grab a bite to eat by the coastline, only to cower in fear when waves roll in.
While “Finding Dory” may have not faired greatly in my heart, Pixar’s new short film, “Piper,” does not fail to amaze. Terrific visuals plague the screen in this lovely adventure of a small bird overcoming his fear of the coastline. In fact, I will go as far as to say that this has better animation than “Finding Dory.” I mean, the sand was painstakingly realistic; to the point where I could see the individual grains. The water also looked real, with sea-foam gliding up and down the coast. The use of colors and textures in both the sky and the ground was beautiful, and it was like I was taking a vacation. So much of the landscape reminded me of my trips to South Carolina, so it definitely hits home in relating with my life. As for Piper’s story, it is too innocent to pass up. It’s such a sweet tale and I had a fun time watching it. There’s nothing really bad about it, besides the fact that it isn’t a deep or thought-provoking story. It is simply a small journey of a very small, baby bird who learns how to overcome his fears, and I am fine with that. FINAL SCORE: 91%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is a clip of the short: