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Finding Dory Review: My Childhood Revisited

Updated on February 17, 2017

Somewhere Beyond The Sea

14 years ago as a child, I watched Finding Nemo in theaters and was immediately captivated by it. The story of talking fish of every kind swimming harmoniously together drew me in. I remember the worrisome Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his adventurous son, Nemo (Hayden Rolence). The forgetful, charming Blue Tang, Dory(Ellen DeGeneres). The dangerous shark gang, the surfing turtles, the starfish, the pelicans, and the rest of the other interesting, flamboyant characters. No wonder when it later became available on DVD I couldn't get enough! However, now an adult, will it have the same appeal?

The Deep Blue Sea

To my joy, the 2016 summer blockbuster had already been put on Netflix. Upon watching, I was reminded of how good the opening credits for Pixar films were (seriously, who doesn't love the sound effects of the lamp). Anyhow, the film as expected looks ten times better than the first. Disney Pixar had gone above and beyond to modernize the Finding Nemo sequel so that it'll hold up to its other more recent films. The animation is clear, crisp, bright and more colorful than I remember. Since it's primarily a kids movie, kids need to be stimulated mentally not only by the story but also by the way it looks.

Destiny, the whale shark.
Destiny, the whale shark.

More than just friends...they are destiny.

The story of Finding Dory features Dory and her quest to find her parents. Through flashbacks of her family, we see Dory's past. Dory's parents are loving and tells her beforehand of her short term memory loss. In order to help her cope, they tell her those famous words we Finding Nemo vets are accustomed to hearing "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming." After viewing some of her past, we are shown how she first met up with Marlin and Nemo. To my surprise, there were also brief scenes featuring returning characters from Finding Nemo such as Crush and Mr. Ray. This is where the movie switches from a prequel to a sequel and follows the events of the previous film. Dory, Marlin, and Nemo are then thrust into this adventure where they help Dory find her parents. Where are they going? The Monterey Marine Life Institute.

On this adventure, we meet a brand new cast of characters that are just as entertaining and compelling as the characters from the first. Hank (Ed O'Neill), the octopus (well actually a septopus), is strategic and level-headed. His actions are crucial in helping Dory maneuver throughout the aquarium. He also unknowingly provides a lot of comic relief throughout the film. Next, is Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), the whale shark. Destiny is an old friend that Dory reconnects with in the institute. She is fun, energetic, and loveable when he struggles to navigate her way through the water. Bailey (Ty Burrell), the beluga whale, is Destiny's friend and the two have great chemistry. Their tit for tat and exchanges throughout the film are entertaining to say the least. The other characters such as the sea lions and Becky, the bird are pivotal to the story and add their own brand of sass and humor.

Dory and Mr. Ray.
Dory and Mr. Ray.

The visuals and sounds of Finding Dory are top notch and up to par with Disney Pixar standards. The water of the open ocean are crystal clear, the colors on the fish are radiant, and the realism of which the fish swim in the water was very palpable. The Foley produced for the film portrayed the realism of how water should sound. The music in the scenes whether it was tense or playful matched the scene perfectly. The original soundtrack is wonderful to listen to. Finally, the voice acting stands out because every fish that talks speaks in a very authentic fashion.

Bottom Line, Is the Magic Still There?

Well, yes to no surprise. The journey in this film is one of a bigger scale. Which is what I expect from a sequel. Dory and company travels from the open ocean, to a marine life institute, to the depths of a brightly filled open aquarium and finally to the open roads! I don't watch a lot of animated films anymore but with Finding Dory it is hard to ignore the charm that oozes out of it. I found myself laughing a lot since I'm better able to understand the setups of the jokes. The sea lions yelling at Gerald to "Get Off!" multiple times was hilarious. I couldn't help but be drawn into the small bits of a heist featuring Hank in the aquarium. The funny dynamic between Bailey and Destiny as they throw little insults at each other. Learning new and fun facts about sea animals. And the scariness of the aquarium touch pools from the angle of the animals in the water. The ending is filled with bliss for anyone who cares about animals and believes that no matter what they should not be held in captivity.

To conclude, Finding Dory is as good as the first one. If you loved Finding Nemo has a child then you will adore Finding Dory as an adult. This animated movie like the first one will remind you of how it felt to be a kid again engulfed in the vast embrace of the ocean.

You can catch Finding Dory on DVD/Blu-ray.


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