New to Home Video: November 15th 2016
In the sequel to Finding Nemo, Dory has a memory of her parents and how she got separated from them as a kid. Dory panics, worries that her parents could still be looking for her and she wanders off, becoming separated from Martin and Nemo. Dory then meets an assortment of new sea creatures as she begins her journey to find her parents as she tries to remember clues from her past to find them with the help of her new friends. Martin and Nemo then set out to find Dory to help Dory find her parents and bring her home.
- New Characters - There are three specific new characters that I thought were great: Hank the octopus (Ed O'Neill), Destiny the whale shark (Kaitlin Olsen), and Bailey the beluga whale (Ty Burrell). Whenever a sequel introduces a handful of new characters, I can't help but worry that such characters will be generic and uninteresting characters. These three, however, were great. Each of the three have distinct personalities and flaws that serve the story well. In a movie that I think suffers slightly from sequelitis, the introduction of these characters felt natural and fresh. Oh, and kids will love them.
- Dory's Memory - Dory has short-term memory loss. This is not anything new to anyone who saw Finding Nemo. This movie takes it up a notch as it is the focal point and driving point of the entire movie. Some elements of it worked, other elements did not (see The Cons section). What I thought did work was the way Dory had to uncover fragments of her past on her journey to find her parents. As Dory would get closer and closer she would see things that she remembers and would cause flashbacks. This kept me engaged to where she was and gave a feeling of "we are getting closer!" throughout the movie. A lot of movies fail when introducing flashbacks this movie felt natural as it was building off of a character detail (Dory's short-term memory loss) that was set up in a previous movie.
- Aquarium - There is an aquarium scene in this movie that I will be as vague as possible to avoid spoilers. The movie shows a certain element of an aquarium from the perspective of the marine life. This scene was a lot of fun and reminded me of the kitchen scene in Sausage Party. The scene will not blow your mind but it is a lot of fun in the moment. I'm not going to say anything else about it.
- Martin & Nemo - These two characters really did not need to be in the movie, at least not as much as they were. The focal point of this movie was not about finding Dory, it was about Dory finding her parents. It felt to me like Martin and Nemo were squeezed into the movie to justify the movie title. I didn't hate seeing these characters it just felt like filler. The real interest in the movie came from Doey's fun-filled adventure, and I think the movie didn't need to show Martin and Nemo following in Dory's footsteps...or...fin-strokes?
- Dory's Memory - This was a conflicting aspect of the movie for me because in some moments I thought Dory's memory worked really well. It was a natural driving point for flashbacks and revealing clues. On the other hand it got pretty redundant in other parts of the movie. "Who are you?", "What was I saying?", etc. These are the kinds of questions that infest this movie. I get they are trying to be consistent with saying that Dory has short-term memory loss but, when it is such a driving point in the storyline already, it doesn't need to happen so frequently in filler scenes.
- Sequel-itis- Finding Dory suffers slightly from sequel-itis. It tries too hard to be like the original while it doesn't have to be. It reintroduces us to this world with essentially the exact same storyline. They introduce some great new characters but it felt like the same movie. This may not be a bad thing to some viewers and it wasn't a huge Con for me, I was just hoping for something special with this movie after how great the first one was. Instead we got a very predictable sequel that hits all the same notes that a lot of generic sequels do.
Finding Dory suffers from some of the same issues as so many sequels have done in the past, but it delivers in some other ways. Some of the new characters were a lot of fun, they were creative and they were entertaining. Dory's memory is used very effectively to give the audience flashbacks and insight into Dory's past but in other moments, the memory loss seems redundant.
Overall I think Finding Dory was a fun and satisfying movie. It isn't perfect but gives a long awaited reunion to the amazing Finding Nemo world. This movie is fun for both adults and kids, but probably more so for kids. So if you have kids then I absolutely recommend getting this movie to add to your home video collection.