Movie Review: Pixar Animation Studios' Finding Dory - #HaveYouSeenHer

Finding Dory
Release Date: June 17th 2016
Director: Andrew Stanton
Writers: Andrew Stanton (screenplay/story), Victoria Strouse (story), Bob Peterson (story)
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres (Dory), Albert Brooks (Marlin), Ed O'Neill (Hank), Hayden Rolence (Nemo), Bob Peterson (Mr. Ray)
Genres: Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Family
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Official Socials: Website | Facebook | Twitter | IMDb
“Finding Dory” reunites the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way. The all-new big-screen adventure dives into theaters in 2016, taking moviegoers back to the extraordinary underwater world from the original film.

It is hard to believe that it has been thirteen years since Finding Nemo swam across the big screen (and the ocean), but it has. Finding Nemo is the first movie my daughter saw on the big screen.  She was a baby, but I wanted to see it, and she slept through most of it.  She slept because she was a baby and the pretty blue water on-screen knocked her out, not because of the movie quality.  Finding Nemo was, of course, great.  It has become one of my family’s favorite films.  Thirteen years later, my whole family dove back into the sea to experience Finding Dory, and I am glad that we did.

From start to finish, Finding Dory is a delight.  The original gang is back.  Dory, Marlin and Nemo are voiced by the cast of the first film.  To the originals, the film adds new, equally lovable, characters in Destiny, Bailey and Hank.  Hank, voiced by Ed O’Neill, is a total ham and my favorite new character.  The film adds just the right amount of new characters to the originals.  The audience gets to know each of them, and they get to see what makes each of the characters special.

The new adventure is great.  Finding Dory does not stray too far from the original formula that made Finding Nemo so likeable, but it isn’t necessary for an enjoyable experience.  There are some parallels to the original adventure, but not so many that it feels like the old story is repeating itself.  The setting of Finding Dory lends itself well to the right amount of diversity. Those of us who have been waiting thirteen years will appreciate the similarities to the original story and everyone else will appreciate that the new story still plays as fresh.    

The theme of Finding Dory is universal. It is great for younger audiences and adults alike.  I think the theme will especially resonate with anyone who is living with adversity.  Everyone has something to work through. Every sea creature has something to work through, also. Ellen DeGeneres' voice-work is sublime in this regard. The audience can't help but feel the genuineness of Dory's troubles, and we are all on the edge of our seats until the resolution. 

It really is a great time. It looked beautiful on the big screen and even better in 3D.  I suggest splurging on all the bells and whistles for this one, Disney/Pixar never disappoints. Get your water wings ready. Finding Dory swims into theaters on June 17.

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