Friday, July 1, 2016

Movie Review: Disney-Pixar's Finding Dory

Opening weekend for any highly anticipated summer film is always busy. When it’s a Disney-Pixar film, you can guarantee families will come out in droves to catch a peek at the latest greatest animated film. Funnily enough, however, audiences have had just as many adults as kids attend the showings. Why? Well, aside from it being a Pixar film (they almost always appeal to audiences of all ages) it’s Dory that loveable forgetful blue fish voiced by Ellen Degeneres. When she first swam into our hearts back in 2003 no one imagined her backstory… but oh a story it is.

The film begins with a flashback to Dory’s childhood, she has suffered from Short Term Memory Loss her entire life it seems. In Finding Nemo, Dory says that it runs in her family – however that doesn’t seem to be true in Finding Dory. Her parents try very hard to teach their child little helps to hold on to her memories, but it proves futile when Little Dory is swept away from her family and is lost out in the open ocean.

She swims around looking for her family from childhood into maturity and that’s when she runs into Marlin. The rest of her past is documented in Finding Nemo. We find Dory happily settled into life in the Reef with Marlin and Nemo, when the topic turns to family and legacy and belonging. Dory doesn’t think she has memories of her family – her parents – but she begins having pieces of memories flash through and it’s both confusing and inspiring. Dory decides she must find out who she is and where she comes from.

I’ve seen a lot of reviews online warning that if you are a parent of a foster or adopted child that you should stay away from this film. I am not a parent, and I was not a child in need of a family, but I really didn’t see it as bad for that type of family. It may be with the way that the parents did not give Dory up, that she was just lost and they were waiting, and that can bring up some very difficult emotions, but I don’t think it’s a horrible adoption story. A lot of adoptions are open or otherwise positive to both the biological and adoptive families. I think, like any film, one should go into it knowing their child and what they can handle. If their adoption is a very emotionally confusing part of their life, maybe skip it and wait for the DVD. (But, then, I also did not agree that Tangled was a negative film for families of adoption, but I was told I was wrong then, too.)

I think more disturbing is the somewhat bullying of those that are “different” or “special needs” that was more blatant and kinda sat funny. There are two Seal Lions (both male however with the way they were animated, one should have been female, but I digress) hanging out on a rock. They’re just chillin’ pretty helpful to Nemo and Marlin, and then another Sea Lion swims up to get on the rock. They mention that Gerald has some special needs, and he definitely has a look about him that suggests he’s not “all there”, and the Sea Lions bark at him to get off the rock. They tease him, call him names… now I know this was supposed to be this movie’s version of the Sea Gulls in Finding Nemo (the Sea Lions shout “Get off! Get off! Get off!” and it sounds like the “barking” Sea Lions do), and it’s funny. But why did the one that they didn’t want on their rock have to be the one that was “different”? These two Sea Lions were part of the heroic conclusion. It shouldn’t have been praised.

And I’m not one of those that sees a bully around every corner or thinks that we need to make everything about bullying. I probably classify as a bully half the time. I’m just saying if it made ME come away with a weird feeling, I can’t be the only one to notice it and wonder if Pixar missed the mark a bit with that one.

The third issue that’s made its rounds around the internet that I’d like to address is the Lesbian Couple. Honestly, if there hadn’t been a big stink about it online and throughout certain circles, I’d have never thought that they were a couple. It was not a family – not that I noticed – it was a couple of girls/women at a Sea Life Center. If THAT is what makes them Gay, then I’ve had several “gay days” at the local Sea Life Center in Seward with my girls over the years. So if THAT is what is keeping you from this film – and not the fact that the main character Dory is voiced by a loud and proud Lesbian (who is extremely talented and one part of her life is not enough to suggest otherwise) – then get over it. It was blown WAY out of proportion by all sides.

What was more offensive or wrong about the film was how ridiculous a lot of it was. Some scenes were trying just a little too hard. I think a lot of it was they didn’t want to use the same jokes and plotline as last time, but that fell a little flat. Still, it was a solid Sequel and not the worst film Pixar has put out. I went in expecting to be extremely disappointed, but came away with those lovely Pixar emotions we’ve all come to expect (if you don’t cry for Baby Dory then I don’t know that we can be friends). I laughed so hard I cried in a couple of spots – just like when I first saw Finding Nemo.
Characters that just didn’t work, for me, were the whales. I honestly don’t know why either of them were really there. It was a little too far-fetched how they worked into the climax and conclusion. But that’s just me. I’m sure many more were in love with them. I was excited to see a Beluga, though, I have to admit.

If you haven’t gone to see it, when you go watch through the end of the credits. It’s probably one of the best scenes of the whole movie. I won’t give it away other than to say I was so excited to see the characters they used for that scene. Epic.

This movie deserves a view in the theaters – we saw it in the regular format, not 3D and it was enough. I will admit in 2003 I saw Finding Nemo four times in theaters, but that movie was THAT GOOD. It was a feast for the eyes and the heart. This film takes place mainly in a Sea Life Center and it just isn’t as colorful, bright, nor is it as much fun.

Have you seen the movie? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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