Finding Dory doesn’t arrive in theaters until next weekend, but a slew of press and critics have already seen the movie as they participate in press junkets with the cast and crew. Today reviews started hitting the web, and for the most part, it seems the follow-up to Finding Nemo is a worthy successor to the original undersea adventure, though it treads much of the same water. For many, it seems to be just as good as the original, inspiring some tears to roll, but there are a few who weren’t as impressed.
Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, the co-directors of “Finding Dory,” have made a beautiful, rambunctious, and fully felt sequel — a movie totally worth its salt water. It’s a film that spills over with laughs (most of them good, a few of them shticky) and tears (all of them earned), supporting characters who are meant to slay us (and mostly do) with their irascible sharp tongues, and dizzyingly extended flights of physical comedy. The images never stop dazzling us with their awesome, tactile sheen — their oceanic incandescence…In a summer of tepid and disappointing sequels, audiences from around the world will be grateful to encounter a sequel to a film as beloved as “Finding Nemo” that more than lives up to the first movie’s casually magical charms.
The Hollywood Reporter
Certainly there's enough goofy, boisterous comedy produced by all these energetic characters to keep kids amused. But central to the film's shortcomings is the fact that Dory's mental handicap makes her, at prolonged exposure, a one-note character. Her opening line is, “Hi, I'm Dory. I suffer from short-term memory loss,” and it's impossible to count, at one viewing, how many times she repeats that, or something very close to it, over the course of ninety minutes and change. In your spare time, you're left to assess the discrepancy between the inevitability (in a kids' film) of Dory finding her parents and the outrageous rational odds against a fish finding her fish parents halfway across the globe. In Finding Nemo, the long-shot chance of the little guy being reunited with his dad didn't seem ridiculous because Stanton juggled his ever-more extreme narrative dilemmas with brilliant skill. Plus, that film actually admitted the existence of tragedy at the beginning, something the new one never does.
Of course, there’s never any real doubt that Dory will find her way back into the loving embrace of her parents’ fins. Or that there will be laughs and stifled sniffles along the way. Still, one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises in a film with too few of them is just how resonant Dory will be for parents of kids with learning disabilities. To them, life can feel like a very lonely struggle where anxiety constantly reaches for you like a psychological undertow. If you squint hard enough, the film’s message to these parents is, You’re not alone. It takes an underwater village to raise a child (or a fish). Dory’s failing memory may be a handicap, but it’s also the key to her resilience. Is that an earth-shattering revelation? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, it’s hard to argue with.
Overall, this sounds like the best Pixar sequel outside of the Toy Story franchise, one that may help make up for the less impressive sequels that have followed their other original films. At the very least, Finding Dory seems to be just as good as the first, even if it feels a little too familiar at times. As expected, Pixar knows how to pull on your heartstrings, and they took a character that seemed like she could only be tolerated in small doses and made us love her even more.
We’ll find out soon enough when Finding Dory hits theaters on June 17.
Source: DSNY Digest
Banner Photo Credit: Disney•Pixar