Let’s just dive right into this one. I only saw it once so if I happen to see it again, I may need to come in and do some edits but we’ll see. This review won’t be very long as it need to experienced on your own.
The cast. I wanted to make this separate because these are voice actors but Ellen and Albert Brooks reprise their roles as Dory and Marlin and they’re great. Nemo is played by a new actor as obviously that actor isn’t a child anymore, but that kid is amazing, sounds like the old actor, the new actors are so wonderful their characters are adorable. I loved how Ellen was able to play Dory with such emotion, we got a taste in Finding Nemo when Marlin wanted to leave her by herself but she’s allowed to truly use those emotions in this one.
The characters. Such rich characters! Such entertaining characters that it’s easy to get attached to them.
Dory is back and she has been living with Marlin and Nemo and has a new life with them but she feels an emptiness due to not remembering her family. She goes in search of them and goes on an adventure meeting new characters along the way, while trying to remember her parents.
Marlin and Nemo. They’re a package deal in this movie to me, as they go in search of Dory together. Their relationship is stronger here and it’s obvious that Nemo has matured quite a between the first and the second. It’s only been a year and Marlin still has some growing to do, and he treats Dory the same way he treats Nemo in the first movie. They’re adventures were great relationship building moments for the father/son duo.
Hank is the octopus in this movie and he’s probably my new favorite character because he was great, he was the complete opposite of Dory, almost like Marlin, but a bit more… brash? His interactions with Dory, were amazing. He just can’t believe her and her words, her choices and every time she speaks or says something, his eyes are just so confused. Octopi freak me out in general but this guy was cool, his ability to camouflage was used so well. He steals the movie for me.
Destiny and Bailey. Destiny is a whale, she’s nearsighted and so cute. She and Dory knew each other as children and the fact that she remembers her and tries to help her later, after years of not talking to her, was so adorable. Bailey is a beluga whale and he’s hilarious and his interactions with Destiny was some great comedic relief though there’s really no need for comedy as the movie is hilarious overall.
Dory’s parents. Oh man, the flashback scenes with her parents, so emotional. Due to Dory having short term memory loss, her parents were so loving, so encouraging… I couldn’t take it.
The emotion. Dory goes through so many emotions, wanting to find her parents, wanting to find her way back to her new family in Marlin and Nemo, the flashback scenes… they’re emotional that you get more attached to Dory then you did in the first. She’s comedic in the first but here, she is emotion and comedy and it’s balanced so well. There’s also scenes between Marlin and Nemo, not as emotional as they were in the first film but they’re still there that it builds on their relationship.
The Flashbacks. Baby Dory people. Baby Dory was just about the cutest thing in the world. The flashbacks drive the movie, as they drive Dory, as she continues to remember things about her family. Whether or not it sticks is the question. But we get to see more into Dory’s past as she wants to find her parents, we see how her parents themselves deal with her memory loss as well as trying to teach Dory how to deal with it as well. When she loses them, and tries to get back to them, while a baby… right in the feels. The flashbacks are the center of the story and the emotion.
The cameo. This is not common knowledge unless you care, but the original voice of Nemo is in the movie! He’s in it towards the end as a truck driver lol. I just love how Pixar pays attention to things like that to even allow these actors who were young in the first movie, to come back.
The reunion. That’s all.
The Fakeouts. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it’s kind of irritating. There are times where Dory thinks she’s found her parents, or where she thinks they’re there, or same thing with Marlin and Nemo and it happens more than once that’s it’s just like… quit playing with me!!
Becky and Gerald. Becky is a bird in the film and Gerald is a sea lion and I can’t help but to think they’re mentally handicapped or something because of the way they looked and how the other two sea lions talked to them. I mean… I don’t want to offend anyone but they really confused me. I mean, they were funny but it seemed so weird with their design.
The fate of the Blue Tangs. Now, I may have missed something but the fact that Dory was taken out of the water to be “rehabilitated” since she was found mixed up in some litter… why would they send her off to another city when they literally took her out of the ocean? Fix her and put her back.
The story. It’s literally the same story from the first one, I guess “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” right? Which to an extent is fine but at the same time, it’s not new and refreshing, it adds to my nostalgia and it’s still a good movie but it still was an already done story. Yes, Dory is trying to find her family, but so was Marlin. While it’s emotional on it’s own, it doesn’t hit the same feelings and notes the first one did. I think it might have been a bit more “new” had she had more than just her parents to find, maybe some siblings too… I don’t know but being as it was basically the first one again, something should have been done to make it original in it’s own right.
The contained location. In the first film, they traveled all over the ocean but the movie quickly makes its way to the designation that it speeds through the wonders of the ocean and then it’s just stuck in the “aquarium”. That allows for different types of creativity but at the same time, it prevents the story from growing to the heights it could have.
Overall, I adored Finding Dory and I think almost as good as Finding Nemo but I think the lack of a new story keeps it from being fresh and better. The new characters were cool, especially Hank, but they don’t measure up to Crush and Squirt, the sharks, the school of fish and the fish tank family. It’s emotionally grabbing and still rewarding but because we already saw it beforehand, it doesn’t resonate the same way. A lot of moments are repeated over and over and it keeps the momentum from springing forward but slows it down almost to the point of irritation. It feels like Toy Story 3, unnecessary sequel, not as good as the first two but still good. But that doesn’t keep me from loving it. The short at the beginning of the movie is also beautiful and just so cute.