Staying through the entire credit roll (which I highly suggest you do) gave great insight into the amount of work and staff it takes to pull of a masterpiece like “Finding Dory.” The Pixar team is huge; given the high production values it’s easy to see why that would be necessary. They spent a few years putting this blockbuster together, resulting in a very large production babies list in the credits. Their hard work and countless hours spent has paid off.
This is a gorgeous film, with remarkable care taken to get each detail painstakingly realistic. Watching it on a 70″ screen, the 4K resolution would have betrayed any flaws. There are none. Technically, at least.
The story, however, is probably a little too convulsed. The movie is just a tad too long. We learn more about Dory, the unlikely heroine from “Finding Nemo” via a prologue and flashbacks. Her short-term memory problems started at birth and her parents, cautious as they were, couldn’t protect her completely. She wanders off and gets lost. However, her long-term memory starts to improve and she begins to remember that she has a family. Somewhere.
And she sets off to find them.
This is where the adventure begins. Marlin and Nemo are back, as are Crush and Squirt in a brief cameo. We meet new characters, like whale shark Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a simple-minded bird named Becky, and a seven-legged octopus named Hank. Hank is voiced by the wonderful Ed O’Neill, who’s charming old grump shtick (over the top on “Married with Children” and now perfected on “Modern Family”) is delightful. And thankfully he is able to live outside water, allowing for much of the action to take place on dry land.
The ups and downs we feel with Dory as she seeks her parents are roller-coaster-like. But it’s a roller coaster that goes on just a couple hills too many. There are unnecessary stressors and too unbelievable – even for an animated talking-animal film. Hank’s chameleon-quality is sometimes just a little too convenient. And there are just too many coincidences all the way around.
Ellen Degeneres, though, is a treasure. Her comedic yet vulnerable performance is award-worthy. With a character who’s affliction could border on annoying, Degeneres remains sympathetic and funny throughout. Her supporting cast does just that – supports – and allows her to shine in this star vehicle. And some of the slapstick, physical laughs had me laughing out loud.
“Finding Dory” is a very good movie. The themes of family, friendship, and adventure that Pixar perfected in “Finding Nemo” reprise. But unlike Nemo and Dory’s experience, sometimes you really can’t go home again. As sequels go, it’s fine. But I prefer the original.
Director(s): Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane Writer(s): Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse Notable Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy
Kirk Sheppard has been involved in professional wrestling since 2000. He has worked behind the scenes in multiple capacities as well as ring announcing, managing, refereeing, and having the occasional match. He can be seen every weekend appearing on live events for the Northern Wrestling Federation in the Greater Cincinnati area. Kirk is also a playwright, amateur magician, theme park enthusiast, musician, photographer, teacher, trainer, mentor, and counselor. His first full-length play was workshopped and produced last August in Newport, KY. Tweet him at @kirksheppard