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Spoiler Free Review for Finding Dory

Title: Finding Dory

Date: 2016


Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane

Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell

Synopsis: Dory is a blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss. The one thing she can remember is that she somehow became separated from her parents as a child. With help from her friends Nemo and Marlin, Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them.

Review: It seems like Finding Dory has been in production forever. It was announced back in 2012 that there would be a sequel, and four years later we finally have it. It only makes sense that the sequel would feature Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, as the lead, because she was everyone’s favorite character from the first film. Ellen DeGeneres’ voice acting for Dory is one of the best voiceover performances ever. I cannot hear anyone else’s voice but hers coming out of that adorable blue tang fish. Marlin, voiced by Albert Brooks, is also back, a long with his son Nemo. They were the main characters in the previous film, but are sidelined in this film, because it is Dory’s movie. That is one thing I liked about this film is how the writers were aware that this was Dory’s movie, so it was ok to have Marlin and Nemo as supporting characters and focus entirely on Dory. It was great to dive into Dory’s backstory and find out more about her past. There are also some fantastic, new supporting characters that are featured in this film. The stand outs were Destiny the whale shark, Bailey the beluga whale, and Hank the octopus. Hank was by far my favorite new character. He is voiced by the great, Ed O’Neill, and his character is very unique where he can camouflage and can walk on land longer than normal fishes do. I learned a lot of things about octopuses just by watching this movie. Just like the previous film, children and maybe even adults learn a lot about different sea creatures by watching this. It is very educational at times, which is one of the great things about this movie. I did not know that octopuses have three hearts until after watching this movie. Hank was a great comedic partner with Dory, kind of like Marlin was in the previous film.

One thing that you can guarantee about watching a Pixar film, is it is gonna look beautiful. Finding Dory is no exception. The animation and effects are suburb, and I believe this film will be nominated for best animated film at the Academy Awards because of it. This film reminded me of Toy Story 3 in a way where it is located in a brand new setting, but it makes sense and is perfect for the characters. Where Toy Story 3′s setting was the day care, Finding Dory’s main setting is the Marine Life Institute. I am glad that this film’s main setting wasn’t the ocean again, because that is something that we have already seen from the previous film. The Marine Life Institute offered some clever humor, that made the film original.

Finding Nemo is one of the greatest films Pixar has ever given us. Finding Dory had big shoes to fill in order for it to compare to its predecessor. Unfortunately Finding Dory lacked the dynamics and emotional storytelling that made Finding Nemo so great. Dory was such a great character in the first film, and offered delightful humor throughout. Her short term memory loss was a perfect gadget that was used for comedy at just the right times. However, with Dory being the lead, we experience her disability a lot, and it comes off as just really depressing and tiring at times. This is why Dory is better as a supporting character than a lead. There are also some flaws in the storyline that I noticed, but won’t get into detail because some contain spoilers. Marlin and Nemo were pretty forgettable in the movie. Especially Nemo who was pretty irrelevant and useless through the entire movie. Nemo’s character could have been used better, and I’m not sure if it was because there was a different voice actor playing the character or not, but he didn’t do much  to the story at all. Even though I loved the location of The Marine Life Institute in the story, once they left that location, the story did lose it’s cleverness a little bit.

Finding Dory is a delightful tale, with clever humor and warm storytelling. There are some interesting new characters, and it is refreshing to find out more about Dory’s background. The voiceover performances are all great. It felt like a Pixar Film, but unfortunately did not compare with its predecessor. Finding Nemo is nearly perfect from beginning to end, but Finding Dory did drag on at times and wasn’t as heartfelt and funny. The musical score for Finding Nemo was so fantastic, but Finding Dory’s wasn’t as impactful as the other one. With all that said, Finding Dory should not be missed by anyone who is a fan of the first film, or any other Pixar films for that matter. It has heart, and an octopus who has three of them…Also the animated short at the beginning is very cute! My grade for this movie is:





  1. Kathy Bellavia

    Great review! Just curious, what grade would you give Finding Nemo?

    1. Brendan Bellavia

      Thanks! I would probably give Finding Nemo a 4.5 or 4.75. I think it is one of the best Pixar movies.


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