NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are. THIS WEEK: A very long-awaited (13 years!) sequel to Pixar’s brilliant FINDING NEMO reunites the same gang of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks), Nemo (Hayden Rolence) as well as some other older and new faces as we get to know Dory as a child, her parents, how they separated and her quest to find them.
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse. Directed by Andrew (FINDING NEMO) Stanton.
As with all Pixar flicks, the animation, characterization and (especially) backgrounds/scenery are top notch. The water, rocks, coral, flora and such are so real in places you’d think it was simply filmed from nature. (Same for the opening short, PIPER. The movements of the birds are scary-spot-on, as are the subtleties of the waves and sand.) It’s just sad that at this point, viewers tend to take this stuff for granted and don’t even notice anymore.
Old favorites like Crush show up for a bit, but the new characters like a seven-armed Octopus (Ed O’Neil), sea lions (Idris Elba and Dominic West) and whales (Kaitlin Olsen and Ty Burrell) steal the show.
Otters, otters, otters! Sea otters are the cutest sea creatures ever, and the filmmakers take full advantage of it in a couple great scenes. (Two words: Cuddle party!)
Through several flashbacks, we meet Dory’s parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and learn more about her short-term memory issues that apparently were there from birth. (MIKE: You mean congenital.) Eww! It has nothing to do with her genitals, you sick perv! (MIKE: *sigh* Never mind.)
Anyway, tiny toddler Dory is adorable (though her eyes are so big for her body, some may think it over-the-top or a bit creepy).
Good plot and story. I was concerned about it being too similar to FINDING NEMO, and though it’s still a “family quest” film, there’s enough differences to build some suspense and keep you interested. In fact, there are two or three good twists and turns I didn’t expect.
Some definite guffaw-out-loud moments and gags. My favorites are the touch pool and the sea lions, along with their “off-looking” pal Gerald (who actually resembles one of the Penguins Of Madagascar).
There are some “easter eggs” in the background now and then, but it’s tough to notice sometimes.
For the family types, there are nice Sesame-Street moments of educational stuff, ranging from ocean life and its care to believing in yourself and the unconditional love and bond of family. (If you can say that last part out loud without gagging or giggling, you’ll be okay.)
Nice wrap-up at the end, cool background animation during the credits (watch the sides for characters) and a nice “blast-from-the-past” surprise bit after all the end titles.
Did I mention the otters? Dang, I want one.
Some of the past characters suffered: Crush’s appearance is a short cameo (which is okay with me as his speech can get annoying), and no sharks this time.
For the PIPER short, the emphasis seemed more on the technical aspects than the story. It was cute and sweet, but not genuinely funny like the old KNICK-KNACK or MIKE’S NEW CAR, and not as emotional as LAVA or THE PRESENT. (I prefer the comedy, but it’s easier to make people cry.)
Speaking whale got on my nerves a bit. (I’d hate to pick up a chick that talked like that in bed.) But most thought it was funny.
Adults may have to suspend some disbelief in a few scenes (especially what some animals are capable of) but the kid in you (and your real kids if you have any) won’t mind.
If you’re super-PC regarding mental illness (memory loss or personality disorders) or if you think the ocean is good for nothing more than a filet-o-fish and oil-rig waste, this probably ain’t for you.
None of the otters talked. Would have been a cool character addition.
I bought the two-disc NEMO DVD and dug all the extras, so if they give this the same treatment, you’ll want to have a copy for all the behind-the-scenes and other stuff. Even if not, you should see this in the theater where you can really appreciate the awesome animation and scale of everything. Pixar finally made up for the disappointing INSIDE OUT, although the sad thing is that the idiot critics (and Oscar committee) probably won’t give this the same respect because it doesn’t deal with teenage girl angst. But this one’s a lot funnier and just plain better!
P.S.: How about buying your kid some ORIGINAL ART of a Pixar character? Or a superhero, portrait or pinup for yourself? Pascale draws all that stuff, and real good ’n’ fast, too. Just ask Craig here.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the Marine Institute, sea life, aquariums worldwide or the mentally nutso. Bru-Hed has a newfound respect for sea-life and said he’ll only pee in parts of the ocean without talking fish.