Pixar Does it Again
It's hard to put into words just how good the guys at Pixar are at their jobs. Once again the master storytellers at the studio do what they do best: make a wonderful story featuring fantastic animation that the entire family can enjoy. While not perfect and by no means Toy Story 3, Finding Dory kept a smile on my face as we returned to the world of Finding Nemo from start to finish. At the end of the day that's all I can ask for, and that's exactly what Finding Dory delivered.
First off, the good. Now personally I'm not as big into animation as some are, so I don't feel like I can talk about the technical aspects very much, but from an aesthetic perspective? It seems like every year these Pixar films look better and better. This year what really got me was the huge color palette, as the studio did not hold back in making the ocean and the other environments our characters visited as colorful as they could. Of course as they do every year the voice acting here again is outstanding. The cast is huge, featuring legendary actors Eugene Levy and the one and only Diane Keaton in relatively small minor roles, and when that's the case you know you've got a good cast. And of course Ellen DeGeneres delivers yet again, but I guess that's to be expected. Finally, the writing. Long time Pixar big shot Andrew Stanton co-writes this script with total newcomer Victoria Strouse, (what a first film for her!) and it is easily the calling card of this film. I was engrossed from start to finish as this film screeched through its brisk 103 minute run time. But as I said before storytelling is what Pixar does best so this is to be expected. While The Good Dinosaur wasn't the greatest thing on the planet they have delivered between this and 2015's wonderful Inside Out. I would say Pixar has turned the corner and put their cold streak from 2011-2014 behind them, but next up is Cars 3 which is an unnecessary sequel to the most unpopular Pixar film ever made so we'll see if that actually holds up.
You might notice I'm trying to just graze the surface of this film, and that's because I believe Finding Dory really should be discovered on your own. It is a wonderful film, though it's by no means perfect. The final act got a little too ridiculous for me, and I even shook my head a few times. Most of the time what happens in the final act wouldn't bother me, but when it's Pixar I can get a little nit picky. I don't want to spoil anything, but those our age who have seen the film will know what point I'm talking about it's pretty obvious when this movie becomes "too much of a kids movie." I know I know that's what it's supposed to be but again Pixar's specialty is fun for the whole family so that's what I expect! It would be unreasonable of me to have this standards for any other animation studio but when Pixar's record is what it is, I can hold it in high regard. Finally, and again this can be construed as another "Pixar" complaint, I was never on the edge of my seat. The film went right where I expected it to go, which is a bit against the MO of a Pixar film. Again trying to be vague here because while this is a complaint I had it only detracted from the experience in a minor way. Ultimately this is a great Pixar film and just might be the best family film of the summer. Though that one we'll have to wait and see on because there is another big-budget kids movie coming out in a few weeks.....(starts jamming out to heavy metal music)
The Critique: While not perfect and not quite to the level of 2015's Inside Out, Finding Dory is a rush of early 2000's nostalgia featuring dazzling animation and a fantastic story.
The Recommendation: If you have a family and haven't taken them to see this yet.....you're wrong.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great.