What's on Tap

What's on Tap

'Finding Dory' merely good

Posted June 16, 2016

"Finding Dory," a 13-years-later sequel to "Finding Nemo," opens in theaters on June 17. (Deseret Photo)

If someone asked me to name the easiest job in Hollywood, I would guess it was something in the marketing department at Pixar. Every one of their movies makes money and lots of it!

If someone asked me to name the toughest job in Hollywood, I would guess it was any creative position at Pixar. This is a company that has set the bar high over and over again. It’s a level of quality that is tough to maintain and even tougher to exceed.

I lead off this week’s review in this way to show you how hard it is to helm a movie like "Finding Dory," the sequel to one of Pixar’s three most beloved movies, "Finding Nemo." "Finding Dory" is not a bad movie. Far from it, in fact. It’s a good movie, and for Pixar fans, sometimes good just doesn’t cut it. Finding Dory at Marbles Kids Museum's IMAX Win! Tickets to 'Finding Dory," Marbles

The story of "Finding Dory" picks up one year after the events of "Finding Nemo." The titular blue tang, voiced by Ellen Degeneres, suddenly remembers that she has a family in California. She convinces Nemo and Marlin to go across the Pacific Ocean to find them.

It turns out Dory is from a marine life institute in the northern part of the state. She manages to get inside with the help of two sea lions voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West. They may be the best new additions to the Nemo-verse.

Once inside Dory befriends an octopus voiced by Ed O’Neil, a whale shark voiced by Kaitlyn Olsen and a beluga whale voiced by Ty Burrell. All of the characters are welcome additions to Dory’s story and mixed with the flashbacks to baby Dory (squeeeeeee! More on this in a minute.) help to move Dory past a one-joke character into a emotional being.

Again, the movie is good. It’s just that good is all "Finding Dory" is. I’m not complaining that Pixar failed to do it’s job here. It’s just that "Finding Dory" isn’t one of the studio’s masterpieces on par with "Up" or "Wall-E" or "The Incredibles".

It is similar in that way to "The Good Dinosaur" – a decent story that looked good but wasn’t special in anyway. This is what a slump looks like in the Pixar world. And to be fair to Pixar, their slump is what most studios (animated and live action) aspire to.

Alright, let’s talk about the new characters we’re introduced to in the movie, because the sharks from "Finding Nemo" are completely absent. The sea turtles make a less than five minute appearance. You’ve gotta fill that space somehow.

I already told you about the two main sea lions. There’s a third one named Gerald that may be one of my favorite Pixar characters of the last decade. The same could be said for Becky, a loon that has clearly seen better days. Neither of them speak, but are undeniably charming.

Then there’s baby Dory. Holy crap! Here, until now, was the power ranking of adorable Pixar characters. Your list may be different, but I will not be swayed or hear your arguments that my list is wrong.

  1. Russell from "Up"
  2. Doug from "Up"
  3. Boo from "Monsters Inc."
  4. Pearl from "Finding Nemo"
  5. Jack Jack from "The Incredibles"

Well, movie over Jack Jack. Make some room everyone else, because good Lord is Baby Dory adorable! If the merchandising wizards at Disney turn this character into a stuffed animal, I will buy three of them just to ensure I never have to share mine with my kids.

"Finding Dory" is a very good movie, and given what else has come out lately under the guise of being family entertainment, you could do a whole lot worse. Disney has done such an amazing job in the animated film business for decades that sometimes when the company or one of its many subsidiaries releases something that isn’t great but merely good, it gets judged too harshly.

I fully admit that is what is happening here. I don’t feel like I need to see "Finding Dory" again, but I am not going to object if someone asks me if I want to.


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