I’m a grown man who hasn’t seen most of the Pixar movies that people are obsessed with, but I was challenged to check ’em all out and share my thoughts. Join me as I watch ’em all one by one – see if I buy into the hype.
Movie No. 17: Finding Dory (2016)
Nemo’s dad after Dory gets snatched: “NOT AGAIN, NOT AGAIN”
Yep, that was me after realizing I had to watch another Pixar sequel. For every Toy Story 2 and 3, there’s a Monsters University or **shudder** Cars 2 to question my faith in humanity.
But at least I knew what I was getting into this time.
As I mentioned in my Finding Nemo review, Finding Dory is the second of the two Pixar films I saw in the theater; I took some of my mentees to check it out in 2016. I enjoyed it back then but it’s a different day. I’m now a Pixar Pro, playa, I’ve had the luxury of sitting through more than a dozen of these films so I can truly judge their greatness.
I didn’t expect this to hold up at all. Thankfully I was as wrong as Dory’s sense of direction.
Yeah, in theory, this is pretty much the same fish story as Nemo – fish runs off, gets snatched up and thrown in a fish tank by humans, fish makes friends with random sea creatures while poor old Nemo’s Dad comes to the rescue (BTW, he’s still the most responsible planet in the Pixar universe – he doesn’t let his kids vanish for days with closet monsters or T-Rexes). So yeah, it’s a rerun, but it’s a fun rerun.
A lot of that is, surprisingly, because of Dory. Unlike Cars 2, which forced the comedy sidekick Mater into a starring role and dumbed his IQ down to broccoli in the process, Dory instead was surrounded by great side characters to keep her from getting too aggravating.
The cast actually is more interesting than Nemo’s tank mates from the previous movie – the near-sighted shark and her beluga whale boyfriend, the barking seals, the rambling clam who got dumped (“scallops have eyes – they see into your soul and they break your heart!”) but the real star of this movie is Octopus Hank. Give me six more arms and the ability to camouflage and he’s just a stickier version of me. You’d never catch me drinking coffee though.
It’s MUD, people, you’re drinking mud!
Also, are people so distracted in this world that they can’t see an octopus pushing a baby carriage down the street with an amnesiac fish swimming in a sippy cup on top? Then later on they hijacked a truck! They’re the fishy Mickey and Mallory. Natural Born Swimmers.
Also, unlike Mater – who really is the Jar Jar Binks of Pixar – Dory has heart. I know she’s supposed to be funny, but she typically just makes me nervous and/or sad. Dory freaking out in the underwater pipes had me grabbing my inhaler. But while she doesn’t have a good memory, she has great instincts and street smarts, errr, sea smarts. She’s probably the most resourceful character in the movie. THANK YOU for not making her one long amnesia joke, Pixar.
Of course, this movie had its drawbacks. It’s a shameless rehash of its predecessor – a well done shameless rehash, but still. And I swear this movie had more flashbacks and cutaways than a season of Arrow on the CW. At least baby Dory was super cute – and that’s coming from a man who just compared himself to a grumpy octopus.
I know it’s probably sacrilege to you Bug’s Life-hating Pixar stans but Dory reuniting with her family might have been more touching than Nemo finding his dad. This was a fun story about reconnecting with lost love and how you don’t have to be blood to be family.
By the way, the kids annihilating the fish in the wading pool are proof that children are the true villains in this pixilated world. Let us never forget the Toy Story 3 day care scene, a tragic day in the PCU. That’s the Pixar Cinematic Universe. Feel free to keep that one.
4 stars out of 5
Toy Story 3
A Bug’s Life
Toy Story 2
The Good Dinosaur
Next time it’s … give me strength … Cars Episode III: Revenge of the Shift. Pray for my sanity.