Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Theatrical Review: Finding Dory

Date: Wednesday July 7 2016
Location: Pocono Movieplex
Time: 11:15am

Party: 2 (my sister & I)

Director: Andrew Stanton
Composer: Thomas Newman


Dory- Ellen DeGeneres
Marlin- Albert Brooks
Nemo- Hayden Rolance
Hank the Septopus- Ed O'Neil
Bailey the Beluga- Ty Burrell

Destiny the Whale Shark- Kaitlin Olson
Fluke the sea lion- Idris Elba
Dory's Pipe-pal Destiny the Whale Shark-
Janet- Diane Keaton
Charlie- Eugene Levy

 Duration: 103 minutes (+3 trailers)

Opening Remarks

I could make a habit of coming to the movies during the week. It's nice not having to search for parking spaces. Heck, even worrying about being late for the movie. This started at 11:15 and the theater didn't even open until a little after 11.
Five kids between the ages of 15 and 5 were already waiting out front when we showed up.
Noticed one small change as we were waiting... the ticket price went up by 50 cents... so for two people, that's an extra dollar... but someone who loves movies as much as me, that isn't a big deal.

The seven of us were the only ones in the theater for a while. Some people showed up later on, but I couldn't tell out many because they all sat behind us. Many of the laughs throughout the movie came from them- we all had a really good time.


Big surprise, all of them were animated.

Disney has its new "princess" movie- "Moana"- which I believe is about the daughter of a Hawaiian deity played by Dwayne Johnson.
The guy is really getting around and I really don't mind it. He's got a lot of charisma and he'll probably go on to become the most successful wrestler-to-actor career trajectory in the history of said trajectory. Can't wait for "Ballers" to come back to HBO in a few weeks.

There's a brand new one called "Storks"- playing around the myth that storks deliver babies and a teenage girl and a stork are on a mission to do just that... in a time when storks are no longer in the baby delivering business.

And of course, there's "The Secret Life of Pets"... and FINALLY, I think we have a storyline. I'd been saying for months that it looks cute from the trailers, but what is it about? You can get away with hours of cute animal videos, but not a whole movie- there needs to be a plot.

From what I can gather, the main dog, Max, has to deal with his owner getting a new dog. Worrying about being replaced and forgotten about. In fact, it's almost like "Toy Story" but with animals.
...whoa, doesn't sound nearly as original anymore, does it?
Basically, all of these animals know each other because they live in the city full of close-knit apartment complexes and with some dog parks. Max and his new "brother" wind up in the city and accidentally get taken by animal control and it's up to all the other animals to get them back.

Oh, and before the trailers, there were at least 9 commercials... so yeah...

The Short:

Almost forgot about this... my last theatrical Pixar movie was "Toy Story 3" so I forgot that they came from shorts.

It's called "Piper" and it's about a baby sandpiper [the birds on the shorelines with those little twiggy legs] that ventures from its nest for the first time.
All I will say: lots of laughs and get ready for cuteness overload.

The Main Event:

In case anyone's interested, I'll include the link for my "Finding Nemo" review. It was one of my favorite movies. #23 out 101 to be exact.

Right off the bat, Pixar is good at doing so many things and like with "Finding Nemo," they deliver on all those things.

1- they're good at making you cry... or almost cry

Basically, we get the story of Dory's life up until the point she bumps into Marlin at the beginning of "Finding Nemo." It's nice how they brought everything full circle.
We see her with her parents and how she tries to find them when they get separated. I swear, there was one point where I almost lost it. Baby Dory is so cute and it's hard to see her so sad.
In the future when I see this movie again, they'll probably get me :P just not this.

2- you're guaranteed a happy ending... and chances are you'll cry over that too

Sure, how everything ties together at the end is a little too convenient (biology, withstanding), but after going through so much with Dory, it's so nice to finally get that point.
And yeah, almost cried again :P

Okay, enough about that

3- [maybe the most important one] you'll get to meet characters that, even with short-term memory loss, you'll never forget

"Nemo" had so many great characters from Bruce and the sharks to Crush the 150-year old sea turtle to Nemo's tank gang and Nigel the Pelican.
And I had said that Dory was my favorite.

We get another crop of great characters with the perfect people behind their voices.
You'd almost think that Pixar was dipping into the talent pool of Disney-owned ABC or the casting director was a fan of "Modern Family" because they recruited two people from the show.

We have Bailey, a beluga who has issues echolocating, played by Ty Burrel. Aka Phil Dunphy. Aka (at least in my book) the guy who had a part-time job of insulting oranges. [I believe it was Minute Maid- and he always spent those ads saying how much better orange juice is than the fruit itself- and the oranges show every now and then that they have feelings too].
Yeah, Bailey was kind of a dork, but who better to play him, right?

One of the scene-stealers from the movie, EASILY, is Hank, the septopus octopus (he's missing an arm, so he can't really be an octopus).
But there's also Becky the loon and Gerald the sea lion. Both are of few words, but they generated a lot of the laughs in the theater.

The Story:

This wasn't referred back to in the movie, but I remember in Dory's first scene in "Nemo" she said how short-term memory loss runs in her family ("At least I think it does. Hmm... where are they?").
Whether or not that line was planted on purpose or it was a random comment to say about her memory issues, I'm not sure. But it's another nice way to tie the two movies together.

While hanging with Nemo on a school field trip, Dory suddenly remembers that she had a family and had been looking for them.
And of course Marlin and Nemo come along for the ride.
The way they get separated is almost like what happening in "Nemo"- except Dory wandered off, completely forgetting what Marlin said about being best at forgetting things. But unlike with P. Sherman, Dory's life was kinda saved by the humans that pick her up. (She'd picked up one of those plastic rings for 6-packs- and that likely would have become a problem).

In Quarantine, she meets Hank, who wants to take her place on a van heading to an aquarium in Cleveland. As a character, he defines curmudgeon and rather than being free in the ocean, he wants to spend his life alone in captivity.
And like with Marlin in "Nemo," he lightens up over time and "falls in love" with Dory the way Marlin, Nemo and the viewing audience has.
He also has a really cool camouflage ability that he uses throughout the movie to get Dory where she needs to go.

At one point, she also gets reacquainted with an old friend. Destiny the Whale Shark and her used to talk to each other through the pipes, hence the name "Pipe-pals." Destiny is a little near-sighted (well, whale sharks do have tiny eyes... and now that I think about it, Pixar got it wrong... whale sharks don't eat fish, they eat plankton... Dory got to Destiny's tank via a bucket full of dead fish).
Beyond this, I really don't want to say too much. This one is of those movies meant to be completely immersed in. A reason why we go to the movies and ess-ka-pay from life for a while.
The movie overall is very funny (lots of laugh-out-loud moments), has a lot of heart, and there's also a lot of action. More suspense than "Nemo" had. But I can't help but be in disbelief of the fact Hank was able to transport Dory in practically every type of container that holds water. Or that Dory could linger in the same type of seawater as the other characters without being affected by the differences in temperature.

Is it better than "Nemo"? I really don't know. Both have their strengths. Was it worth all the years Ellen practically begged for this movie to be made? Actually, yeah, it was worth it. I'd still put "Finding Dory" above "Monster's Inc." and "Cars."
"Wall-E" and the "Toy Story" franchise... maybe not.

And before I forget (the way I did Ty Burrell's name when I was putting the cast list together), watch through the credits. Not just for Sia's song "Unforgettable" but also for one final scene.

Grade: A


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