Review: ‘Finding Dory’ Slightly Underwhelms But Remains Enjoyable

Why Didn’t ‘Finding Dory‘ Live Up To Its 13 Years Of Hype?

Having to follow up 2003’s ‘Finding Nemo‘ was undoubtably going to be tough. While I didn’t hate ‘Finding Dory‘ by any means, I can’t help to feel underwhelmed by the final product. Is it Disney fatigue as they have 9 films in 2016 alone? Maybe the magic of Nemo’s world has faded but I couldn’t fall in love with Dory’s solo outing.

Finding Dory

To further clarify, the film was still a fun adventure with familiar faces and tons of new ones. Returning for starring roles was Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and his father Marlin (Albert Brooks); they’ve now built a family with Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). Rounding out the starring cast are Hank (Ed O’Neil), an octopus with a missing tentacle & Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a whale shark who is Dory’s childhood friend.

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They embark on a story that is fairly simple. Everyone’s favorite forgetful fish Dory is on the search for her mother and father in order to complete her family. Along the way, it started to feel like a children’s version of 2000’s ‘Memento‘; we’d get clues during Dory’s adventure which would trigger vivid flashbacks.

With only minor tweaks to the original formula, Dory’s journey to find her parents feels almost too similar to the search for Nemo in 2003. In order to pad its short running time, we are dealt with another split search as Dory is searching for her parents while Nemo and Marlin search for Dory inside Monterey Marine Life Institute.

“Just Keep Swimming”

While ‘Finding Dory‘ followed the usual Disney/Pixar structure, the characters and visuals we saw along the way made up for any negative attributes.  Visually, the movie shined when the camera would pull back and we take in the gorgeous aquatic scenery that was created. Each set piece we traveled to was distinct and filled with specific sea creatures.

All the characters introduced at a plot destination really made the film flow while providing laughs. It has to be noted that the rock scene featured the sea lions & a bizarre looking bird named Becky is my personal favorite. Also, Sigourney Weaver playing herself as the voice who greets guest at the Marine Life Institute was genius. Every time her voice rang over the P.A., we knew Dory was in safe hands.

Another interesting note is the movie has no clear villain. Very rarely does a Disney film not provide a bad guy to challenge the heroes. Maybe nature was the bad guy in the film as that’s what kept Dory and her families apart.

Last but not least, the new Disney/Pixar short ‘Piper‘ that played before the film was stunning. Stripping away the cartoonish feeling of ‘Finding Dory‘, ‘Piper‘ was a far more realistic looking piece with just as much heart.

Are you seeing ‘Finding Dory‘ this weekend? Let me know in the comments below!

EJ Moreno
EJ Moreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at