Movie Review – ‘Finding Dory’

“Longtime Pixar fans will find this film easily the weakest story and biggest disappointment ever produced by the computer-generated movie giant.”

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF


Over the past twenty-one years, Pixar Animation Studios has amazed and enlightened audiences, producing 17 awe-inspiring feature films. After its initial launch of the mega-blockbuster and first-ever computer-animated classic “Toy Story” in 1996, movie goers around the world have been fascinated by the realism brought to the big-screen by this southern California business started and groomed by idea trailblazers George Lucas and Steve Jobs.

Everything Pixar has touched over the years—from the ginormous “Toy Story” trilogy, to the “Monsters Inc.” factory portfolio, to the lonely “WALL-E”—has become cinematic and Oscar gold. Never one to rest on her laurels, Pixar only seemed to get better and better with time. Coming off its best effort to date in last year’s thought-jarring “Inside Out”, Pixar has now released the sequel to one of the highest grossing movies ever (2003’s “Finding Nemo”). And expectations for “Finding Dory” were high. Way too high we find out.


Thirteen years after “Finding Nemo”, audiences find a watered down script and ocean-soaked plot in this follow-up fish story. The perfectly suited Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks are recast as the suffering short-term memory loss blue fish Dory, and the easy-going clownfish Marlin. Both compliment the spectacular computer-generated imagery we’ve all come to expect, and receive once again, from Pixar.

The biggest problem with “Finding Dory” is not in how it looks, but in how it sounds. Despite returning the film into the trusted hands of two-time Academy Award-winning writer and director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E”), this movie is both redundant and low energy.

“Finding Dory” self-sabotages with a bland script that spurns boredom from DeGeneres’ character having to constantly echo the film’s thin plot over and over again as she meets each new sidekick. Dory’s short-term memory loss creates repetitive dialogue and tests viewer patience for most of the 100-minute lost & found journey. It also halts–and then drowns–a handful of short, funny moments before any continuous laughter can be strung together over several scenes.

Longtime Pixar fans will find this film easily the weakest story and biggest disappointment ever produced by the computer-generated movie giant. Despite using the same successful formula and minds behind “Finding Nemo”, this movie lacks charisma, laughter and the customary bold step forward by Pixar. Instead, “Finding Dory” plays it safe. Too safe. We can only hope that audiences will have a short-term memory of this loss.

Grade: C

“Finding Dory” is rated PG for mild thematic elements.  Its running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

© 2016, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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