Pixar movies are usually about more than they are about. A movie about a fish that gets lost? Whatever. A story about how that fish represents those who live with various disabilities, and about how parents cope with their children having disabilities? More interesting. So there is certainly a lot of value in a movie like Finding Dory. But its not exactly another Pixar masterpiece, and certainly not on the same tier as its predecessor.
Dory has a strong message and involves the same interesting characters as Finding Nemo, but it doesn’t feel quite as polished. I did enjoy the theme for the most part, especially the flashback where Dory sees her parents crying and worrying about her, but I don’t feel it was as infused into the whole film like previous Pixar efforts usually are. I also felt like the flashbacks she uses to initiate her journey and propel her forward at certain points was rather contrived and didn’t flow very naturally with the story. Oh she’s stuck. Time for a random flashback which will trigger something for her! I guess I don’t know how else they could do it, but I didn’t quite feel like this fit the theme. The way she overcame her disability was by her temporarily not having that disability?
Another reason I didn’t like Dory as much as Nemo was because while Dory works as a supporting character, she gets sort of fatiguing as a main character. Its nice that Marlin and Nemo as still a big part, but sometimes their dialogue doesn’t quite work. Some of the new characters were very enjoyable, like Hank the octopus (except for one aspect which I will get to), the crazy duck, and the seals. I didn’t really like Bailey though.
Another thing that bugged me, and I know I’m not alone because I’ve heard many other complaints about this, is how liberal they get with how the fish are able to move around on land. Hank being an octopus allows them to put Dory into coffee pots, bottles, whatever so that she can move round the park. Heck, there’s even a point where the octopus is driving a truck! Granted this is a cartoon but… it really feels like they are stretching the bounds of plausibility. Finding Nemo established certain rules about how real and how cartoony this world was supposed to be, and it was very clear that the sea creatures, while sentient, were still sea creatures, limited by their natures. That goes right out the window here.
Okay, now that all of that is out of my system, this i why this is still a worthwhile movie: it still has authentic emotion at its core. Everything with Dory and her parents genuinely works, and the scene where she follows the shells was really touching.
And the parts where the theme is felt made me appreciate this movie quite a bit. Oh, also its gorgeous, as you would expect.