Finding Dory

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I’m not a fan of westerns. When Unforgiven came out, a friend told me after a racquetball game I had to see it. We went that night, and I was blown away. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t get “two thumbs up” from Siskel & Ebert, the two biggest critics in the country. Well, after it got nominated for nine Oscars they claimed to have gone back and watched it again, this time giving it thumbs up. One of them explained, “I had just gotten into a fight with my wife before the screening, so I wasn’t in the right mindset to watch it.” (or something along those lines). I found that hard to believe, as I think it would be cathartic to watch Clint Eastwood shoot up a bunch of people when I was in a bad mood. Besides, no matter what is going on in my life, good or bad, a movie is a place to escape. You’re taken away to that magical, fictional world they’re putting up on the 40 foot screen.

The reason I intro my review, on a movie that’s on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, is because I had an experience that might hamper my ability to review Finding Dory the proper way. You see, kids everywhere loved Finding Nemo. Heck, so did adults. I sure did. That means at the screening, there were a number of kids. That would be fine if they were well-behaved, but they weren’t. One child was running up and down the aisles, hitting people on the head. Another kid was running around the rows of seats. And a woman sitting two rows in front of me, had a kid that wouldn’t be quiet, and a baby that was 18-months-old. The baby kept crying and carrying on, and half the time I was looking at them, instead of the stunning visuals on screen.

Sure, the 3D looked beautiful. Occasionally I heard comedic genius Albert Brooks (back again for the sequel) have a few good lines.

Yet for the 10 minutes at a time that I could watch the movie undisturbed, I found Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) to be rather annoying. A little of that forgetful character goes a long way. As a side character in Finding Nemo, it was perfect. When that little blue fish tries to carry the film…not so much. And that’s a shame, because there were a few interesting side characters in this; a few lazy sea lions, a beluga whale with some jacked-up sonar, a near blind shark, and an octopus. Ed O’Neill is excellent as that voice (his Modern Family co-star Ty Burrell is good, too). In fact, all the voices work well (Eugene Levy, Diane Keaton, and Willem Dafoe, to name a few).

The last two animated movies I’ve seen I loved — Inside Out and Zootopia. I figured this sequel would be good, too. And as far as sequels go, you could do worse (did anybody see the dreadful Cars 2?). Yet this didn’t have the magic and heart of the first film; or at least the moments I could watch being undisturbed by rowdy kids (and save your letters telling me its a kids movie; if a kid is under 3-years-old, they’re too young for the movie theatre experience and they’ll only ruin it for everyone around them, or get other kids riled up).

Perhaps under different circumstances I would’ve given this a better review. I can only give it 2 stars out of 5.

Oh, and don’t miss the animated short “Piper” that starts things off. It’s beautifully animated, cute story about a sandpiper learning to hunt for clams on the beach.