I was invited to a screening of Finding Dory last week and couldn’t wait to head to the theater a few days before the movie comes to theathers on June 17, 2016. Amazon affiliate links may be used in this post. This is a spoiler-free movie review! All thoughts are my own. All photos included in this post are courtesy of Disney.
I have loved Finding Nemo for years. Nemo was a staple in our house when my kids (now teens) were growing up. We were thrilled when we learned that Dory would finally have her own movie, since she really stole the show when Finding Nemo came out in 2003.
About Finding Dory
Just in case you haven’t already seen the trailers and heard the hype, here’s a short blurb about Finding Dory:
Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium.
In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.
Did I plan to lose my parents? No.
Did I plan to find Marlin? No.
Did you and I plan to meet?
Wait … did we?”
~ Dory to Hank in Finding Dory
Family is a key theme in Finding Dory. I loved that Finding Dory’s focus was on the importance of family (including the people who BECOME family as your own story develops). Even though Dory doesn’t remember her family, she knows deep down that she has one. But I love that she doesn’t forget or discount Nemo and Marlin, who have become her family through their adventures together.
“We learn when we first meet Dory that she can’t remember where she’s from,” says Director Andrew Stanton. “But she must have a family. Her confusion got a laugh when she said in the first film, ‘Where are they?’— but there’s a sad truth to that. I knew there was a story worth telling.”
I love the positive message in Finding Dory – the idea that we should “just keep swimming.” The value of pressing forward, in the face of trials and in spite of the unknown, is something that we all need to remember. Despite Dory’s obvious challenges (like her short term memory loss) she remains positive and upbeat and keeps reminding ALL of us to “just keep swimming.”
Is Finding Dory Appropriate for Kids?
In a word, yes. You won’t find any language or violence or off-color humor or references in Finding Dory. However, be warned that the two preschoolers that I saw the movie with jumped several times, and the 3-year-old cried at one point because the squid was a little too scary for him. You know your kids best and what they can handle – if they are easily scared, it might be better to wait until Dory is on DVD. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring kids, though. It’s a fun, uplifting story with characters they already know and love (plus a couple new friends to meet).
Should I See Finding Dory in Theaters…or Wait?
There is something special about seeing a movie on the big screen after waiting for SO long. If you’re a Nemo fan, then you’ve probably already got plans to see Finding Dory in theaters. Don’t change your plans. Pixar keeps improving their techniques, and my favorite thing about Finding Dory was the stellar animation (see the fun facts below).
However, I have to say that the Dory’s story didn’t WOW me as much as I thought it would. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but there seems to be something missing with Finding Dory. If this had been a random movie about a new character, maybe I would have felt differently. But something about the movie just left me feeling like I was missing a piece. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I see it again…because I do plan on seeing it with my family.
Fun Facts About Finding Dory…By the Numbers
- 289,240,840 key animation frames were created for the film. A key animation frame defines pivotal points of motion in a sequence.
- 25,118,559 likes on Facebook for Dory (the most of any Disney or Pixar character).
- 103,639 total storyboards were delivered to editorial (49,651 were delivered for “Toy Story 3”).
- 26,705 individual pieces of coral were placed in six sets by the sets dressing team.
- 16,091 fish are swimming in the Open Ocean exhibit at the Marine Life Institute.
- 11,041 rigging prims were created just for Hank’s simulation (the average character requires around 20).
- 5,000 stingrays take part in the stingray migration.
- 1,108 fish are in quarantine at the Marine Life Institute.
- 746 visitors are hanging out at the Marine Life Institute.
- 350 suckers are found on Hank: 50 suckers on each of his seven arms.
- 319 tendrils were added to each sea anemone in the ocean.
- 118 weeks were required of the team of technical directors who were responsible for building and articulating Hank.
- 83 employees of the Marine Life Institute appear in the film.
- 51 minutes of the film include crowds characters (which is more than double that of an average Pixar film).
- 45 active stalks were added to each section of kelp in the underwater kelp forest outside of the Marine Life Institute.
- 17 is the date in June of 2016 that “Finding Dory” opens in U.S. theaters.
- 22 weeks were spent shading Hank to give him extra texture and color, as well as making it possible for him to camouflage himself. (An average
character takes less than eight weeks.)
- 13 years have passed since “Finding Nemo” opened.
- 4 Oscar® nominations went to “Finding Nemo.” The film won best animated feature—it was the first Pixar movie to win the award.
About Piper, a New Short from Pixar
Directed by Alan Barillaro and produced by Marc Sondheimer, “Piper,” the new short from Pixar Animation Studios, tells the story of a hungry sandpiper hatchling who ventures from her nest for the first time to dig for food by the shoreline. The only problem is, the food is buried beneath the sand where scary waves roll up onto the shore. “Piper” can be seen before Finding Dory in theaters.
I absolutely LOVED Piper. You’ve GOT to make it to the theater (with popcorn and drinks in hand) in time to see Piper before Finding Dory. There are no words (Piper is not a talking bird) – it’s all very realistic, with a cute, uplifting story.
Be sure to see Finding Dory AND Piper in theaters starting Friday, June 17!
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