HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Finding Dory
HTS Overall Score:93
Has it REALLY been 13 years since Pixar’s smash hit “Finding Nemo” hit the big screen? Wow, I had to look back and look at the date because I remember seeing the film while it was in theaters and thinking it was only 7 or 8 years back. Uggg. Time flies. Nobody realized 13 years ago that “Finding Nemo” would take off like it did and become one of the most beloved films in Pixar’s entire lineup. In fact I don’t really remember being wildly enthused about a movie about fish at all when it first came out. However, I DO remember the insane amount of toys, memorabilia and sheer word of mouth that “Nemo” created in a matter of a few short weeks of a theatrical run. Back then a sequel for a Pixar movie wasn’t really a bit thing (except for the “Toy Story” films), so most people never thought that we’d actually SEE a follow up movie. But with new sequels and spinoffs coming out each year, and even a sequel for “The Incredibles” in the works, it was only a matter of time before the creative team would bring back the orange and blue fishes for another go at success.
“Finding Dory” may be 13 years in the coming, but the plot actually picks up only 1 year after Nemo (Hayden Rolence) has been found and safely returned to the Reef to live with his father Marlin (Albert Brooks) and loveable (but forgetful) Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). Marlin is still the same over protective father he always was (although ever so slightly tempered) while Dory’s little flights of fancy and near nonexistent short term memory suddenly spur her into remember that SHE once had a family. After a few spoken words trigger a memory for her, Dory, Nemo and Marlin set out to the California coast to see if they can track down the Blue Tang’s birth parents.
Naturally things aren’t just that simple. The trio run across dangerous octopi, a few old turtle friends for transportation, and a run in with the California Marine Conversation center who accidentally picks up Dory for study. While inside the Institute Dory finds out that that THIS is where she was born and raised! The problem is that she has to filter out all of the other fish and marine life in order to FIND her parents. With the help of an escaped octopus named Frank (Ed O’Neil), who wants to escape the institute and go to a zoo where he can live in relative solitude, Dory searches and searches, meeting new and old friends alike in her quest to be reunited with her parents.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=83905[/img]While Dory is busy as a beaver on the inside of the conservation, Nemo and Marlin are doing their best to get in and “rescue” Dory after being picked up by the humans. Enlisting the help of a slightly “off” bird named Becky, and a pair of seals (played by Idris Elba and Dominic West) the two clown fish do their very best to try and get their friend back. Especially after Marlin almost ends up driving Dory away just before she’s picked up by the humans.
“Finding Dory” is lightly elegant and loves to play around with much of the tropes and jokes already created in “Finding Nemo”. In fact I would say that this is the films second biggest flaw as well. So much of the plot relies on knowledge of “Finding Nemo” that keeping up with much of the goings on sometimes feel like newbies would be lost. That’s not to say that the film can’t stand on its own. Far from it, but there’s just enough of the old in there that makes it feel extremely comfortable for those of us who have been waiting for 13 years, but also a little too much when it comes introducing new viewers to the film. The second problem is that the film just isn’t as fresh and exciting as the original. This time it’s DORY who’s off on the adventure instead of Nemo and while she is adorable and cute as the clueless blue Tang, she can also sometimes feel like a reverse Nemo at times. Something which keeps me from really getting overly excited about the film.
However, the good drastically outweighs the bad. Brooks and DeGeneres gleefully adopt their old roles and infuse a sense of excitement and joy into the film that is just palpable to the viewers. The addition of Idris Elba as a side character was pure comic gold, and Ed O’Neil is always good for a laugh. The real spark for the film doesn’t come till the third act though. When Dory finally reunites with her parents there is not a single dry eye to be had unless you’re utterly inhuman. Pixar has this magical ability to tug at your heart strings and tell a better emotional story than anyone else in just a few seconds (“Up” is still one of the sweetest love introductions ever put on film in my opinion).
Rated PG for mild thematic elements
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=83913[/img]If there’s anything that Pixar can do right almost 100% of the time it is perfect picture quality in their home video releases. “Finding Nemo” was a stunner on Blu-ray and “Finding Dory” follows in its footsteps with ease. As amazing as “Finding Nemo” was, digital animation has matured a bit more and has become even more realistic and detailed than ever before. The animation style is the same as its predecessor, but the amount of sheer detail and digital magic is jaw dropping. I’m a fanatic for good CGI animation and I was really looking for flaws here. There is a LOT of murky underwater sequences that tend to a look a bit green and hazy in the dark, but that is more imitating the seaweed filled water of the actual ocean shadows than anything. Banding is nonexistent (except for a few MINOR fluctuations in the dark with some strobing lights), and the detail is off the charts. Just watch the light shining and shifting off of Marlin and Nemo as they’re trying to get into the Marine Institute. Another big thing that animation has a problem with is water. One of my favorite films for naturally moving water is “The Croods”, but I have finally found a new winner with “Finding Dory”. There were times that you see the surface of the water and actually wonder if its digital or whether you’re staring at REAL water! Simply jaw dropping with brilliant colors and amazing detail all the way around. I hate to give perfect 5/5 ratings for video as that’s a high bar to set, but Pixar strikes once again.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=83921[/img]To match the perfect video is a nearly perfect 7.1 DTS-HD MA track to enjoy. In true Disney fashion there are actually several English options to choose from besides the 7.1 lossless audio track. There is a 5.1 mix in DTS-HD HR (almost lossless, but not quite) as well as a 2.0 Dolby Digital night listening track and a 5.1 Descriptive Audio mix as well. Each has their advantages, but I naturally like the 7.1 mix the best (I assume the 5.1 DTS-HD HR track is meant for people with dedicated 5.1 setups that have a problem folding in the 2 rear channels like my old Onkyo 605 did at times). Vocals are crisp and clear, anchored up front in the center channel, and the amazing sounds of the ocean and Marine Instituted flood in from all directions with the other 4 surround channels. You can actually hear the individual splashes of water splooshing over an aquarium wall on the left, or the scream of a pedestrian on the freeway behind you with incredible clarity. In fact, the track is just about perfect. The ONLY complaint I had was that the LFE was surprisingly mild. Especially considering how “Finding Nemo” is considered a reference disc for LFE content. That scene with Darla tapping the fish tank has been used by A/V geeks the world over to test their subs 25-35hz output for years and I was expecting something as visceral and aggressive as that. Instead the LFE tends to be more subtle, adding impact and weight to some of the escape sequences, but never getting into that “oh my goodness, I think my neighbor’s dog heard that 3 streets over!” territory.
• Theatrical Short: "Piper" – A hungry sandpiper hatchling ventures from her nest for the first time to dig for food by the shoreline. The only problem is that the food is buried beneath the sand where scary waves roll up onto the shore.
• Marine Life Interviews (All-New Mini Short) – Meet the inhabitants of the Marine Life Institute as they remember our favorite blue tang.
• The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar – Pixar's "Team Hank" unravels the challenges, frustrations, and rewards of bringing to life the studio's crankiest and most technically complicated character ever.
• What Were We Talking About? – This piece showcases the complex routes Dory's story took as the filmmakers worked to construct a comprehensive narrative involving a main character with short-term memory loss.
• Casual Carpool – What's it like to commute with the voices of Marlin, Charlie, Bailey and Hank? Join "Finding Dory" writer/director Andrew Stanton as he drives Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell and Ed O'Neill to work.
• Animation & Acting – How do you create a connection between a human audience and a fish? This behind-the-scenes look behind the curtain examines the process of constructing believable performances through a unique collaboration between the director, voice actors and animators.
• Creature Features – The cast of "Finding Dory" share cool facts about the creatures they voice in the film.
• Deep in the Kelp – Disney Channel's Jenna Ortega guides us on a research trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to show how far the "Finding Dory" crew went to make Dory's world feel real.
• Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer – "Finding Dory" character art director Jason Deamer talks about how he got to Pixar, how he draws the characters in the film, and how falling off a skateboard teaches you lessons you can use in art and life.
• Dory's Theme – A spirited discussion among the composer, music editor and director of "Finding Dory" about the musical elements that shape Dory's quirky and joyful theme.
• Rough Day on the Reef – Sometimes computers make mistakes. Here you'll see some of the funny, creepy and just plain bizarre footage the crew encountered while making "Finding Dory."
• Audio Commentary – Director Andrew Stanton, co-director Angus MacLane and producer Lindsey Collins deliver their personal perspective on "Finding Dory."
• Deleted Scenes (introduced by director Andrew Stanton)
• Losing Nemo – While watching the stingray migration, Dory starts to follow two fish that remind her of her parents, leaving Nemo all alone.
• Little Tension in Clown Town – In this alternate version of the film, Dory tries to "follow her fins" to her parents, but ends up in a strange place with even stranger fish fashion.
• Dory Dumped – In this early version of the story, Dory's parents had short-term memory loss as well.
• Sleep Swimming – Dory begins to talk and swim in her sleep, revealing what seem to be clues to her past.
• Meeting Hank – Wandering the Marine Life Institute's elaborate pipe system, Dory happens upon the abode of Hank the cranky octopus.
• The Pig – Frantically navigating the pipes of the Marine Life Institute in search of her parents, Dory crosses paths with a terrifying cleaning device.
• Starting Over – Director Andrew Stanton presents four different versions of the movie's opening scene to illustrate the filmmakers' search for the best way to introduce Dory's backstory and to connect this new film to "Finding Nemo."
• Tank Gang (Digital exclusive) – After a close encounter with a squid leaves them separated from Dory, Marlin and Nemo unexpectedly meet up with the Tank Gang from "Finding Nemo," who make it their mission to get to the Marine Life Institute … by any means necessary.
• Hidden Seacrets of Finding Dory (Digital exclusive) – Take a deep dive to catch secret Easter Eggs throughout the movie. And just like Hank, they're hidden in plain sight.
It’s hard to follow up with a sequel to a movie that has been as universally acclaimed as “Finding Nemo”. Pixar did it with “Toy Story 2”, but very rarely does a sequel rival its predecessor. “Finding Dory” follows that typical path of being inferior to the one that came before it, but Pixar doesn’t lets us down too much. The story is sweet and heartwarming, and the exuberant cast gives so much energy and life to the characters that you can’t help but love them. The audio and video are nothing short of Pixar perfection, and the extras on this 3 disc set are some of the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve become very jaded with how special features have been given the shaft in modern Blu-ray and DVD editions (special editions are no longer as “special” anymore), but this set is really worthy of being called a “Special Edition”. Highly Recommended.
Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O'Neil
Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Written by: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English DTS-HD HR 5.1, English DD 2.0 (and English DD 5.1 Descriptive Audio), Spanish, French DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 97 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 15th 2016
Buy Finding Dory On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Finding Dory 3D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
More about Mike