In Brief: Finding Dory is so well-done and beautifully filmed that sometimes you forget the main characters aren’t real fish.
Finding Dory is a sequel 13-years in the making. They weren’t making it all that time, but considering the incredible detail pur into the swimming fish and other ocean denizens, one can imagine Finding Nemo’s follow-up taking that long.
Dory wants to find her parents. She — unexpectedly — starts remembering things about them and where they might be, and begs Marlin and Nemo to help her in the search. So they cross the ocean and end up at an aquarium after Dory remembers that’s where her parents reside.
One screw-up after another leads to Dory being captured by the aquarium staff and separated from her friends. She then befriends Hank, an escape artist octopus. Dory gets tagged to be sent to a Cleveland aquarium. Hank wants to go there rather than be sent back out into the cold, hard life of the ocean. To solve his problem he needs her tag and to solve hers she needs his memory.
However, an aquarium is a very big place and Hank has a heck of a time getting the forgetful Dory to focus. And with Dory, a lack of focus is often funny.
And in this case make that far-fetched funny.
Finding Nemo and WALL-E director Andrew Stanton and WALL-E and other Pixar and Disney projects animator Angus MacLane direct. And by the way, MacLane is a Portland, Oregon native. Anyway, the combination of real life and art is stunning. In addition to being quite funny, the movie is gorgeous.
Ellen DeGeneres reprises her critically acclaimed role as Dory’s voice. Albert Brooks swims in again as Marlin. Ed O’Neill is well-armed with wonderful dialogue as Hank. And a bunch of known actors — including the Disney/Pixar regular John Ratzenberger — are perfect for this part or that.
However, with near genius comedy timing, and armed a clever, gut-busting script from Stanton and two other writers, Ellen — in Oscar-worthy work — owns the movie from start to finish.
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Kaitlin Olson, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bill Hader, Signorney Weaver, Willem DaFoe, Allison Janney, Stephen Root, Austin Pendleton and John Ratzenberger
Rated: PG for mature themes. Ellen DeGeneres swims into Oscar-contending territory with a super sweet redo of her most famous movie character. Find Dory for yourself as soon as you can. Give it a 5 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.
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5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!