Finding Dory is the Summer Adventure You Won't Forget
- Ryan Duncan
- 2016 17 Jun
Finding Dory has all the laughter and tears we've come to expect from a Pixar film. With beautiful animation, lovable characters, and a touching story about the bonds of family, this sequel is one of the best movies you'll see this summer. 4.5 out of 5
Want Another Take? Watch Our Video Review of Finding Dory
One year after the events of Finding Nemo, friendly-but-forgetful Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) suddenly remembers the whereabouts of her parents. Determined to find them, she, Marlin (Albert Brooks), and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) all make their way to the Marine Life Institute of California, a vast aquarium filled with all manner of ocean life. While there, Dory reunites with an old friend, Destiny the whale shark (Kaitlin Olsen), and gets help from a cranky octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill). Together, the group works to reunite Dory with her family, so long as she remembers to "just keep swimming."
Finding Nemo is considered one of Pixar’s greatest films, and many viewers (myself included) were skeptical that a sequel could live up to the expectations. Thankfully, Finding Dory is a worthy successor in almost every way. The animation in the film is truly breathtaking, offering sweeping visuals that will make viewers want to take up scuba diving. New characters, in particular the curmudgeonly Hank, ensure the story never grows dull, and there are plenty of laughs along the way. DeGeneres manages to bring a lot of heart to the role of Dory, transforming the character from comic-relief into a compelling and meaningful protagonist.
If you want to nitpick, you could say the film's pacing is off. While the original took time to set up the movie, Finding Dory jumps head-first into the narrative and just keeps going. The film's editing is a little bumpy at times, and the hijinks which ensue, even for a Pixar film, can stretch the imagination. Still, these are minor quibbles, as the film comes together quite brilliantly overall.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
Finding Dory is chiefly a film about family. The bond between parents and children is on full display throughout the movie, and more than once this reviewer teared up at the lengths characters went to be reunited with their loved ones. A small handful of subthemes permeate the film as well, mostly centered around respecting others' specific gifts and learning to embrace the uncertainty of life. Finding Dory also endorses the notion that mankind are stewards of God's creation, and should treat the ocean and its inhabitants with respect. As fish, the characters don't really bother with spiritual concerns, though it should be noted that in a throwaway joke Marlin tries to placate a carnivorous squid by offering to "worship you" and "build you a monument."
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG for action-adventure and intense situations.
- Language/Profanity: "Holy Neptune!”, and "Heck no!", but mostly clean.
- Sexuality/Nudity: Dory mistakenly thinks she's in a Sex Ed class and begins to talk about “Mommy and Daddy fish” before she's quickly interrupted (specifics are never mentioned); it is very lightly implied that two women are lesbians but you could literally miss the scene if you blink; a clam humorously talks about how he dated a mollusk; after spurting ink Dory tells Hank to "not be ashamed, everyone does it."
- Violence/Frightening Scenes: Dory is lost as a child; Dory and Co. are chased by a giant squid; Dory is caught in an undertow; Dory falls into a bucket of dead fish; a touch pool is jokingly depicted as a horror environment; Dory mistakenly believes her parents are dead; Hank recklessly drives a truck down the interstate and off a cliff; three fish eat one-another before spitting each other out.
Drugs/Alcohol: Hank drinks coffee.
The Bottom Line
Recommended For: Families, children, Pixar and Disney fans, those looking to laugh at a fun, summer movie.
Not Recommended For: Toddlers, those suffering from Aquaphobia.
Finding Dory, directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, opened in theaters June 17, 2016; available for home viewing November 15, 2016. It runs 100 minutes and stars Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Kaitlin Olsen, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, and Idris Elba. Watch the trailer for Finding Dory here.
Ryan Duncan is Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: June 17, 2016