Looking Good, Hollywood: Finding Dory (2016)

Pixar’s Finding Dory is a sweet film about believing in yourself and accepting your friends and family for who they are. Aw!

Finding Dory picks up not long after Finding Nemo. I think. I mean, it was 13 years ago. This time around forgetful Dory is our protagonist, as the title would suggest (duh!). She is looking for he parents, which is hard enough in the big old ocean. So much more so when you have short term memory problems. More than that, where her parents are is so beyond Dory’s reckoning that… well, it’s just triple bad. I could say more, but no spoilers. You’ll just have to trust me.

Why isn’t it called Finding Dory’s Parents? Well, it could be, but it’s less about Dory finding her parents and more about Dory finding herself.

The story takes us from Dory as a baby fish with her family, through how she got separated, growing up alone and lost, and finally through the big adventure to get back to them, with a little help from her friends, of course.

The real star of the film is the animation. I was continually blown away by how beautiful everything looked. The environments were so rich and lush. The water looked real: the way the light reflected off of it in the scenes above the water line, as well as the way the light rays passed through the water in the scenes below the water line. The kelp fields, the bits of stuff floating, the murky look when anyone peered out into the wide open ocean, it was all spectacular.

Marlin and Nemo are back, as well as a handful of other characters, but Hank, the septopus, is my favorite character. He lost a limb in a tragic “touching area” accident. As a result he’s a grouchy old codger who doesn’t like children. I can’t say I blame him. Even if he’d not lost a limb I can’t imagine all the handling as being anything short of a daily mangling. With Ed O’Neill as the voice old Hank had some palpable gravitas.

To connect him back to the animation, Hank is additionally interesting. Octopuses don’t have bones. This is significant where animation is concerned because a basic bone structure is used as a frame to build the body and then animate the character. From what I’ve read about the process of animating Hank, he was the hardest character any of the crew have ever worked on. It took something like two years to work out how to make him move. All their hard work paid off in spades. The result is so cool.

Finding Dory is definitely a movie to see on the big screen. I can’t stress how incredible everything looked. Plus it’s a sweet, funny story. So, go see it for the animation. Stay for the story.

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