The Film (3/5)
It is rare that a sequel is truly a necessary experience. Usually a film is a singular narrative and visual experience that once complete might leave the viewer the desire to see more of what was in that film, but leave no need to pursue it. And yet year after year we are treated to endless amounts of sequels and remakes of films that were better left alone.
Pixar Animation Studios over the last 2 decades of their feature filmmaking have for a time been responsible for some of the finest original content in animated cinema. Their films have successfully bridged the gap from children's fare to films that everyone of every age wants to see. Early on they succumbed and made Toy Story 2, and that ended up being one of the finer sequels ever made. However, after that they made a long streak of great original animations.
One of those films was 2002's Finding Nemo, which will no doubt be remembered as one of the finest animated films of the 2000's. The film had a simple premise of a father fish traversing the ocean to find his missing son. The film was an utterly complete experience, very memorable, but also very very successful, and with success come sequels, and now 14 years later we have Finding Dory.
When making a sequel to Finding Nemo I guess it is very difficult to simply slap a 2 behind the title and call it a day. You simply can't have the titular fish get lost again, and expect the same sort of impact, so what do you do? It appears that Pixar has graduated the minor, but fun character of Dory (Ellen Degeneres) to star status, and used her character trait of short term memory loss to get her "lost", so we have another reason to "find" a missing character.
The story as such takes place one year after the events of Finding Nemo. Dory, Marlin, and Nemo are living happily in their reef. The characters are displaying much of the same traits as the earlier film, however, Dory's happiness brings her worry. She is afraid that her memory loss will cause her to get lost, and lose her newly found family. This causes her to have the desire to find her actual family, and learn about the past she left behind before we met her in Finding Nemo.
Now, you might see my lengthy introduction, and think I find the film bad. It is not. It just so happens it is made by Pixar, and even though the studio has a few lesser films to their credit these days, they are still one of the finest makers of family animation currently operating today, and thus I feel graded on a different scale. Finding Dory is therefore still a vastly entertaining film by the studio, it just feels like a lesser work compared to what came before. Also, it relies a lot on call backs to humor present in the first film as a quick wink and a nod.
The animation is predictably gorgeous. The voice cast from the original settle back into their roles perfectly. The characters new and old are fantastic, and fun, and the film is a pretty nice way to spend an evening with the family. I would just prefer Pixar get on with the new.
I doubt it's a shock that Pixar gets a perfect Blu-ray score, but the film was a tremendous 1:78:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer. Detail here is excellent, colors pop from the screen, and banding is nonexistent.
Audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track in English (optional subtitles are included). The track is excellent with dialogue and score coming through nicely.
Pixar has provided some short films, making of featurettes, and deleted scenes.
A fine, fun, but inconsequential sequel from the Pixar camp Finding Dory is a decent way to spend an evening wit a set of familiar characters. The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite excellent, and has a decent slate of extras. RECOMMENDED.