Thursday, July 7, 2016
Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, a fish bowl blog in an ocean internet. I'm Dave-El and I couldn't be a fish because I dropped out of FINishing school.
Get it? FIN....as in fish fins....fins....
Is this thing on?
OK, on with the blog post.
In it's 2nd week of release, my family went to see Finding Dory. I'm not exactly sure why we didn't see it during it's opening weekend. Maybe because as much as Finding Nemo is a beloved film in our household, we weren't feeling an overwhelming desire to see its sequel. Still, a combination of high box office returns, nearly universal good reviews and distinct lack of anything better to do propelled us away from our Fortress of Ineptitude and towards a local movie theater.
Right from the get go, the film makers grab you with this:
Baby Dory, in all her adorable cuteness and forgetfulness. This sequence establishes Dory with her incredibly patient, life affirming parents. Even at a very young age, Dory has problems with short term memory loss but gosh darn it, she's trying her best to be better and remember what she can. But a brief moment of lost concentration results in Dory being swept away from her parents. And we follow Dory as ages into the voice of Ellen Degeneres, looking for help to....well, time has done quite a number on her already shaky memory. She not only forgotten her parents, she's forgotten that she has forgotten...if that makes sense. It's at this point that Dory meets a desperate Marlin in pursuit of his lost son Nemo and off she goes on that adventure.
Then a year later, Dory has a moment that jars a long distant and deeply buried memory. She remembers her parents! Dory is overcome with an overwhelming desire to find them and Marlin with Nemo in tow go out into the ocean to help Dory find her parents.
It's a this point you might think this is going to be a retread of Finding Nemo with our fishy friends bopping from one adventure to another until they get to their destination. But this expectation is quickly averted by a guest appearance from sea turtle Crush who quickly transports Dory, Marlin and Nemo to the sea side aquarium where Dory believes she will find her parents. Now the question is, how to get inside and find them?
For Dory, getting inside is easy when she gets scooped by an aquarium worker. Inside, Dory befriends a octopus named Hank. (Actually, Hank only has seven tentacles.) I say "befriend". Dory may think of Hank as a friend but Hank is only concerned with getting the tag from Dory that will send her to the aquarium in Cleveland. Seems Hank is due to be returned to the ocean and he doesn't want to go out there. He prefers the relative comfort and safety of Cleveland. Hank is the stand out in this movie, voiced with an irascible charm by Ed O'Neill (Married With Children, Modern Family).
Finding Dory proceeds with a light touch, it's comedy fueled by puns and slapstick while maintaining a just below the surface sense of emotional longing. Dory was comic relief to Marlin's desperate quest in Finding Nemo; here, Dory provides both the laughs and the pathos as she dives headlong into her quest to find her parents, working from only glimpses of long forgotten memories. Ellen Degeneres's voice work on Dory is on spot as always when it comes to comedy but she shows a remarkable depth as Dory struggles to remember her mother and father while she faces obstacles in her bid to be reunited with them.
Finding Dory seems a bit more directed to a younger audience than Finding Nemo. There's nothing in Dory that equates to the vicious deadly attack that Nemo opens with. There's one sea monster attack in Dory that is hardly as scary as the one from Nemo.
Still, like Finding Nemo, Finding Dory is not afraid of quiet moments, in certain cases going with little or no music. The moment when Dory finds herself cut off from every resource and help, presumably lost from her friends and her family forever, Dory works through what steps to take next with nothing more than her own hesitant voice and the burbling of the water around her to be heard.
I will say that Finding Dory does lose its way with a very over the top sequence with Hank the Octopus... driving a truck. I was perfectly fine with Hank's chameleon powers and his ability to move a baby stroller but come on! Driving a truck?
Yes, I'm looking for realism in a cartoon movie about talking fish.
By the way, I need to call out Sigourney Weaver for her voice work in Finding Dory in what has to be the role of lifetime. Sigourney Weaver provides the voice of... Sigourney Weaver.
All in all, Finding Dory is no Cars 2 trainwreck, far from it. I still think Finding Nemo remains the superior film but Dory is a worthy follow up that was a lot of fun and provided a closure we may not have realized we needed as we followed Dory on her amazing quest.
Oh, if you go to see Dory, do NOT be late. The Pixar short in front of this movie is just too darn cute and a visual treat. Piper is a young sea bird's first encounter with the ocean without the protection of his mother. It's a sweet and endearing film and perfect companion piece to Finding Dory.
On the subject of Finding Nemo, my regular irregular series The Pixar Project will return next week with a post looking back at our first encounter with Nemo, Marlin, Dory and the gang.
OK, that's that for today. Tomorrow, a post that brings us up to speed with what's up with my mother. Sorry, I might get a bit introspective.
After that, I've got not one but TWO Doctor Who posts coming up for Saturday AND Sunday.
Until next time, remember to be good to one another.
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