Friday, June 17, 2016

Finding Dory [2016]

MPAA (PG)  CNS/USCCB (A-1)  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review  

Finding Dory [2016] (codirected by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, screenplay by Andrew Stanton, story by Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse  and Bob Peterson, characters by Andrew Stanton) is the long awaited sequel to one of Pixar's most beloved movies, Finding Nemo [2003].  Does it meet expectations?  IMHO, emphatically yes!

While in recent years, Pixar has indeed proven that it can make thematically lackluster films (many would think here immediately of Cars 2 [2012] and Monsters University [2013]) and has certainly shown itself capable of pandering to corporate / consumerist interests (one thinks here of the Cars and even, if one is honest about it, the Toy Story franchises) the current film would certainly belong to the "upper tier" of Pixar's creations -- which would include (IMHO perhaps somewhat grudgingly) those Toy Story [1995-2010] films but also Finding Nemo [2003], Ratatouille [2007], Wall-E [2008], Up [2009] and most recently Inside Out [2015].

What would put the current film into that "upper tier"?  I believe it's because a number of Pixar's films are truly _more_ than "just entertainment."  They teach some very, very nice truths about the needs to find / value friends and to feel loved, valued and included.   As such, these upper tier films become useful tools to help form children's / people's consciences. 

Dory (introduced to us in Finding Nemo [2003] and voiced again by Ellen DeGeneres) is a lovely story about a fish "with some challenges" (notably, indeed famously "with memory retention," we see her blissfully almost immediately forget almost everything that's told her at any instant).  And yet it's clear that she's a fish who is loved by both her friends and (as we learn in this film) by her parents.  Anybody struggling with a physical and/or intellectual challenge like Dory or has a loved one struggling with such a challenge will certainly appreciate this film. 

As such this film, as with the best of Pixar's work, will certainly help _all children_ and even _all people_ appreciate the unique opportunities that those _among us_ with special needs offer to the larger community (to family, friends, neighbors, classmates, employers and coworkers) to honestly show who we are: Do we care about others in need, or do we choose to walk by?

To "make it home," Dory really needed to help of a large number of (initially) strangers. 

This becomes one heck of a THOUGHTFUL / THOUGHT-PROVOKING FILM.

Great job!

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