Movies

A Forgettable Sequel to Finding Nemo

Spoiler-Free Movie Review:

Finding Dory

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 stars

Intro

I watched this movie with my younger sisters recently, and found it to be a cute and fun movie. Although it was not phenomenal, I found it to be enjoyable and well-designed.

Background

Finding Dory was released in 2016. The movie won the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film. It stars Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, and Ty Burrell.

Finding Dory can be watched on Disney+.

Summary

The blue tang Dory, who struggles with short-term memory loss, seeks out her parents after several memories of them surface. Finding Dory occurs one year after the events of Finding Nemo.

Pros

  • Loveable, familiar characters
  • Introduces new characters that are just as fun
  • Beautiful animation
  • Creative use of animal features and abilities
  • Acknowledges problems with pollution and how animals have to adapt
  • Semi-educational for kids
  • Fitting yet simple music
  • References to first movie, Finding Nemo
  • References to other films

Cons

  • Watching the fish try to travel from water source to water source to try to reach their goal is exhausting
  • Similar concept to the first movie
  • Just not as good as the original
  • Sea lions acting all friendly toward fish for no apparent reason, even though they are predators

Review

Characters

The cuteness factor of the movie is augmented by the addition of scenes from Dory’s childhood. Learning Dory’s backstory and how she lost her family was a lot of fun. Her faulty memory explains why she never thought about her family during the events of Finding Nemo. Even as a child, Dory introduces herself by saying, “Hi. I’m Dory. I suffer from short-term remembory loss.” Her relationship with her parents is cute and wholesome.

Dory’s parents are sweet and do their best to look after her wellbeing. This is not enough to prevent young Dory from getting lost as a child, though. Over time, Dory forgets her memories of times with her parents, even though she does recall certain things such as the fact that they told her to “just keep swimming.” Near the beginning of the movie, these memories start coming back.

Hank is a sarcastic, pessimistic octopus with seven tentacles. All he wants is to live in captivity for the rest of his life, as this is what he is accustomed to. However, the policy of the Marine Life Institute where he lives is “Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Release.” At least at first, Hank is only interested in helping Dory for his own benefit.

Dory makes some new loveable friends, who are at the Marine Life Institute, one who is there for a head injury and the other for shortsightedness. They have unique personalities that make them a great addition to the team.

Animation

The animation in Finding Dory is vibrant and beautiful, filled with soft blues and bright colors. Whether underwater or on land, the style is attractive.

Educational

There are aspects of the movie that teach children facts about life. The issue of pollution is explored somewhat in the movie. Dory in the picture above has gotten caught in plastic rings, obviously due to human irresponsibility and carelessness. The movie also demonstrates how wildlife are forced to adapt to pollution and humans as they become part of their habitat. Little facts such as that the octopus has three hearts and that belugas use echolocation are sprinkled throughout.

Music

The music fits the theme of the movie, even if it is relatively simple. It isn’t music I would add to my Spotify playlist, but for the movie itself, it added to and supported the mood.

References

“A113” appears in the movie, as it does in most Pixar films. This time it shows up on a license plate.

The Pizza Planet truck appears twice in the movie, once underwater in a dilapidated state and once on the road.

Some of the visitors to the Marine Institute come from other Pixar Films such as Toy Story 3 and Inside Out.

There are also so many references to Finding Nemo, such as the Tank Gang appearing in the end credits.

Concept

The concept is very similar to the original movie, except that Dory and her parents are lost instead of Nemo. The movie simply isn’t as good as the original–it isn’t as creative, fun, or enjoyable, and relies on the first movie for familiarity with characters and ideas.

I like that in the end credits we get to see Hank hiding in different places, like a look-and-find.

Some predators in the movie don’t act like actual predators and are helpful. This is kind of similar to the first movie, but Finding Nemo did better at portraying animals still acting like actual predators.

It was clever to have a touch tank from the point of view of the animals rather than the kids.

Conclusion

This is a solid family movie, great for kids even if it may not be as good as Finding Nemo.

Rating System

If you interested in how I rate movies, check out my rating system.

Links

Movies

Soul: A Spirited Comedy and a Reminder of What Life’s All About

Soul | Disney Movies

Spoiler-Free Movie Review:

Soul

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Intro

I was not sure what to expect from this movie when I decided to watch it. The only thing I had heard about it was that it was a bit “odd.” I couldn’t have anticipated how touching and fascinating it would be.

Sure, it was a little strange, but that’s part of what gave it its charm. It was worth every minute!

Background

Soul was created by Pixar and is currently streaming on Disney+. It stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove, and Angela Bassett.

Pete Doctor, the director of Inside Out, developed the idea for Soul by considering what causes personalities and thinking about determinism.

Pixar settled on the idea of a musician for the main character after discarding the idea of a having his profession be scientist, offering the reason that that the musician’s life is just so “naturally pure” (1).

Summary

Soul Movie Review: Pixar Close to Its Best With Pre-Life Existential Romp

Soul is about a middle school band teacher by the name of Joe Gardner whose dreams are about to come true. Only before they do, he falls down an open manhole. His soul is then jettisoned into the afterlife, where he refuses to go to the Great Beyond and ends up in the Great Before instead.

The Great Before is where new souls get their personalities and prepare for life on Earth. Trying to blend in, he ends up becoming a mentor for a precocious soul called 22 who never wants to leave the Great Before. Life on Earth seems pointless and aggravating, in her opinion.

Joe soon realizes that if 22 gains her spark, she will receive a free pass to Earth. 22 agrees to give the pass to Joe if she finds her spark, because then she will never have to deal with life on Earth.

The movie follows their adventure to get Joe back in his body and a journey of self-discovery for 22.

Pros

  • Diversity
  • Brilliant animation
  • In-depth worldbuilding
    • Settings and backgrounds
    • Concept
  • Interesting characters
  • Superb character development
  • Comedic dialogue
  • Phenomenal music
  • Uplifting message

Cons

  • Black main character spends majority of movie in a different form

Review

Diversity

Soul: Jamie Foxx Explains Why The Barbershop Scenes Are Integral To The Film

Soul is one of the few Disney movies with an African-American protagonist, and Joe Gardner was also Pixar’s first African-American protagonist.

Additionally, one of the settings is a Black barbershop, which shows a wide array of hairstyles of young Black people.

To make sure they avoided stereotypes Pixar had twenty Black people provide their opinions in addition to Black members of the Pixar crew.

It is unfortunate that Joe Gardner spends most of the movie in a different form, similar to the way Tiana spent most of her time as a frog in The Princess and the Frog. While some of that was hard to avoid, since it was a movie based heavily on the experience of the soul, it might have been better to have Joe Gardner do more in his own body.

Animation

'Soul' trailer unveils Pixar's latest emotional animated ...

The animation was wonderful, even when the images, such as that of the Jerry’s, was simple.

Pixar focused especially on the texture of Black hair and the way that light shows differently on various tones of skin. (2)

Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding includes setting, but also the development of the concept and what makes the world tick.

The Great Before is perhaps the most interesting setting, with its array of soft colors, hordes of new souls, and assortment of Picasso-esque counselors all named Jerry.

The creation of the Great Before, where souls develop their personalities, was the most creative choice made in this movie.

The way the universe works in general, with Terry keeping track of the numbers of souls and the staircase leading to the Great Beyond, are pulled from more common ideas of what the afterlife would be like.

The mentorship program, where successful souls are paired with new souls to help them find their spark, was an interesting way to create a lot of humor, showing the way famous figures would react to young new souls.

Characters

Joe Gardner’s passion is music. He’s a middle school band teacher, but he wants to just be a jazz musician. He’s self-absorbed to the point of almost being completely unlikable, but he is not all bad. He’s also driven, determined, and talented.

22 is bored, cynical, and nonchalant. She is the 22nd soul to ever have existed, which shows just how long she has been unwilling to go to Earth. Despite her carefree attitude, 22 actually has deep-seated anxieties and feelings of self-doubt that she must grapple with throughout the movie. Her voice sounds like a “middle-aged White lady.”

Dialogue

The dialogue in this movie was witty and often comedic. Perhaps the best quotes came from those that mentored 22 in the past.

I have compassion for every soul…except you. I don’t like you.”

The Soul of Mother Teresa

The world doesn’t revolve around you, 22!”

The Soul of Copernicus

Stop talking! My unconscious mind hates you!”

The Soul of Carl Jung

Music

The music was wonderful, except the one part at the beginning with band class. That was intentionally awful. But other than that, it was a phenomenal supplement to the movies themes.

Message

The message is a profound consideration of what it truly is that makes life worth living, and that one’s passion can make a person lose sight of their purpose.

Conclusion

I would recommend this movie for both children and adults. If you enjoyed Inside Out, then Soul is likely to appeal to you. It is worth a subscription to Disney+ just to watch this movie.

Rating System

If you’re interested in how I rate movies, check out my rating system.

Recommended Links

  1. IMDB Trivia
  2. NY Times Article