Cine Reviews: ‘Finding Dory’ (2016)

Finding Dory is the sequel to the 2003 hit animated classic Finding Nemo, and it is directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus McLane. The film features the voice talents of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba and Dominic West among many others.

Plot: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

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Finding Dory is worth the wait for fans of the original, mostly for being a wavy ride of humor and heart that never stops the fun and entertainment of which it soaks us into.  However, that is not to say that it is a completely strong sequel for there were so many factors that affected the true potential of its greatness. It starts out adorably wonderful, offering us a bit of its warmth that seems to prepare us for a torrent of emotions that is just about to pour in. As we get introduced to Dory’s parents, we could sense bits of the film coming out to pinch our hearts and wet our eyes immediately as that moment arrived. From what we would get to see from start to finish, this could easily be considered as one of its best sequences as it perfectly tells us Dory’s backstory, giving us excitement for the heartwarming adventure that is about to come. It works in the fullest effect considering our familiarity and sentimental attachment to this character that we have loved for years and based off of that, we could feel the film sending us to an ocean of feels-or does it, really?

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All of what Finding Dory wasn’t purified just as it gets dirtied by its preventable narrative flaws; most of which hurt the film in major ways that saw itself swimming to a a sea of filmic regularities that was related only to charming amusement and not so much more. Pixar’s absolute and innately beneficial application of depth and maturity in their films’ undertones got drowned out, but fortunately, it was still there-only not as apparent as it could’ve really been. Why so? It just turns out that, Finding Dory adores the lovely quirks of its lead character so much that it almost forgot to center on her true feelings-something that it had failed to do with full commitment.  The time that we spend with Dory and company certainly isn’t a waste of the filmmakers’ efforts really, but sad to say, we could’ve gotten profundity from that than just wholeheartedly fun wonders, and alongside that came half the heart of what got us crying over its classic predecessor. If you seriously come to think about it, Finding Dory, a sequel that was 13 years in the making means a lot for some viewers. That is why believing to think that it couldn’t quite bring back the wholesome magic of the original brings more tears to our eyes than the film itself.  Dory cracks us up for most of its run-time, and there seems to be something wrong with that which couldn’t be easily seen for there were some attempts made in making those not-so blatant. The jokes are not-so clever but they are undeniably thoroughly hilarious. But for a film that wanted to tackle the seemingly affecting personal issues of its titular character, it got somehow weird when it came to the point of showing its more emotional side, because oddly enough, its intent to get us welling up tears could be rendered as almost ineffective for so many reasons. Its sincerity could still be sensed, but the wholeness of its humanly feelings gets subdued.

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They aren’t exactly beacons that shone of hurtful weaknesses because the messages that they send out for both kids and adults are efficiently heartfelt, a Pixar trademark that would never die. In this one, it goes abundant with willful strength despite having a generic quality to its presence in the film, mostly for imbibing that in its strong and characteristically inspirational titular character. But then again, even if they are clear and worth treasuring like always, the essence of these moral lessons gets quite lost in the mix as the film lowly descends into its second and third acts that seem to stretch everything up, leaving almost very little excitement-which also got us quite near to a loss of our investment in this underwater tale. Particularly, it is during this film’s parts where its loss of total greatness starts to show. What’s weirder is that the film seems to be aware of all this, yet it does nothing to dispel all of those. It just goes with the tide that it has set, and allows for an entertaining and at the same time, dissatisfying climax wherein the excitement and the satisfaction that we get from our characters and the plot itself completely fades out. Looking on the more positive side though, Finding Dory had some animation that took our breath away as we swam with Dory and company. This Pixar feature was fluidly animated, and that added a lot of enjoyment to the experience as we got surrounded with the depth of its astonishingly crafted environments.

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Characters both old and new brought smiles to our faces and got our emotions manipulated even if they felt less human on the inside than in classic Pixar features. Most of the newcomers were amazing for the time being, but it’s hard to say that they were unforgettable. Memorable, yes but unforgettable? Definitely not so. They were terrific companions, but they also seemed to come out as generic and not more than what they are. Because of them, the film as a whole didn’t end up as convincing enough for a potential tearjerker, a status that could’ve really let itself get solidified as a highly marvelous Pixar feature post-Inside Out as well as a groundbreaking sequel if it had stuck to that with pure dignity.

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Stating that could be arguable mostly since every other film’s quality is subjective, but it is hard not to express our concerns since its predecessor really was able to melt our hearts, giving us reason to demand for this sequel. Since it is accustomed to that, the deep, subtle focus to the supposedly rich thematic material that it could’ve beautifully pulled out from its plentiful characters looked bland in the sense that they are shallow. Ironically, what we get with Finding Dory is a follow-up that is quite really forgettable. The fact that it took us quite near, yet so close to the film that its predecessor ended up being is a little saddening, and that all adds up to that. But even if we had heavily emphasized on its flaws rather than expressing its beauties in equal measure because of the noticeable errors in its filmmaking, we still suggest you to keep walking into the cinema without a doubt in doing so. Why? This Pixar entry would give you a great hour and a half from its fun factor that has been raised up high and shouldn’t ever get you low in satisfaction. We’ve said it and stressed it over and over again, and we’ll repeat it for the nth time. Sure, it may be miles away from Finding Nemo‘s superb makings, but rest assured, Finding Dory would still give you what you’ve been looking for in one way or another.

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Rating:

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* Finding Dory opens in Philippine cinemas nationwide on June 16 from Walt Disney Studios.

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