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Movie Review

Finding Dory

MPAA Rating: PG for mild thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Animation Family Action Adventure Comedy Sequel 3D IMAX
Length:
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
2016
USA Release:
June 17, 2016 (wide—4,305 theaters)
DVD: November 15, 2016
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

importance of friendship

dealing with short term memory loss

difficulty of separation from parents

value of determination to succeed and knowing there is always another way to deal with obstacles

fish

whales

Kid Explorers™
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Ellen DeGeneres … Dory (voice)
Albert BrooksMarlin (voice)
Idris ElbaFluke (voice)
Kate McKinnon … Inez (voice)
Bill HaderNed (voice)
Dominic West … Rudder (voice)
Diane KeatonJenny (voice)
Kaitlin Olson … Destiny (voice)
Andrew Stanton … Crush (voice)
Ed O'Neill … Hank (voice)
Ty Burrell … Bailey (voice)
Eugene LevyCharlie (voice)
Hayden Rolence … Nemo (voice)
Bennett Dammann … Squirt (voice)
Torbin Xan Bullock … Becky (voice)
Director: Andrew Stanton—“Finding Nemo” (2003), “WALL·E” (2008)
Producer: Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Prequel: “Finding Nemo” (2003)

Review updated 6.22.2016

“Finding Dory” begins by showing the childhood of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the famously forgetful but good-hearted fish from this film’s predecessor “Finding Nemo.” It turns out that she accidentally got separated from her parents as a child, and grew up wandering around the ocean until she met Nemo’s father Marlin (Albert Brooks) in the first movie. The story of “Finding Dory” begins after Dory has returned with Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin to their home region of the ocean. One day, Dory’s memory of her childhood is jogged, and she recalls that she lost her parents and that they lived in California. She feels a strong urge to reunite with them, so she travels with Marlin and Nemo across the Pacific Ocean on the backs of sea turtles, but upon reaching California, the adventure has only started!

The plot is relatively simple, as far as major events are concerned, but there are many clever action sequences to hold one’s attention. I must say, fish are better at making their way across buildings and land than I could have ever imagined! The type of story and style of the two movies in this franchise are similar, so fans of “Finding Nemo” should also like this sequel.

“Finding Dory” has a positive message about respecting and learning from other people’s differences in how they approach problems. Marlin realizes that his heavily analytical and sometimes excessively cautious nature does not always yield success, and that Dory’s quick-to-act tendency is needed at times. It is good for movies to have messages which promote an understanding of psychological differences, which can be a key step in conflict resolution. Also, the scenes from Dory’s childhood show the value of her parents’ specially-designed techniques to help her deal with memory issues.

“Finding Dory” is very clean, in terms of moral content. Although there are perilous escape sequences throughout that might make some young kids anxious, this sequel has fewer scenes involving scary sea predators than the first movie. Overall, I think “Finding Dory”” is a movie that a wide range of audiences can enjoy.

Content Issues

Violence: Early in the movie, the protagonists have to escape from a somewhat scary-looking sea creature. Afterwards, much of the movie takes place over land or in buildings, and the fish have to stay in bowls of water to survive, and to avoid harm, they have to frequently cross treacherous distances from one place to another and take chaotic means of transportation to stay on track and avoid getting locked into dangerous places. There is also a wild road scene with many near collisions. If you have teenagers watching, you can remind them not to drive like an octopus!

Sexuality: Dory starts to explain to a class of juvenile fish where babies come from, but she is interrupted by the instructor after mentioning that two fish fall in love.

Prior to the movie’s release, there was some media attention about a scene from a trailer showing two women next to a stroller with a baby in it. The scene was interpreted by some as potentially depicting a lesbian couple. However, the scene is very brief in the actual movie, and it does not provide any extra clues about the situation.

Language: Some euphemisms (“heck”, “gosh,” “holy carp,” “holy neptune”).

Substance use: Some beer bottles are shown on the ocean floor.

Spiritual Issues: There is one scene where Marlin offers to worship a sea creature in an attempt to avert attack.

Other: In a scene where it briefly looked like Dory may be dead, some minor characters who are tired of her forgetfulness express brief disappointment upon realizing she is still alive.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—My husband and I saw an early showing of “Finding Dory” last night. We were very excited to see this sequel to one of our favorite (and our 2-year-old’s favorite) Disney/Pixar films, “Finding Nemo.” We really enjoyed the movie, as a whole. There were definitely lots of tear-jerker moments, as well as laugh-out-loud moments. I was glad we didn’t take our 2-year-old though, as some of the previews to the film were scary, and there were a few intense scenes in the movie, as well. I think it’ll be best for us to wait until it comes out on DVD to show it to him.

I thought there were several good messages in the movie, such as the importance of family, as well as friends who become as dear to your heart as family. The importance of never giving up and that “there’s always a way” were good moral lessons, as well. Dory’s short-term memory problem was portrayed as a difficulty she was able to deal with and even overcome through her creativity and determination. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Nicole, age 31 (USA)
Positive—This might be Pixar’s best sequel yet. “Finding Nemo” is one of my all-time favorites, and “Finding Dory,” while not groundbreaking or fresh like its predecessor (or director Andrew Stanton’s other Pixar movie, “WALL-E”), comes closer to its predecessor than many sequels typically do. Animation was fantastic. Voice cast, terrific. The story, while somewhat uneven in its pacing at times, is deep and moving, and turns Dory from a comedic sidekick to a relatable, very memorable lead. You can tell Stanton and company really treated this film with care, and the result is entertaining, occasionally hysterical, and moving. I almost cried in a couple of scenes. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Blake Wilson, age 21 (USA)
Positive—Outstanding! This is not Finding Nemo 2; this film stands on its own. There is enough back story to connect Dory, Marlin, and Nemo, and other characters, but this is as good as the first film. The story, voice acting, script, humor, pace, are as well done as the amazing and visually stunning animation. Excellent work and an instant classic. The messages of family, friends, helping others, not giving up, improvising and looking for other options in a situation are great. Characters dealing with disabilities and not being limited by them, but using other gifts and talents they posses to overcome challenges is beautifully presented in both movies (Nemo has one very small fin. Dory suffers from short term memory loss.)

Really excellent. Do stay through the credits for the laugh out loud additional bit at the end.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—**Attention Adoptive/Foster Families!** Please preview this movie before taking your children to see it! This is a film about a child being lost and found again and again by two different families, each time with an ending happier or crazier than the previous—which, of course, is not reality and might bring up unwanted feelings in children who have a broken past. Not everything can be easily fixed, and not all families are the same. The movie also makes it clear that the whole timeline is the child’s fault, which is also not something children should need to question about themselves.

Aside from that—this movie is GREAT!! I laughed out loud through the whole thing, as did my 7 year old.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Chrystal, age 39 (USA)
Positive—I loved “Finding Dory,” so did my husband and five year old. We are all fans of “Finding Nemo,” and this was a wonderful follow up. The movie had colorful and beautiful graphics throughout, just as the first one did. The message was a good one, related to those who may be different, overcoming adversity due to your differences and the love of family and friends. The flashbacks to little Dory were absolutely adorable. What a cute baby Dory was! Would highly recommend.

There was nothing offensive in this movie, in the least. Not sure, about the two women in a baby carriage that has been mentioned. That is really a question of seeking and interpreting something innocent and making it something it is not. I am even more of a fan now of this franchise. The ending was a little far fetched, but enjoyable, and the James Bond/Hank reference as the credits rolled was a nice touch for the older crowd.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Laura Cal, age 44 (USA)
Positive—This is an excellent film that like the original movie “Finding Nemo,” teaches children about disabilities. This time around it is about short-term memory loss and ultimately, I believe, about dementia as well. I cried within the first 5 minutes of this film, because I lost my mother to Vascular Dementia, and when Dory asks her parents if they would ever forget HER, it just hit home. The whole issue of “forgetting” is presented so sensitively, and they also show how those with memory loss can be hurt by the insensitive words of others. The character who hurts Dory’s feelings later apologizes. They teach children the proper term of short-term memory loss, and how Dory can do and remember things on her own with a point of focus. They even show Dory’s parents grieving when they find out that she has a short-term memory problem, which also builds understanding of how parents feel when their child is born with a disability. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kathy Pj, age 56 (Canada)
Comments from young people
Positive—At the end, I thought Dory was counting her eggs.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Justin Jackson, age 13 (USA)
Movie Critics

…In deciding not to stray far from the first film in plot or tone, it makes for a pleasant, familiar, cheerfully unassuming fish-in-her-water tale. …
—Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

…“Finding Dory” can be touching, sweet and tender, but it’s compulsively, preposterously and steadfastly funny. …
—Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

…Ellen DeGeneres excels in Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” sequel, and the cartoon universe gains a new eight-legged superhero—but a heavy-handed approach threatens to drown the film’s disability message. …
—Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian (UK)

…“Finding Dory” argues, with lovely ingenuity and understatement, that what appear to be impairments might better be understood as strengths. …
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

…oceans of family fun… Very strong moral worldview validating family, parental love, helping others because it’s the right thing to do, optimism, perseverance, and friendship… strongly suggest that every child deserves (and needs) both a mommy AND a daddy. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide

…There's no bad-fish smell here, but the pic's slapstick adventure feels simple, comfortable and smilingly predictable. Where the film really swims like a champ is when it comes to the beating heart of things. … [5/5]
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In

“Finding Dory” is the summer adventure you won't forget… one of the best movies you'll see this summer… [4½/5]
—Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk

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