Finding Dory is the sequel to the critically acclaimed movie Finding Nemo, but it is not the rehashing that some feared it to be. This movie took on its own story and used new story telling devices rather than retracing the first movie's steps. This is a strength and a weakness for the film that overall hinders it slightly.
When Finding Nemo came out in 2003, it was a force to be reckoned with. Not only did it have a beautifully crafted story, but it looked amazing. Not only did it raise the bar for story telling and animation, but continued Pixar's trend to the top as the best animation studio in the movie business. Finding Dory continues the trend for amazing visuals, but forgets what its like to tell a deep and rich story. This argument can be made for most of the recent Pixar films.
Finding Dory is a good film in its own right, but its predecessor cast such a large shadow it seems almost impossible to escape from it. There were many moments where I laughed a good laugh and was invested, but it didn't have the same hook that the first one did. The emotional scenes were not as powerful and the story seemed to go by so quick. The movies are only three minutes apart in running time, but it didn't spend its time well. We get introduced to new characters and new places which contributed greatly to the overall experience leaving only one culprit.
Now before I'm burned at the stake for suggesting what I am about to say, hear me out. Marlin and Nemo should have sit this one out. The movie is about Dory finding her parents and crossing the ocean to get there. During the movie Dory gets separated from Nemo and Marlin for a period of time, and whenever the movie cuts to catch the audience up on what they are doing, you miss out on more adventures with Dory and the new characters. It doesn't seem like Nemo and his dad were needed. I can tell you that they were used once which contributed to a little part in the movie, but that was it. They were along for the ride, but did not contribute anything to the story. You would expect Dory and Marlin to maintain their chemistry from the first film to be brought back here, but it is one of the new characters that takes Marlin's place.
Dory ends up meeting an octopus when she arrives to the movie's main location. It is this duo's chemistry that really drives the film. Along the way they meet a couple of more sea creatures that act as the new supporting cast for the movie. It are these characters what make this movie watchable and enjoyable. There is no doubt that pretty much everyone will like this movie because there is so much in it to like, but it has the unfortunate task of overcoming the nostalgia of Finding Nemo.
Last thing I want to touch on is the animation short that comes before this movie. Pixar usually has an animated short before their films and this one is no exception. The short animation is called Piper and it follows the short adventure of a little bird. The cuteness that radiates off the screen for this, is probably too much for people to handle. The visuals were spectacular and were comparable to the landscape shots in The Good Dinosaur. I have just read that the animators took three years to make this small short and had to create new technology to simulate the feathers on the birds' bodies. This seems reminiscent of how Frozen was made when they created technology to properly render hair. That might not seem impressive, but but Elsa's head had 400,000 individual CG rendered hairs. It seems the program they created was used for Zootopia as well and allowed one animal to have nine million individual hairs on their body. Now think of how many animals where in that movie, that is a lot of hair. Back to Piper though, Pixar had created a new program to render individual fibers on the feathers amassing four to seven million fibers to be on the bird's body. I would say that the photo realistic look for this short is mind blowing and the Pixar shorts just keep getting better and better.
I remember watching Now You See Me and thinking, "Wow, this is a great movie, I wonder why I have not heard anything about this before. Why didn't I see this in theaters?". Now that I have remedied the situation by seeing it's second act on the big screen, I can report the same regret still lingers.
The movie itself is not bad, but does not live up to the opening act. As the show goes on you want to see bigger and better tricks but this movie doesn't give you that. A general consensus is that the sequel is never better than the original, but it didn't have to be that way.
Now You See Me used the idea of big showcase magic tricks, but in a movie and crafted a story around that idea. In this movie's case, it did the opposite and tried to continue the story and throwing in the magic as the garnish. Not only did the original treat the audience as a magician would theirs, but the magic got better and better as the movie went on. Magic is a universal intrigue because it defies expectations and allows for awe to set in. This second movie seemed to forget what magic was about and what worked for the first movie. It tried to hint at the magic going on while or before the tricks happened, making the audience suspend their belief and not fall for the magic tricks either.
The magic aside, this movie expanded on the world from the first and gave the characters more depth. There was nothing glaring from a story perspective that would hurt this movie and is still a good time. The occasional allusions in the movie would be better utilized if the advertisement campaign had not spoiled the only decent magic trick in the movie.
The movie just did not provide the promise of high brow magic tricks like the first one did. There was no escalating magic tricks, just a couple of small ones and a non trick to finish off the movie. It was more concerned about fleshing out the world and its characters in hopes that another sequel will be made. It even sets itself up for one.
All in all the movie was decent but lacked the spectacle the first had. It was mostly about explaining why people did things they did from the first movie and providing backstory for others.
7/10 Theboy with tape on his face has better tricks than this