My review of “Finding Dory”

Finding Dory is a beautifully animated adventure in and out of the water that provides an entertaining supplement or chapter to the classic story of Finding Nemo. it is thought-provoking, poignant and funny at the same time. It is a fantastic follow up with a lot of great lines, emotional hooks and absolutely zero stinkers no matter if it closely hews to the same plot as its predecessor’s. Using the Pacific Coast of California as a setting instead of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, Finding Dory follows an eventful afternoon at an aquatic park, or the Marine Life Institute, with the recorded voice of Sigourney Weaver in the background constantly reassuring any PC-oriented visitors that the facility has been designed not to cater to human amusement but to “Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release.”


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Aside from optimizing the multi-hued plant life and underwater inhabitants of its predecessor, Finding Dory also leverages on its talented cast of celebrity voice actors beginning with Ellen DeGeneres who vocally gives life to the blue tang Dory with her childlike glee and buoyant spirit. Dory is a fearless blue tang afflicted with short term memory loss, which had proven valuable during the most critical times when daddy clownfish Marlin was searching for his young son Nemo. Dory always acts in the moment because of her short-term memory loss, and this served to be more beneficial than anything.

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Ellen DeGeneres shows she is the perfect one for the role with her sometimes giddy and sometimes goofy persona, this time with Marlin and Nemo assisting her instead of the other way around. The story may not be a fresh one since the script was penned and directed yet again by Andrew Stanton with Victoria Strouse as a co-writer and Angus MacLane as co-director. The characters here seem to defy all logic since they are able to swim through pipes and jump from one liquid container to another at the institute with amazing skill. You even have the octopus Hank driving a runaway truck on a busy highway despite the fact he can’t reach the pedals or view the road over the dashboard.

However, the movie tugs at the heartstrings if it doesn’t succeed at beguiling the mind. With the same overwhelming parental concern that Marlin had for Nemo in the first movie, Dory’s parents, Charlie and Jenny (voiced by Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton) make Dory understand the importance of telling everyone she meets that she has “short term remember-y loss”. Her learning disability leads Dory to become a helpless child whose memory almost instantly vaporizes, making her forget what she has forgotten in the first place. This results in her being dragged by the undertow and separating her from her parents to devastating effect.

The movie revs up when a now older Dory gets an electrifying flashback that makes her realize she actually has parents and she is off to find them with a supportive Nemo and a perpetually grumpy Marlin in tow. Although her initial purpose is to locate her family, the journey proves to be one of self-discovery for the blue tang, who experiences snatches of defining memory through it all, albeit briefly every time. The seagulls that chant “Mine! Mine! Mine!” are in the movie, and so are Mr. Ray, the fish-school instructor, and turtle dude Crush and Squirt, his son. The new characters aside from Squirt are the octopus Hank, a near-sighted whale shark (acted by Kaitlin Olson), a brain-addled beluga whale (voiced by Ty Burrell of “Modern Family”) and a pair of lazy Cockney sea lions (portrayed in voice by Idris Elba and Dominic West) with their crazy cohort Gerald.

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Although Marlin seems to refuse to help the heroine in her quest, all the other creatures are more than willing to assist. The ending is heartbreakingly happy and the after-credits sequence is just a sign that the filmmakers don’t really know when to say enough is enough. Overall, this is not a fresh take but it succeeds well enough on its own.

The best animated movies of 2016 – part II

 

As 2016 has a wide palette of animation movies to watch, I’ve decided that the short list I have created earlier and posted on this blog needed to be extended, so that it truly includes this year’s best animated movies. In my last article, I mainly talked about popular productions that were or will be released this year, but also about some that are interesting from a technical point of view. One amazing quality associated with animated movies is their creativity and the innovative ideas people invest in them. As anybody loves a good story or, at least a daring point of view, I sometimes pick the movies I want to watch based on their main theme and less on the innovative technology used to make them.

The Secret Life of Pets

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As I am a big admirer of the Toy Story franchise, when I saw that The Secret Life of Pets was going to be released, I immediately decided that I needed to watch it. I don’t know if the movie follows the same line as Toy Story does, but I know it explores the life of pets once their owners go out for their daily tasks, a similar situation to that in Toy Story. The animation focuses on Max, the main character, a terrier who faces one of the biggest changes in his life when his owner brings home a new dog.

Kubo and the two strings

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Kubo and the two strings is another story that appealed to me, not because it seems original, but because of the setting of the story: ancient Japan. The narrative seems relatively simple: a boy needs to fight an ancient spirit that reappears to settle the scores of an old-age vendetta. It seems the traditional tale of the becoming hero, but I am sometimes attracted by simple story lines, so I think I’ll give it a try. In addition, it is speckled with stunning images and many famous actors are involved in this project. Amongst them  Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara and Matthew McConaughey.

Kung Fu Panda

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Another movie that I planned to watch but gave up at the last moment every time is the Kung Fu Panda series. The main idea of the animation is creative and original, but I never managed to get myself in the right mood to go through the adventure. This year, the franchise has released a third movie, a continuation of the adventures of Po the Panda who is facing other supernatural threats. The first movie released in 2008 was nominated for the Oscars, so I should definitely make time to watch it. In addition to that, Po is an intriguing and unconventional character.

Sausage party

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Surprisingly, one movie that caught my attention was Sausage party, a story that focuses on a sausage that tries to find meaning of existence. Judging by the theme they picked, the movie can be a wise choice or not so much, but it is worth giving a try, when you want to spend the weekend at home and have nothing else to do.

The coolest animated movies of 2016

2016 is a rich year when it comes to wonderful animated movies. If I were to choose a few that I’d really like to see from the many released this year, the following six would be ranking high on my list (not necessarily in this order).

Finding Dory

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Well, I am sure kids all over the world (and not only kids) have waited a sequel to the successful and wildly popular animated movie Finding Nemo released in 2003. This time, our fish friend with short term memory loss issues goes down memory lane and remembers her parents. As a result, she and her friends go on a quest to find Dory’s family, a journey in which each one of them will discover new things about themselves and family ties.

Ice Age: collision course

The Ice Age series are one of the most awaited for animated movies whenever one is released. This year, the fifth movie of the franchise is available on the big screen, to the pleasure of the fans. Manny, Sid, Diego, and the rest of the group are saving the world yet again, this time from a meteor strike caused by none other than our old friend Scrat and his acorn obsession.

Loving Vincent

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This is probably one of the most daring animated movies to be released this year. This movie recounts the life and death of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh and it is made entirely using oil brush painting. In the project there have been involved more than 100 painters trained in van Gogh’s painting style and every frame of the movie consists of one painting. This is a project I am waiting for impatiently ever since I’ve had a look at the trailer.

Bad Cat

Bad Cat is a Turkish animated movie and, although I haven’t got much experience with their animated style, I do know one thing or two about  the Turkish cinematography and I’m looking forward to seeing if their animations equal their movies. The main hero of the story is Shero, the cat and his gang of friends. They are all leading a life of adventure and amusement until, one day, they meet humans and that messes up their entire existence.

Ballerina

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If there’s one thing that I miss about animations, it would certainly be the classic stories: when the heroes overcome all the obstacles ahead of them and, against all odds they manage to fulfill their dreams. Ballerina tells the story of a girl who wants to become a ballerina, but has a long tough trip to make to fulfill her dreams. Her journey starts when she leaves her home in England and flees to Paris. This all happens in 1879.

Zootopia

This movie has gained quite a big popularity already, being well received by both critics and public. It is centered on the animals living in the city of Zootopia, where everybody is happy and everything is well, but, this Arcadian state of things is about to change. I see it as a great movie for kids and adults altogether.