Staff review: ‘Finding Dory’ is a swimmingly fun time

(MTSU Sidelines/Disney Pixar)

Photo courtesy of Disney Pixar

Three members of Sidelines saw “Finding Dory” opening weekend and were all pleasantly surprised by the sequel to Pixar’s “Finding Nemo”, but for different reasons.

Nostalgic, but original: 

Thirteen years after Nemo first touched the butt, I glued mine anxiously to a cinema seat to see if Pixar could successfully recapture the underwater magic in “Finding Dory”. I went in excited but skeptical, knowing that the only two animated movies to ever have successful sequels were “Shrek” and “Toy Story”. Fortunately, Disney knocked it out of the park.

I was completely tantalized by “Piper”, Pixar’s newest and arguably best short film. I was wooed by the dazzling animation and charming plot, leaving me optimistically primed for the main feature.

Most notably, the movie was successful because it had a hearty mix of new plot and characters coupled with some familiar friends from the original. Too often sequels mimic the original, but while “Finding Dory” played to the viewers’ nostalgia, it also had an individual storyline that made it a solid standalone movie. When it came to incorporating new and old characters, I would say they Crush-ed it.

In true Disney fashion, spunky, quirky Dory was able to find adventure but also tug on the heart strings. I, an adult watching a kids movie, shed a few tears as Dory relentlessly pursued her parents. Sure, nostalgia and exorbitantly priced movie tickets contributed to my reaction, but Pixar’s notoriously emotional storylines were the main source of my waterworks.

Any movie that can make you laugh and cry is worth seeing, but if it also has well-animated talking fish, it’s almost a guaranteed grand slam.

-Sarah Grace Taylor, Editor-in-Chief 

Relatable, substantive:

There is a common misconception in the film industry that movies catered to children need to be simplified. This misconception favors the notion of films with nothing to offer but bright colors and one dimensional characters. “Finding Dory”, however, does not subscribe to this idea. The long awaited sequel manages to hold the attention of the young ones while entertaining deeply insightful messages regarding the importance of self-belief and family.

Creating a sequel to any highly popular movie is a feat in itself. “Finding Dory”, however, more than rises to the challenge. The first thing the audience will notice about the movie is the strong animation work. The defined colors and realistically expressive digital characters make for a believable underwater world and an engaging film. Another element that cements this family film is the pitch-perfect character interactions and development. Many characters are given necessary time to completely develop and receive intriguing story arcs. Dory, in particular, swims through a fervently emotional arc that establishes both an impressive morale and added dimension to the character. The supporting cast are all terrifically voice acted, and the talent goes a long way to produce quality humor. “Finding Dory’s” comedy comes in rapid-fire succession, the jokes are overwhelmingly hit over miss, and the combinations of physical and dialogue-based humor makes “Finding Dory” a riot to sit through. All of these elements give the audience ample reason to care for these characters. One cannot believe how likable and relatable the everyday problems of a group of fish can be, and the more the animated characters interact, the more the audience becomes invested in their every word.

“Finding Dory” moves beyond just a worthy sequel to a popular film. As thought provoking as it is hilarious, it stands neatly on its own and is never overshadowed by its predecessor. Strong character, a relevant moral and some of the best digital animation one can see makes it well worth the wait. Pixar has been a reliable producer of quality content in the past, and with “Finding Dory”, it looks like they will continue to swim upstream.

-Andrew Wigdor, Staff Writer 

Hilarious, fresh:

The much anticipated “Finding Nemo” sequel did not disappoint the inner 7-year-old in me. Over the many oohs, ahhs, and even wails of the children in the theatre, you see the story of Dory unveil.

Voiced by Ellen Degeneres, Dory reveals a little more about herself in her self-titled sequel than she ever did in “Finding Nemo”. And as much fun as it used to be, “Finding Dory” will finally leave the overused quote of “P. Sherman Wallaby Way Sydney” to rest — hopefully. The whale-talk is still up for grabs, though.

The animation was great with vivid, bright imagery and that, alone, is enough to keep your attention. Typically, sequels can be a little boring compared to the original, but the writers keep the storyline of “Finding Dory” fresh and interesting with the various twists and turns caused by Dory’s memorable memory loss.

The theme of the huge ocean in “Finding Nemo” is replaced by a Marine Life Institution in California. A majority of the weirdness occurs in here, as we meet some of Dory’s childhood friends while she is on the search for her parents.

“Finding Dory” is hilarious and fresh.

If you’ve ever wanted to see an octopus drive a truck, go see “Finding Dory”.

-Jamie A. Cooley, Assistant Lifestyles Editor

To contact Lifestyles Editor Olivia Ladd email

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