OK, so while I've been collecting interesting content for you all, the pacing has been a little funky. Fred has a frolic for you this week (it's a doozy!), and I have a few Disney related reviews for you all.
BUT, since I took my favorite test audience to see Finding Dory today, I figured I'd get it out fast.
By the way, HERE is my test audience, in all their glory...
Naomi (12), Olivia (5), and Reuben (7). Aren't they the cutest things?
So, we couldn't wait to see Finding Dory. Lemme just push up my sleeves. Wait, I don't have any sleeves. How am I supposed to emotionally prepare for this without sleeves?!
We were, in all honesty, prepared for an emotional experience. Truly, as excited as I was, there was also a little fear in there. Not that I thought Pixar would ruin anything, but...you know how they are. They like to encourage feelings we can neither understand nor explain (Much like Lightning McQueen).
If anyone hasn't heard the impetus for the sequel, director Andrew Stanton reportedly said after Dory's line in the original, wondering about her family, his paternal instinct activated and he felt compelled to help her find her family. Every ounce of that real feeling went into this film, and it shows.
On a mere technological level, it's beautiful. Utterly. As in many Pixar sequels (Or, prequel) the team takes the opportunity to step up the visuals a notch. That's saying something when so much of the original looks like an IMAX nature film.
Story-wise, it is Pixar's usual solid story. I really can't see a problem with it. It's tone was light (and HILARIOUS) enough to keep the heavy from getting too heavy, without undercutting it.
Seeing it with the kids, everyone had a marvelous time. The two little ones tend to be quiet anyway, but neither found anything emotionally disruptive. Oh, how I long for the days of going along for the story's ride and not being effected by it. (Well, who are we kidding, I was an 8 year old who cried during A League of Their Own, I've always been like this!) They all LOVED the finale, which, yeah I won't give away, but was a stroke of GENIUS.
I feel like this review is a little disjointed, but remaining spoiler free and attempting to find criticism with this film is incredibly difficult. Time will tell how it holds up to Finding Nemo, but I think it will do just fine. Pixar has had a habit of letting the side kick become the protagonist of a sequel. Here, it was a perfect concept. The movie's emotional heart is, naturally, Dory herself. It would have been easy to continue to make Dory's short term memory loss, her disability if you will, a continued hindrance to the story. It's allowed to deepen her character, a film intended for the audience to understand her. Hence, heartbreak.
What I saw in theme was really a lesson of .....well, just keep swimming. For one thing, Dory, though accidentally, didn't let her memory loss stop her. She just kept trying. In all things. I'll just leave it at that. Also, I could see the analogy of disability here. You see Dory's parents try to help their daughter through her memory loss and it emotionally pays off so beautifully in theme.
The only criticism I can think of is from Reuben. No sharks. He was unhappy there was no Bruce, but that was the only disappointment expressed.
OH! One other note. If the short that came with it, "Piper", doesn't get the Oscar for best Animated short, I'd be surprised. It was a perfect compliment to the film, theme wise.
Now, just one last note, something that's irked me for some time, but was further brought to my attention at my..screening. This isn't a "kid's movie". Well, it's a family film. Two different terms. Do NOT think because you took your family to see a movie geared towards families and children, that your children shouldn't have to behave in a theater. I might do a full blog on this later, but just because a movie is animated or made by Disney doesn't mean it's stupid or just for children. That was never Walt's intention. Don't devalue the intense artistic and technical artistry here because of its supposed content.
That's about it. GO. Now. Bring 1 tissue. I think you'll do ok with that much.
Oh, and STAY through the credits! (Why aren't you already doing that?)
Have a great weekend. Just keep swimming.....