Monday, August 22, 2016

Finding Dory (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Finding Dory

The cuties of the sea are back in Pixar's "Finding Dory," a sequel to the earlier "Finding Nemo" directed again by Andrew Stanton. Salty sequels, from pirate epics to animated classics are often diluted with formulaic solution. Thankfully this is another very entertaining time in the ocean.

Here we see Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) with her regal blue tang parents Charlie and Jenny, voiced by Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton respectively. During a game of hide and seek, Dory becomes distracted and loses sight of her parents. Leagues of ocean seem to separate them. As Dory has short-term memory loss, she blames herself and fears the worst.

The characters once more showcase a maritime medley of mirth. Best among them is Ed O Neil as a curmudgeonly seven-armed octopus. There is also one bubbly whale shark (Kaitlin Olsen) and a beluga whale (Ty Burrell). Though these creatures are inky creations out of Disney's bottomless aquarium, they could very well be human and this is a testament to the story, which is first-rate.

Strikingly, this is a mature and holistic statement on our development, our struggles and what it is to be human, period. One look at Dory's conflicted and tortured face brings home the reality that we all have obstacles, crisis and even disabilities that we may not have control over but nevertheless must still accept and harness. This is heavy stuff for an animated film and may just turn on the human waterworks for a few moments, no matter the age of the audience.

Despite this anemone-shaded angst, the story is joyful and freely associative much the way our minds work when young. As "Inside Out" demonstrated so skillfully, this film shows that the less secure aspects of ourselves are not to be hidden but rather to be brought forth as tools, however strange or ambiguous.

"Finding Dory" is not just a fishy psychadelic diversion in immersive 3-D but a heartfelt meditation of what it means to love and care for someone, whether one happens to be a human or a halibut.

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