Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Movie Review: Finding Dory

Art Imitating Life

This is a movie that we have seen twice in the theatre. Originally we were invited to a private screening from the Swain Center. James liked it so much that we saw it again last month. I am glad I had a chance to see it again because the first time I missed a lot of the soundtrack.

Not that I would have missed that original showing for the world - oh no. I was in a theatre FULL of parents who got a jolt to the solar plexus along with me, watching Dory's parents worry about what was going to become of her. How could she live a normal life? Trying to stay cheerful when they feel caught in a nightmare; trying very hard not to cry. Because your child cannot do something basic that others can do. Because you see how they could be lost or hurt. That this sweet kid has no idea what is out there and you do. The possible consequences of your child wandering off … Yeah. There were a couple of us gripping the arm rests, vaguely comforted that we were in a room of people who would understand. Some parental tears were shed.

I think many of us saw ourselves also in Marlin's role: caring, exasperated, and in need of pausing now and then to remember what really matters. That the quirky person who can drive us nuts is also a unique, caring, special thing. Because this differently abled character has achievements and strengths. Because real friendships are there. While the accomplishments may seem boring and mundane to others, we, like Dory's parents, can stop and appreciate the victories. We all saw our trial and errors at teaching expected behaviors, coaching speech, communication through singing, and coming up with snippets to help stay on track mirrored in their efforts with her.

Review and Semi Spoilers Alert

As for the movie itself, my impression is that the journeys trumped the story. There were plenty of great new characters, as well as refreshers of familiar ones (stay  through the credits, y'all!).

Hank, the cranky octopus (or septopus) stole my heart. Becky was runner up. The colours are gorgeous and the water and ocean effects are amazing. The kids loved the lively sea creatures, such as the possessive sea lions, fallible whales, and traffic-stopping sea otters.

I greatly enjoyed Sigourney Weaver as the voice of the Oceanographic Institute. As a sometime member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I recognized some onscreen counterparts to the real thing.

There are many chase scenes! Yelling! Sneaky scenes. Rock stealing. Marine science. Disguises aplenty. Breakups and reunions. A continued message of finding the family of your blood and your heart. The favorite for many was the climactic car chase and dramatic conclusion. Even that had a manageable sound level. Every time a scene felt as though it might begin to drag, there was a quick change of pace or comic scene. In short, this is a really nice movie to see with your kids. While not as fantastic as Finding Nemo, it is still a very solid movie.

Four starfish and a recommended movie for kids, families, and the holiday break.

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