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Finding Dory
BLU-RAY disk
12.01.2016 By: Sean Wist
Finding Dory order download
Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane

Ellen DeGeneres
Albert Brooks
Ed O'Neill


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The friendly blue tang with short-term memory loss from Finding Nemo embarks on her own adventure to find her family.
Admittedly, I don't latch onto most Pixar films as much as the next person seems to. I saw Finding Nemo when it was released and haven't given it much thought since, also opting out of seeing its sequel in theaters. When I did sit down to watch Finding Dory, what I experienced with the film is more or less what I thought it would be. Depending on how much you love the first film and Pixar as a whole, that's definitely a good thing!

The name Pixar is synonymous with quality, and they've earned the title. Regardless of how you feel about the end result, they're usually pretty careful in crafting an emotional backbone to their films. Finding Dory is no different, especially when the audience finally gets to see Dory's roots. They're well-done and do a great job for setting you up to really care about Dory and her mission to find her parents. The journey that follows...not so much.

There are some callbacks to the first film and a few new characters, but the jokes feel far more forced than your usual Pixar fare. Despite the technical achievement that is this film, it all falls by the wayside because of a story that aims for the lowest common denominator of Pixar's audience. That is to say, Pixar has a formula and they don't bother to stray from it here.

I find it ironic that the character I didn't care for in Finding Nemo is the only I cared about this time around, and that's Dory. When you cut to the meat of this story, there's some very emotional and compelling material to go around. You begin to see why Pixar is the best at what they do, until one of the myriad of new characters comes into play and it's like Pixar's screaming, "Look at how random and fun this character is! You love them!" It certainly doesn't help that the emotional climax of the film is followed by 20 more minutes that felt tacked on to beef up the runtime. In the end, Finding Dory is decent entertainment, but falls short of the greatness they're known for.
As per usual with Disney Blu-rays, Finding Dory is packed to the gills with content! I've broken down what you can find on each disc, so let's dive in! Puns!

Disc 1

Piper (6:05): A short film from Pixar featuring some photo-realistic work of a bird leaving its nest for the first time. A decent short, but far from their best.

Marine Life Interviews (2:04): These faux interviews are with the characters of the Marine Life Institute in which they talk about their impressions of Dory.

The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar (9:05): Hank, the octopus (well, septopus), is the most complex of the main characters from the film, so it makes sense to dedicate a feature to him. This extra shows us interview footage with Pixar as they talk about their struggles in spending 2 and a half years to create this character, and then animate him!

What Were We Talking About? (4:31): Given Dory's short-term memory loss, the filmmakers discuss how they transitioned the comedic relief from the first film into the main character of this one.

Casual Carpool (3:47): Director Andrew Stanton drives around several of the film's stars in a short bit where they riff off one another.

Animation & Acting (6:57): The actors discuss the process of performing for an animated film while the animators talk about how they implement the voices.

Deep In The Kelp (3:20): This EPK looks at some of the research Pixar did to prepare for the film.

Creature Features (3:02): The cast talks a little about the characters they play, and what those creatures are actually like in the real world.

Audio Commentary: Director Andrew Stanton, co-director Angus MacLane, and producer Lindsey Collins take part in this commentary in which they give some insight into the story, early drafts of the film and the technical hurdles the team at Pixar had to leap. It's a decently entertaining commentary track, if not a little vanilla.

Disc 2:

Behind the Scenes (16:09): This featurette is broken up into 5 segments: Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer, Dory's Theme, Rouge Day on the Reef, Finding Nemo as Told by Emoji and Fish Sticks. This is far from the be-all, end-all BTS extra you'd expect from Disney, and is rather similar to the smaller featurettes on the first disc. It covers several aspects of the film, like sketching the characters, writing the music, computer anomalies, etc. Why these specific clips were grouped together is beyond me as there really is no connective tissue that binds them together. Maybe because they were the least interesting...

Living Aquariums: This is exactly what it sounds like, with 4 different "living aquariums" provided by Pixar in case you wanted to look at some of the locales from the film ad nauseum.

Deleted Scenes (50:15): As weird as it may seem, these deleted scenes provide the best look at the making of Finding Dory. Director Andrew Stanton introduces most of the scenes, explaining the differences in the story as it was being crafted. A lot of these are in storyboard form, but they give you a good idea of how Pixar refines their story over time.

Trailers (4:31): Last but not least are 4 trailers from around the world to give you an idea of how Finding Dory was marketing in different regions.
Finding Dory may not measure up to the golden standard Pixar has set, but it's safe to say that if you enjoyed Finding Nemo, this sequel will be a fun return to the animated ocean, if not as well-crafted. The special features are bountiful but mostly shallow, for the most part. The Blu-ray is an easy purchase for fans of the first film, but those not in love with everything Pixar might want to give this a rental before diving into the purchase pool.
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