Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Finding Dory 2D Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Thirteen years after young Nemo swam onto the big screen, the sequel is available to own on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Although not included in this review, there is also a Finding Dory Ultimate Collector’s Edition 3D Blu-ray which also includes 2D Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Viewers can watch Dory’s hilarious and heartwarming quest to find her family and continue the underwater adventure with hours of immersive bonus features. “Finding Dory” features an all-star voice cast, reuniting Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”) and Albert Brooks (“This is 40”) as Dory and Marlin, the ever-optimistic blue tang and the uptight but loyal clownfish. Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”) lends his voice to “septopus” Hank, Kaitlin Olson (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) voices whale shark Destiny, and Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) gives voice to beluga whale Bailey. Dory’s doting parents Charlie and Jenny are portrayed by Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) and Diane Keaton (“Love the Coopers”), and 12-year-old Hayden Rolence (“Beta Persei”) steps in as Nemo, the young clownfish with a lucky fin.
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
Finding Nemo was the story of a young clown fish named Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) who survived a harrowing adventure.  As you may remember, Nemo ventured too close to a boat and was caught and taken to a dental office in Sydney.  Nemo’s father Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) had an adventure of his own while searching for his son.  Marlin met a fish named Dory, who was able to read the address on a diver’s mask, giving Marlin the critical information he needed to locate his son.  Dory was a very helpful new friend to Marlin, but she was challenged by her lack of short term memory.

As Finding Dory begins, a year has passed and all is well for Nemo and Marlin.  Although Dory enjoys her life with her new friends, she misses her family terribly.  One day, she remembers that she is from the Jewel of Morro Bay. She has flashbacks of being separated from her loving parents and she insists on finding them.  Marlin and Nemo can’t let her go alone and they accompany her on her journey.  An old turtle friend Crush helps them ride a current to California. Unfortunately Dory becomes separated from Marlin and Nemo and is taken to the Marine Life Institute. Dory is quarantined and held at the institute where she meets a grumpy octopus named Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill).Dory has a tag showing that she will soon be transferred to Cleveland.  Hank does not want to live in the wild, he prefers captivity.  

In exchange for her tag, Hank agrees to reunite Dory with her parents.   Dory is also assisted by an old shark friend with bad vision named Destiny (voiced by Kaitlin Olson).  A new friend, Bailey (voiced by Ty Burrell), is a whale that believes he has lost the ability to echolocate.  While they desperately try to rescue Dory, Marlin and Nemo also make new friends including sea lions Fluke and Rudder and Becky the Loony bird.  Even with her memory issues, Dory and friends work hard to ensure that she will see her parents again.  Dory’s mother Jenny (voiced by Diane Keaton) and Charlie (voiced by Eugene Levy) have never stopped longing to see their daughter.

Finding Dory doesn’t reinvent itself, or bring anything truly new and exciting to the table and I’m okay with that.  It’s a simple continuation of Finding Nemo with the return of all your favorite characters.  They have added a significant number of new characters with an ensemble cast of new and returning voice actors.  The film is directed by Andrew Stanton (Director of Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life and Wall-E) and is sure to be appreciated by fans of Finding Nemo. The second half of the film is especially touching, when the film shows a lot of heart.  As with the first film, you might want to remind younger viewers that everything will be okay in the end.  My 8 year old absolutely loved the movie in the theater but we sat near some 3 year olds that got very upset that Dory might not see her family again.
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
Finding Dory is everything you’d expect on Blu-ray.  It’s bright, colorful and pops off the screen.  There is a varied color palette accommodating all the ocean creatures and environments. Colors are very well saturated throughout with crisp lines and sharp detail. The high definition experience on Blu-ray is near perfect and this is a presentation Disney/Pixar can feel proud of. 
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Finding Dory offers a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack on Blu-ray. Music plays an important part to the heart of the film, and is presented with balance and clarity. The sounds of the ocean and the elements translate well. Dialogue is intelligible and consistent throughout the film, which offers appropriate weight and depth.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
Finding Dory contains bonus features on two discs as well as a digital copy of the film included with both the 2D and 3D Blu-ray versions.
Disc One
  • Piper – A six minute short about a baby bird leaving the nest.
  • Marine Life Interviews – Characters from the film talk about Dory in this brief featurette.
  • The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar – A look at the challenges the Octopus provided to the filmmakers.
  • What Were We Talking About – A discussion of Dory’s unique memory problem and the hurdles and opportunities it offered to the filmmakers.
  • Casual Carpool – Take a ride with Director Andrew Stanton and the voice actors.
  • Animation & Acting – A look behind the scenes at voice acting and the animation process.
  • Deep in the Kelp – Jenna Ortega hosts a look at the research required for this film.
  • Creature Features – Primary voice actors discuss their characters.
  • Audio Commentary – Director Andrew Stanton, Co-Director Angus MacLane and Produce Lindsey Collins provide feature length audio commentary. They discuss the sequel process, new characters, deleted scenes and more in the worthwhile track.
Disc Two
  • Behind the Scenes – a five part feature including:
    • Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer – The character art director talks about the design process.
    • Dory’s Theme – A look at the music with Composer Tom Newman and Music Editor Bill Bernstein.
    • Rough Day on the Reef – Computer glitches that occurred while making the movie.
    • Finding Nemo as told by Emoji – Emoji’s tell the story.
    • Fish Schticks – Some funny extra footage.
  • Living Aquariums – Four digital fish tanks: Sea Grass, Open Ocean, Stingrays and Swim to the Surface.
  • Deleted Scenes - Losing Nemo, Sleep Swimming, Little Tension in Clown Town, Meeting Hank, The Pig, Dory Dumped, and Starting Over in various stages of completion with Director introduction.
  • Trailers - Sleep Swimming: United States Trailer, Theatrical Payoff: Japan Trailer Can't Remember: Spain Trailer and Journey: Russia Trailer.
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Finding Dory isn’t particularly unique, it simply expands on the adventure from Finding Nemo. It operates under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” model and that’s fine with me. Although 13 years between films was a very long wait, I feel like they waited for a story worth telling. I would hate to see infinite sequels/spin offs where every character takes a turn getting lost. The biggest compliment I could pay a film of this kind is that I would watch it even if my son didn’t ask. Whenever he asks to see an animated film (whether the request is for traditional or computer generated animation) I always try to steer my son towards a Pixar film, knowing I’ll enjoy it too. Although it has its sad moments, Finding Dory doesn’t fall into the overly emotional category like Up and Inside Out. My son often avoids those emotional rollercoasters, favoring happier films. When he looks back on Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, I am pretty sure they both fall into the happy category. With excellent audio and video quality and a healthy list of supplemental material, the film is highly recommended and would make an excellent gift for Pixar fans of all ages.

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