As most probably expected, Finding Dory became the year’s biggest film this summer. Following one of Disney/Pixar’s most successful, beloved and heralded films of all time was sort of a no-brainer in the wondering of who’s going to go see it. This time they would focus on the fish with the short term memory loss, Dory, who was voiced by Ellen Degeneres. The whole crew from the first film returns for this adventures as well as adding in some new friends voiced by character acting favorites. This review is covering the digital release, specifically the DisneyMoviesAnywhere version, which can be purchased whenever you’d like actually. A Blu-ray review will happening in the coming weeks, but there are a lot of extras on this one that really should be touted out in anticipation of that release. So, here we are!
When Dory, the forgetful blue tang, suddenly remembers she has a family who may be looking for her, she, Marlin and Nemo take off on a life-changing quest to find them … with help from Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who’s convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark.
Like Revenge of the Creature, Jaws 3-D and more recently Jurassic World before it, Finding Dory sees itself heading to the amusement park/public spectacle type place for its locale. For the series, this is a big step forward, opening itself to a larger host of sea creatures, environments and obstacles for the characters to overcome. Yes, the ocean itself is a big enough setting, but where the focus of the previous film lied, it was very limited and kept to a smaller collective.
For the first act, there’s a severe worry that Finding Dory is going to be a complete repackage of the first film, just done bigger. While I guess one could argue that it kind of is, its really beyond that and completely its own thing to behold. There’s a different sense of adventure and mission on this trip. The mystery of it all isn’t so much of will Marlin and Nemo find Dory as much as will Dory be able to receive the answers she seeks and will it be enough to satisfy the hole she’s had for her entire life. This adventure goes beyond a dentist’s office and sees a parade of much larger characters and environments to toe tape through on Dory’s quest to find her parents.
As per usual with Pixar, the voice talent is on point. They bring in some rather large names for even the smallest of roles. Idris Elba shows up for just a couple lines in a little joke part. Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks return to form as if they just stopped playing the roles yesterday. Breathing a little bit of new life and different degrees of humor to the film are Ed O’Neil, Kaitlin Olson and Ty Burrell. They each brings a different shade and type of silly to culminate as one little collective of fun.
Is Finding Dory better than Finding Nemo? Eh, I’m not so sure that even really matters. What it is, is complimentary to the first film. It doesn’t really leap above or tread water with it, but it manages to extend the story, add to it and expand the brand without really doing any harm, but at the same time not rising above or taking it to the next level. Its just some really enjoyable bit of “more”. In all honesty, its a really interesting kind of situation in terms of where it stands here that we don’t see quite often. What is certain, is that its very good and was one of the best films of this past summer easily.
For this review, I had no issues with streaming it on both my laptop and my home theater setup. Things ran smooth with no interruptions, buffering pauses, quality shifts or stops. No video anomalies showed up as well. The image looked pretty crisp and as pristine as a stream will allow. Colors looked quite good. Blacks were pretty well done, except some dark depths of the ocean experienced a little bit of crushing. Overall, the image was ideal and about as top tiered as a stream could go without being a UHD stream.
Finding Dory comes with a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that really does the trick. No interruptions, distortion, quality changes or anything of the like happened during the streaming of this review. Sound was as top of the line as it could be from a compressed track. There is a some good fun to be had from all 5 channels in play. The sound is crisp and detailed. Vocals are prominent and clear in all scenes with no worry of music or loud sound effects getting in the way. Its a decent jaunt and gets the job done, but I’m looking forward to what the Blu-ray will have to offer in terms of surround sound.
DisneyMoviesAnywhere Exclusive Bonus
- Deleted Scene: Tank Gang (HD, 15:55) – An entire subplot featuring the characters in the tank from the previous film was excised from the film because it focused too much on Marlin and took away from Dory’s story. Its all here acted out in storyboard form.
- With Director Andrew Stanton, Co-Director Angus MacLane and Producer Lindsey Collins
- Marine Life Interviews (HD, 2:03) – Characters from the film are interviewed about Dory. It has a sort of old 1980s science class type aesthetic.
- Piper (HD, 6:04) – The short about birds on a beach that ran before Dory in theaters featuring insanely impressive animation.
Beyond The Story
- Deep In The Kelp (HD, 3:19) – A girl from some Disney Channel show guides a little piece about how Finding Dory animators and production designers studied the Monterey Bay Aquarium to cultivate environments and craft accuracy for the film.
Behind The Scenes
- Skating & Sketching With Jason Deamer (HD, 4:14) – After giving a little background on how he broke into Pixar through meeting some people via skateboarding then starting as a furniture mover, he goes over his artistic process, comparing things to skateboarding and visual cues that help him draw the characters.
- Animation & Acting (HD, 6:56) – Andrew Stanton and some of the cast (Ellen DeGeneres, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy, to name some) as well as some animators talk about the voice recording process and how its all put together. Features a lot of video of Stanton directing and the performers recording. The animators also get a spotlight where we really see how they get it done.
- Rough Day On The Reef (HD, 1:10) – A series of outtake clips where the rendering computer made a mistake or glitch that looked humorous.
- The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar (HD, 9:04) – Apparently Hank was quite tough to animate and really pushed the technologies and systems at Pixar. The animators talk about their challenges and ideas. Ed O’Neil and others also talk about where the character came from and some discarded ideas about him as well. We also get more on the research it takes to come up with these characters.
- What Were We Talking About? (HD, 4:24) – Andrew Stanton and company go over the challenge of crafting a whole story based on a character with short term memory loss. Stanton says he got the idea for it from reading that goldfish only have a memory of five seconds.
Bonus Scenes – These scenes all feature an introduction with Andrew Stanton who discusses what their original goal was along with why it ultimately was cut and how it better serves the story.
- Little Tension In Clown Town (HD, 7:31)
- Starting Over (HD, 22:16)
- Sleep Swimming (HD, 3:00)
- Dory Dumped (HD, 5:47)
- Meeting Hank (HD, 3:25)
- Introduction (HD, :53)
- The Pig (HD, 2:05)
- Losing Nemo (HD, 5:03)
Cast & Crew
- Creature Features (HD, 3:02) – Some of the cast give fun facts about the type of fish their characters are in the film.
- Casual Carpool (HD, 3:46) – A silly video about Andrew Stanton, Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy and Ty Burrell carpooling to work and forgetting Ed O’Neil.
Music & More
- Dory’s Theme (HD, 4:56) – Andrew Stanton sits with composer Thomas Newman and one of the music directors on the themes in the film.
- Stingrays (HD, :34) – A video of a group of stingrays swimming by.
- Hidden Secrets of Finding Dory (HD, 3:00) – A narrator goes over the easter eggs in the film.
- Finding Nemo As Told By Emoji (HD, 2:46) – Its exactly what the title says it is.
- Sea Grass (HD, :38) – Seriously…a video of just sea grass.
- Swim To The Surface (HD, 6:00) – A video that slowly goes from the ocean floor to the surface of the water.
- Open Ocean (HD, :34) – Just fish…swimming around
Promos & Trailers
- Fish Schticks (HD, 3:34)
- Sleep Swimming: United States Trailer (HD, 1:37)
- Theatrical Payoff: Japan Trailer (HD, 2:07)
- Journey: Russia Trailer (HD, 2:30)
- Can’t Remember: Spain Trailer (HD, 1:21)
Finding Dory is pretty worthy sequel to the original. Pixar seems to have a good handle on their follow ups. It helps they take so many years in between. On my viewing, this digital version of the film streamed very well with no interruption or dip in quality. The extras on this thing come aplenty, but there are some worthless ones that just feel like padding found in the “Etc.” section. This is definitely one to pick up…but I can’t recommend just going digital. I’m old school and a purist. Buy the Blu-ray edition and that will come with a digital copy code that includes this. You’ll also get a superior performance in both audio and video with the disc. This is very good though if you’re a streams and digital copy only person.