The Deacon’s Wife and I went to see “Finding Dory” Saturday night. Herewith, a quick overview of what I found—and didn’t—in this hugely popular sequel to the hugely popular “Finding Nemo.”
1. No lesbians. You may recall there was quite a kerfuffle a few weeks back about this being the first Disney movie to feature a gay couple. Well, no. That report turned out to be patently ridiculous. Relax.There are no overtly gay characters in the film. At all.
2. There’s a lot less at stake this time. The first film, telling the heart-tugging story of a father searching for his missing child, resonated. This, not so much. A confused and memory-challenged adult trying to find her parents is less riveting and involving. It can get a little draggy in places.
3. The new batch of characters aren’t as much fun as the old batch. Bruce the shark? Priceless. The octopus-turned septopus? Not so much. But I loved the seals, who reprise the “Mine! Mine! Mine” of the seagulls with “Off! Off! Off!” whenever someone tries to climb on their rock.
4. The world that director Andrew Stanton creates is still just plain stunning. You inhabit (to borrow a phrase) a whole new world. The detail is beautiful. The credibility, impeccable. It’s captivating to be (to borrow another phrase) part of that world.
5. The message of this movie matters. As much as it seems to be a conventional “quest” story, “Finding Dory” is also a story about what it means to be family. It might surprise some as old-fashioned that way—ultimately, it’s about a mother, a father, and their child—but the movie does hint at the broader implications of “family,” with Dory realizing that her newfound friends are, in fact, her family, too. And the movie includes this coda in the credits: “Dedicated to families of all kinds, who help us to just keep swimming.”
Bottom line: It’s a richly realized and emotionally satisfying movie that everyone in the family can enjoy. It’s not great, like “Finding Nemo,” but it’s awfully good, and that’s something. Also worth noting: the Pixar short preceding the feature, “Piper,” is a gorgeous and unbelievably cute parable about a little bird and the ocean. It compliments “Finding Dory” perfectly.