more from decider

What's New On Netflix August 2017: Netflix Movies, Netflix Shows, Netflix Originals, And More
What's New On Netflix August 2017: Netflix Movies, Netflix Shows, Netflix...
What's New On Amazon Prime Video August 2017: 'The Tick', 'Nick & Megan: Summer of 69', Meryl Streep, And More
What's New On Amazon Prime Video August 2017: 'The Tick', 'Nick &...
What's New On Hulu August 2017: 'Spider-Man,' 'Difficult People,' 'Saw,' And More
What's New On Hulu August 2017: 'Spider-Man,' 'Difficult People,' 'Saw,'...
What's New On HBO Now August 2017: 'The Ring,' 'Incredible Hulk,' 'Fantastic Beasts,' And More
What's New On HBO Now August 2017: 'The Ring,' 'Incredible Hulk,'...
The 12 Best Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix: August 2017
The 12 Best Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix: August 2017
What's New On Showtime August 2017: 'Ray Donovan', 'Hell or High Water', 'Whitney: Can I Be Me', And More
What's New On Showtime August 2017: 'Ray Donovan', 'Hell or High Water',...
What’s New On STARZ August 2017: 'Charlie's Angels,' 'The Patriot,' 'The Birdcage,' And More
What’s New On STARZ August 2017: 'Charlie's Angels,' 'The Patriot,' 'The...
What's New On Sundance Now August 2017: 'Bronson,' 'All Good Things,' 'Take This Waltz,' And More
What's New On Sundance Now August 2017: 'Bronson,' 'All Good Things,'...
What's New On Shudder August 2017: 'Cooties,' 'Battle Royale,' 'The Wraith,' And More
What's New On Shudder August 2017: 'Cooties,' 'Battle Royale,' 'The...
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Netflix In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Netflix In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Hulu In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Hulu In August
What's New On BritBox August 2017: 'In The Dark,' 'Vera,' 'Life of Crime,' And More
What's New On BritBox August 2017: 'In The Dark,' 'Vera,' 'Life of Crime,'...

Weekend Watch: ‘Finding Dory,’ the $486 Million Under-the Radar Movie

Where to Stream

Finding Dory

Weekend Watch is here for you. Every Friday we’re going to recommend the best of what’s new to rent on VOD or stream for free. It’s your weekend; allow us to make it better. 

What to Stream This Weekend

Opinions are as varied as — forgive me the on-the-nose metaphor — fish in the sea when it comes to people’s favorite Pixar movie. There are Toy Story partisans and Ratatouille people and all those WALL-E fans. For me, 2003’s Finding Nemo was always my favorite. The brilliantly colorful underwater animation was dazzling, the story — about a neurotic single-father clownfish named Marlin who’s searching for his young son who’s gone missing — was simple and affecting, and thanks to the voices of Albert Brooks and Ellen Degeneres, it was wonderfully funny. And it was also a massive moneymaker. It remained the highest grossing Pixar movie for seven years, until Toy Story 3 bested it. And then, last year, both those movies were demolished by Finding Dory, which currently stands as the highest-grossing animated movie of all time.

So why is it that Finding Dory made $486 million in domestic box-office and yet nobody talked about it. I suppose there’s a sort of poetry to the fact that a spin-off about Dory — daffy, batty, short-term-memory-loss Dory — would be almost immediately forgotten by the pop-culture conversation. But it’s also a terrible shame, considering Finding Dory deserved more than just to be thrown on the heap with other cash-grab Pixar singles like Cars 2 and Monsters University. On one level, yes, it’s a dismaying trend that a studio like Pixar, which once prided itself on its creative ideas for animated features — particularly as opposed to Disney, which had handcuffed itself to fairy tales and princesses — is now defaulting to sequels for all of its best movies (and Cars), but Finding Dory is clearly a cut above.

Shifting focus from Marlin to Dory is beneficial, if a risky gambit when you consider the narrative challenges of crafting a story around a character who can’t remember anything. The movie begins with a flashback to guppy Dory with her parents (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy), who dote on her and try to keep her safe, giving her strategies to help her deal with her memory condition. As we all know must happen, Dory gets lost … and more lost … and more lost, until the moment she meets Marlin (between this movie and Rogue One, there’s probably something to be said about the year’s two biggest blockbusters filling in the gaps of their respective mythologies, right up to the moment before the original films begin). And then, a year after the events of Finding Nemo, Dory gets a flash of memory about her parents. She remembers their names (Jenny and Charlie), and a location (the Jewel of Morro Bay), and before you know it, she and Marlin and Nemo are shooting off in the California current, bound for America.

The biggest criticism one could lay at the feet (fins?) of Finding Dory is that it follows so closely to the narrative of Finding Nemo. Dory becomes separated from Marlin and Nemo, meets a colorful cast of new characters (with Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, and Ty Burrell giving great voice performances), and learns some lessons about her own self worth, while at the same time, Marlin learns how much Dory means to him and that he should probably lighten up. All true. To these charges, Finding Dory must plead guilty. But for one thing, putting Dory at the center puts Degeneres’ vocal performance at the center, and she’s more than up to the challenge. A character like Dory risks becoming as maddening to the audience as she is to her fellow characters, but the script (by director Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse) and Degeneres herself keep giving Dory these moments of awareness and gumption; they let her learn, bit by bit. As the grumpy yin to her optimistic yang, O’Neill’s character of Hank the octopus is a success. Rather than a mere exasperated foil — another Marlin — Hank is a darker character, and the fact that the movie doesn’t let you know whether you (or Dory) can trust him keeps him interesting.

All told, it’s another beautifully animated, touching Pixar movie with some great vocal performances (Kaitlin Olson plays a whale who pays off a joke from Finding Nemo and then keeps finding ways to make it funny). Well worth remembering.

Stream Finding Dory on Netflix.

Decider

Get the Newsletter.

Sign up for news, stories, offers, and more, all from Decider's Webby Award-nominated newsletter.

By clicking above you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

X