Adventure Animation

'Finding Dory' Blu-ray Review: Pixar's latest sequel proves as memorable as it is endearing

November 15, 2016Ben MK

With sequels, there's always a risk of coming off as unoriginal. Thankfully, for a studio like Pixar, which prides itself on originality, that's seldom a problem. Of course, that's not to say that Pixar hasn't delivered the odd, underwhelming followup from time to time — ahem, Cars 2 — but, by and large, their continuing storylines have proven just as engaging as the original films that inspired them.

Pixar's latest, Finding Dory, is a prime example of the studio's immense talent for weaving enchanting, new tales from its vast stable of beloved characters. Focusing on everyone's favorite forgetful and lovable blue tang, the film follows Finding Nemo's Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), as she, clownfish Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and his dad, Marlin (Albert Brooks), embark on a journey across the Pacific Ocean to the Marine Life Institute in Morro Bay, California, in search of Dory's long-lost parents, Jenny and Charlie (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy).

Along the way, the trio encounter a host of offbeat characters, including a cranky octopus named Hank (Ed O'Neill), a nearsighted whale shark named Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a self-doubting beluga whale named Bailey (Ty Burrell), and a couple of helpful sea lions (Idris Elba and Dominic West). And though there's no outright villain anywhere to be found, you'd be hard-pressed to notice, as the charming script by director Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse serves up no shortage of entertaining challenges, with most rooted in Dory's short-term memory impairment.

Co-directed by Angus MacLane, the result is one of those rare sequels that blatantly reprises the general story arc and revisits the overall themes of its predecessor, yet, in doing so, it somehow manages not to feel stale. On the contrary, if you're one of the millions of moviegoers who loved Finding Nemo, you'll be equally enamored with Finding Dory, as it takes everything that was great about the original — the gorgeous visuals, the memorable characters, and the warmth and the humor — and updates it ever-so-slightly for a whole new generation.

Just as Finding Dory makes for a swimming followup to Finding Nemo, its Blu-ray presentation thoroughly lives up to the high expectations set by previous Pixar releases. This bright and colorful 1080p image is flawless, from the minute details found in the CG characters' scales, fur and feathers, to the photorealistic flourishes that bring to life such environments as an underwater kelp forest and a sprawling aquarium exhibit. Likewise, the top-notch picture quality is bolstered by a robust DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix, which channels dialogue and music with the utmost clarity, surrounding viewers with such sounds as splashing water, squawking seagulls and chittering otters.

Disney's three-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an iTunes digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Piper (6:05) - The animated short that preceded Finding Dory in theaters.
  • Marine Life Interviews (2:04) - A brand-new animated short in which the animals at the Marine Life Institute talk about their encounter with Dory.
  • The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar (9:05) - A piece about the research, character design and computer animation that went into creating Hank the octopus, "the most complicated character" Pixar has ever made.
  • What Were We Talking About? (4:31) - The filmmakers talk about the character of Dory and the challenges and benefits of having a main character with short-term memory loss.
  • Casual Carpool (3:47) - A humorous bit in which director Andrew Stanton and actors Albert Brooks, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Ed O'Neill carpool to a day of work at the studio.
  • Animation & Acting (6:57) - A featurette about how the actors' vocal performances influenced the animation of their characters.
  • Deep In The Kelp (3:20) - Jenna Ortega, from Disney Channel's Stuck in the Middle, hosts this piece about the exhaustive research the Pixar team conducted at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • Creature Features (3:02) - The cast talk about their characters and dole out fun facts about their respective species.
  • Feature Commentary - Director Andrew Stanton, Co-Director Angus MacLane and Producer Lindsey Collins talk about the origins of the movie, the development of the story, the characters, the actors' performances, the musical score, the narrative devices and set-pieces, and more.
  • Behind The Scenes (16:44) - Two brief featurettes that touch on the work of Character Art Director Jason Deamer, Composer Tom Newman and Music Editor Bill Bernstein ("Skating & Sketching With Jason Deamer" and "Dory's Theme"), as well as three brief pieces that are decidedly more humorous in nature ("Rough Day On The Reef," "Finding Nemo As Told By Emoji" and "Fish Schticks").
  • Living Aquariums (9:43:24) - Four animated backgrounds that turn your television into a living aquarium ("Sea Grass," "Open Ocean," "Stingrays" and "Swim To The Surface").
  • Deleted Scenes (50:15) - Eight scenes, each preceded by an introduction by director Andrew Stanton ("Introduction," "Losing Nemo," "Sleep Swimming," "Little Tension In Clown Town," "Meeting Hank," "The Pig," "Dory Dumped" and "Starting Over").
  • Trailers (7:45) - Four international trailers for the film ("Sleep Swimming United States Trailer," "Theatrical Payoff Japan Trailer," "Can't Remember Spain Trailer" and "Journey Russia Trailer").

Finding Dory is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of November 15th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 37 Mins.

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