Finding Dory (2017)

Baking Through Disney has hit quite the snag but I am working on catching up on some Pixar and Disney titles in the meantime. I needed a lighthearted movie and decided to give Finding Dory a go.

Lets check it out!

Finding Dory (2017)

Finding Dory

Director: Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane

Voice Cast:  Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy

The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish, Dory, begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way. – IMDB

Following the success of Finding Nemo, Pixar continues in this universe with Finding Dory. While it still features our favorite father and son clownfishes, this time’s star is Dory and her search for her parents and where she came from. Dory is a great supporting character in Finding Nemo but the question here is whether she can carry an entire movie by herself and that was also my hesitation. Other than the Toy Story trilogy, lets just say that I’ve been disappointed with Pixar sequels so this one had the same idea as making a movie out of the Minions from Despicable Me (which I haven’t seen but will soon since it just landed on Netflix) and Penguins from Madagascar (which I have seen and reviewed here). They turn out fun and a good time but never quite has the meaningful and memorable punch that some of the Pixar movies have been able to deliver.

Finding Dory

The good part is that Finding Dory delivered everything I expected it to be. It was fun and silly and had some hilarious characters and moments. Was it a necessary movie? Probably not. Its fairly easy to see where the story was going to go but it was a cute, especially the baby Dory was absolutely adorable. It had a nice message about family, just as Finding Nemo had but somehow, it felt like it still lacked a little bit more substance, maybe its because it felt so much like watching a Finding Nemo movie that it lacked some uniqueness. There’s been a lot of sequels for everything kind of movie in the last decade (maybe longer) so its hard to not hope that a sequel can deliver a little more.

finding dory

With all that said, Finding Dory excelled with some fun characters to match up the vibrantly forgetful Dory, voiced by the ever so talented Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen herself makes me happy so its hard to not love having an excuse to watch Dory’s origin story. Dory, Marlin and Nemo are exactly as fun as you would expect them to be. Of course, some of the new characters really did make it a lot of fun. Hank is a cranky octopus who wants to escape the aquarium and helps Dory only to get her ticket out of there. In the process, his many octopus abilities helps them out a lot while still realizing that a big scary octopus like him still has his fears. On the other hand, much nicer sea creatures here is Dory’s childhood friend, a whale shark called Destiny who they used to talk to via the aquarium pipes and Destiny’s aquarium neighbor, a Beluga whale who had a concussion and thinks he lost his sonar abilities. All of them together is absolutely a riot and its a ton of fun to watch.

Finding Dory

Overall, Finding Dory is a fun entertaining adventure and while there was some predictability in it, its still an enjoyable Pixar film. Pixar always comes with great animation and colorful palettes. The underwater aspect gives it this cool touch. While still the movies and has some level of imagination is a nice entry point for kids to know about different underwater creatures, I would imagine. Other parents who post about kids reaction to animated films probably would provide a better opinion on this. I loved marine animals (and still do) since I was a kid so whale sharks, beluga whales and colorful tropical fish, etc are all my favorite things so this movie really hit the spot for me on that level.

Opinion Battles Round 15 Favourite Pixar Movie

The next round of Opinion Battles is here! Its Round 15 and we are talking about our favorite Pixar movies! This was a hard choice especially since everyone else’s choice are equally great but Up has a special place in my heart.
Head over and check out the other choices and drop a vote!

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 15

Favourite Pixar Movie

With Finding Dory finally making it to England it is time to go into Pixar’s back category and pick our favourite of the company’s short history. They have broken our hearts over and over again bringing tears to our eyes many times.

If you want to take part in the next round of Opinion Battles we are celebrating the release of Suicide Squad by looking at our favourite villains from a Batman movie, the closing date is 6th August 2016 and email your choices to

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Toy Story 3ts 3

Toy Story 3 is the third chapter of the adventures of Woody and Buzz Lightyear who find themselves in the day care centre because Andy has reached college age. The fact this film represents the stage of life where we move on and will no longer need toys in…

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Inside Out (2015)

Going to the theatres two weeks in a row! Yay!  I’m catching up to my once a month theatre visit goal 😉 That seems easy but its not…

Yesterday night, we decided to head out to see Inside Out and we ended up having 4 friends join us as well.  It was absolutely crazy since it was Canada Day so everyone was out and about.  It was intense to find space in the parking lot and I thank the whole buying tickets online thing and being able to pick it up.  Technology rules, at least sometimes, right? 😉

Let’s check out Inside Out!!

Oh wait! Before that, as usual there’s a short before the main feature called Lava.  It looks something like this.

Lava Short

In short, animation was great, the music was cute but somehow hmmm, not quite as great as the past few that I’ve seen.

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out

Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen

Cast: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.-IMDB

At its 15th movie, Pixar has had generally a good run.  I think a lot of us can agree on that.  Although most of the movies are box office gems, how many are actually worthy of whipping up those emotions and being just totally epic? That’s a question I started asking myself.  Inside Out is one that does that.  Just like Toy Story works on the whole childhood thing, Inside Out flips around and lets us see whats going on in our brains as the emotions fight for their spot while a young girl is uprooted and moved to San Francisco.  While the initial concept of Inside Out had me doubting it a little, its easy to say that the trailers won me over fairly quickly and I was totally sold for this idea. The story itself is unique and the way they told it made us not only connect with the emotions, especially Joy and Sadness but lets us also connect with our main girl, Riley.

inside out

Pixar has wonderful animation.  There’s also something so beautiful about how they lay out the whole scene.  Inside Out is no exception.  Its simply wonderful to look at and perfectly sets the mood for where it wants the story to head.  Our characters all have their distinct feature, making them easy to connect to.  For example, Anger is red and Sadness is blue.  Our emotions are color-coded as well and that simplifies this plot a little.  I’m pretty sure that kids can relate with the imaginary friend and memories they have with parents, older children might connect with the whole puberty or school or new environment and adults will go in maybe churning up and remembering some of their childhood memories.  At the same time, we also get to remember that sadness and joy (and the other emotions) come hand in hand.  They all connect together to make us appreciate each moment even more.  Whats a story without having something we can take away from it, right? Right!

Inside Out

Plus, the voice acting.  Man, it was so fun.  The voice cast is outstanding with Amy Poehler being the bright and positive Joy and Phyllis Smith being the depressed Sadness. Disgust was believable with an attitude with Mindy Kaling adding some style and sass.  Whereas, Anger, voiced by Lewis Black was by far the most hotheaded one that brought on a ton of humor and his whole dynamic with Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) was awesome.  Having great vocal talents adds to any animation because its who brings the characters to life and the enthusiasm and personality each character had was completely believable. Moving on to the outside, Mom was voiced by Diane Lane, very much to my surprise.  Especially since I’ve been thinking of rewatching Unfaithful.  Besides the point, Mom and Dad’s emotions was great (as we saw in the trailer).  That part was hilarious.

Inside Out

I really want to give it a little more mention to Riley.  She’s an eleven year old girl.  While I can’t relate to the whole moving to a new city and starting over and that sort of emotional burden, there’s a lot of Riley’s life that we see in memories.  She’s just like any girl out there.  Seeing her life as seen from the inside, you can’t help be wonder a little because Pixar thought it out so well of how to portray the stages of life and the importance of our emotions.  Connecting to Riley’s life is kind of like a journey through our own.  Some of those memories, especially core ones (as they call it), like family really turns this into a heartwarming and emotional journey.

Overall, Inside Out is a unique story and has a great vocal cast to back it up.  Its able to mix a good balance of humor and emotions into the plot to make it memorable, while carrying a message about the importance of our memories and how certain memories stay with us while others are forgotten, about moving on, about changes and most importantly, that no emotion can stand-alone because one emotion will trigger another one to make things even better.  Why is Inside Out a definitely hit and a must see? Its because it connects well with the audience through our own memories and how we can relate to Riley even if we’re not a child anymore.  It’ll tug a little on our heartstrings and play on our own emotions.  I can tell you, at a few parts, I started getting all teary eyed.  Inside Out is quite simply awesome.  There are no other words to describe it.  There are fun characters and lots of laughs to be had between all the emotional moments.

Have you seen Inside Out? What did you think about it?

Brave (2012)

Now I’m getting amazed at myself.  One movie a week and both that I had anticipated this year. This one I had wanted to see for the last few weeks but never actually got a chance due to going away on vacation, and my boyfriend was interested in other movies, etc.  So what do I do? My best friend and I had a girl’s day out and went to catch Pixar‘s newest feature, Brave.

Overall, the experience was fantastic, making that 45 minute walk in 38C hot and humid weather to the farther theatre so much more worth it.  We saw pretty interesting previews also.  I had already seen on Youtube the ones for Despicable Me 2 and Hotel Transylvania but it also had the previews for Monster University (next year’s Pixar, I believe) which looked funny, and Wreck It Ralph, which I’m still thinking if it will be good.  I’ll see if other trailers come out closer to the release date to get a better idea of what to anticipate.

The other treat we usually get with our Pixar movies are the short films.  This year’s is called La Luna.  I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  The concept was cute, humorous and simple but definitely original.  It was appealing and warmed our hearts.  If you get a chance, do check it out.  I don’t want to go too much into detail because it is a short movie so there’s not much saying the plot that wouldn’t ruin the experience.

Now we get down to business.  The main feature, Brave is pretty much a movie about a princess who wants to take her life in her own hands.  She wants to change her fate and destiny simply by winning her own hand of marriage for starters.  Our princess, Merida  was a charismatic one with a cute accent and a great personality.  To some, Pixar finally falling into a princess movie to follow the line of Disney‘s long line of classic princesses might not be appealing.  To me, this princess, Merida was very different.  She portrayed a more free minded princess who didn’t want to be saved by Prince Charming.  In fact, the movie didn’t have much of any male leads except for the king (Merida’s father) and the 3 clans who came to have their first borns win her hand in marriage.  Brave featured pretty strong-minded women.  Even the king Fergus was not as good as working the crowd and controlling the environment in the room as well as his queen, Elinor’s ability to do that.  She stood up to protect when she needed to in a more emotional and psychological way whereas the men were portrayed as more physical protection.

There were a few things that stood out in this movie more than others.  I like the whole concept of taking your fate into your own hands a whole lot because it broke out of the normal and it does send a nice message to the new generation. Second, I liked how they utilized the concept of freedom.  It also shows you that everything comes with a cost.  “Are you willing to pay the price that your freedom will cost you?” The lesson behind this story was the story not only that you can change your fate, you can earn your freedom but in order to do that, you need to know that there’s always a price to pay.  Its never a free lunch.  For her, it was meeting a witch and hoping that things would change, that her fate would change but of course, we know that course of events never simply go as planned and she learns in the process of the value of responsibility for your choices and actions, and of the costs of earning what you want, but most of all, it leads us to learn something else and thats the third concept in this movie that I enjoyed. The third concept was there because it wasn’t about romance or finding Prince Charming, instead they replaced it with a family bond, the mother-daughter relationship.  This was definitely an original idea, especially for Pixar.  It showed its new ideas to touch the screen.  It set itself apart from any other princess movie.  It lead us to pull our heartstrings and keep us attached to the characters.

Aside from portraying some fantastic themes, this animated feature was very appealing to watch.  Exactly what you would expect from Pixar of course, its a standard they’ve been good at.  All the characters added a bit to the storyline, whether it was to move the story along or simply to bring in a few laughs, it was absolutely worth it.  You could hear that they successfully made us attached to the characters as when certain things happened, you could hear the audience react.  In an animated feature, we don’t expect too much from acting, more tha vocal talent which I will look at later on.  We look at the storyline, the characters they’ve developed for it, the animation itself’s quality.  With Pixar, we never truly question the quality as they’ve always brought us the best.

Now, vocal talents. Queen Elinor was done by Emma Thompson and she was simply fantastic at it.  King Fergus was voiced by Bill Connolly and he gave the King a humorous and witty spirit. Merida was voiced by Kelly Macdonald and she was great at giving life to a rebellious princess.  We had the three sons of King and Queen and they were just silly little rascals who brought in laughs in the most serious situations.  I think that is really important, especially in animated features.  The tone should never tense up too much because it should be geared towards a more lighthearted crowd.

Overall, it as a great experience.  I enjoyed the fact that Pixar did a princess movie and gave it its own twist.  It was not only original for that but also the fact that it gave us a focus on family values and relationships.