Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s four big releases, including “Finding Dory,” the buddy comedy “Central Intelligence” with Duane Johnson and Kevin Hart, and a duo of documentaries, “De Palma,” an unflinching look at the films of Brian De Palma and the self explanatory “Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”
Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Todd Van der Heyden chat up the weekend’s big releases, including “Finding Dory,” the literary bio “Genius” with Jude Law and Colin Firth, and a duo of documentaries, “De Palma,” an unflinching look at the films of Brian De Palma and the self explanatory “Raiders! The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.”
Years ago my now-wife and I went to see a particularly grim horror movie. Despite “watching” the entire film through her fingers, as though she could shield her face from the gallons of blood ’n guts on display, the creepfest jangled her nerves so badly we had to go see Finding Nemo directly afterwards as a palate cleanser.
Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Dory’s (Ellen Degeneres) underwater road trip to find Marlin’s lost son Nemo, coupled with gorgeous animation and warm-hearted humour, calmed her and because of Pixar there were no bad dreams that night.
Roger Ebert called the family classic “a delight,” and parents snapped up so many of them it became the best-selling DVD ever. Disney is clearly hoping those good feelings have lingered over the 13 years since Nemo first made a splash. This weekend Finding Dory enters a crowded summer season, one already stuffed to the gills with sequels, reboots and reimaginings.
The original cast return (save for Alexander Gould who aged out of voicing Nemo) along with Idris Elba, Diane Keaton and Kate McKinnon. Will that be enough to mine gold when recent sequels have come up empty?
Hollywood wisdom says audiences want familiarity, characters and brands they already know and love, but this year moviegoers have rejected repackaged ideas. Zoolander 2, Ride Along 2, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Alice Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse and TMNT: Out of the Shadows all under performed in what the Hollywood Reporter is calling the Summer of Sequelitis.
For the record. I think Finding Dory will do just fine. Not just because Pixar is the gold standard in animation or because it has a story audiences will connect with but because it’s good.
Do I think moviegoers are suffering from Sequelitis? No. Many of this year’s sequels have stiffed because they weren’t very good. The best thing about Zoolander 2 is that it was so unfunny it’s hard to imagine Ben Stiller and Company making a third.
Perhaps the dip in box-office returns for cinematic re-treads is just what Hollywood needs and they’ll realize a constant diet of movies with numbers and colons in the title — or worse, both, as in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising — is not as appetizing to audiences as they think.
Executives are scared. Pitch Perfect 3, the planned follow up to the $287.5 million grossing Pitch Perfect 2, has been delayed while Universal waits to see whether the sequel slump is a passing phase. In the meantime, expect more than one sequel-crazed studio suit to say, “Thank you Pixar,” when Finding Dory reels in the top spot.
“Finding Nemo” hooked Roger Ebert so deeply he called the animated fish tale “a delight.” Families loved the story of clownfish Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and forgetful blue tang Dory’s (voice of Ellen Degeneres) underwater road trip to find the wayward Nemo so much they reeled in millions of digital video discs, making it the best-selling DVD ever.
That film is held near and dear by many, including me. Years ago my now wife and I went to see a particularly grim horror movie. Despite “watching” the entire film through her fingers the creep fest rattled her so badly we had to go see “Finding Nemo” directly afterwards as a palate cleanser. It worked, the story coupled with gorgeous animation and warm-hearted humour soothed her jangled nerves and because of Pixar there were no nightmares that night.
Disney and Pixar are clearly hoping those good feelings have lingered over the thirteen years since Nemo first made a splash. This weekend “Finding Dory” enters a crowded summer season, one already stuffed to the gills with sequels, reboots and reimaginings.
As the new movie begins it’s one year after the events of the first film. Dory is still a charmingly dippy and forgetful fish—“ I suffer from short-term memory loss,” she says, “it runs in my family. At least I think it does.”—now living with her adopted family, Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence) and the overprotective Marlin inside a sea anemone in the Great Barrier Reef.
When Dory accompanies Nemo on a school trip old memories are stirred up when she sees manta rays migrate back to their homes. “I remembered something,” she squeals. “That’s not possible, is it? Okay, is it like a picture in your head and then you think I’ve seen this before?” Struck with a bad case of homesickness, she has hazy childhood memories of her folks Jenny and Charlie (voices of Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and a place called “the jewel of Morro Bay, California.” With Nemo and Marlin at her side, she sets off to find her biological family, eventually arriving at the Marine Life Institute where a cranky octopus named Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), Bailey the beluga whale (voice of Ty Burrell) and whale shark Destiny (voice of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Kaitlin Olson) help in her quest.
As a-Dory-ble as “Finding Dory” may be, it swims in slightly murkier water than “Finding Nemo.” Director Andrew Stanton—the mind behind two classics “WALL·E” and “Finding Nemo”—mines “Nemo” nostalgia for all its worth, occasionally relying on that movie’s goodwill to smooth the way for the new story. He has lots to fall back on, likeable characters with expressive fish faces and fun voice work from Degeneres, Brooks and franchise newcomers Keaton, Levy, O’Neill and Burrell, but it isn’t just a nostalgia fest.
Stanton skilfully weaves in many heart-tugging moments, particularly as Dory’s journey nears its end. No spoilers here, but after a familiar-feeling first half the movie carefully balances action adventure with touching family flourishes in the second half.
Visually, this may be Pixar’s most accomplished movie to date. Spectacular, imaginative 3D animation provides visual interest even when the story sporadically washes out. Stanton and his Pixar wizards create underwater, and sometimes-above sea level, worlds that immerse the viewer.
“Finding Dory” is wonderfully made all-ages entertainment with lots of heart, in fact, octopus Hank has three of them! That it somehow makes us feel real emotion for cold-blooded fish may be its greatest achievement. It suffers only in comparison to its classic predecessor.
Fish aren’t cuddly. The scales, the smell and the cold blooded nature of the species make them difficult to hug, let alone curl up with. That perception will likely change with the release of Finding Nemo, a film that will do for fish what Babe did for pigs. That is, make them seem like something more than just an accompaniment for French fries.
Pixar, (in co-operation with Disney) the clever animators behind Toy Story and Monsters Inc, are back with a story about a young clownfish named Nemo (Alexander Gould) who gets separated from Marlin (Albert Brooks), his over protected father. With the help of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a blue fish with short term memory loss, Marlin desperately searches for his son. In the process he learns about himself and love while risking life and fin to find his son.
The story is typical Disney claptrap, a tale that hits the same emotional buttons that have marked kid’s films since Bambi was a fawn. But it’s not the story that recommends Finding Nemo and makes it the achievement that it is.
The script is tight and quite funny (although in a more subtle way than previous Pixar creations) but it is the visuals that overwhelm. The computer geeks at Pixar have imbued their undersea world with such feeling and splendour that it is hard to believe it isn’t real, that it is, in fact, nothing more than cleverly arranged binary code. The colours and textures of the sea literally come alive on the screen and show a real eye for detail. Particularly eye-popping is the jelly-fish sequence, a beautifully realized scene in which Marlin and Dory must navigate their way through a school of opaque stinging sea creatures.
Albert Brooks heads the cast as Marlin. He’s neurotic, not unlike many of the characters Brooks has played before, but is charmingly so. This may be his best role since Broadcast News. When he deadpans that, despite the name, clownfish aren’t really all that funny, you know the part was written for him. Ellen DeGeneres brings considerable charm to the scatterbrained Dory, while Willem Dafoe and Geoffrey Rush also contribute voices.
Finding Nemo is more than just a technical marvel; it is a computer animated film that transcends the animation to become a film which will engage the heart as well as the mind.