Before we can get into a brief review of the movie itself, and further, a detailed review of the Blu-ray Limited Edition release from Best Buy… we need a snack! And what better candy to nibble on when reviewing Finding Dory than:
A Fin-tastic Mix!
Well, if you’re all settled in with Jelly Belly Beans in hand, let’s start with a brief review of the movie, Finding Dory, itself:
I’ve made no bones about the fact that I don’t like sequels. And I was very upset to see Pixar follow Disney into Sequel Hell soon after the merger of the two companies. But I’ve recently learned that Pixar was already planning sequels before the merger in an attempt to remain lucrative, which from a business standpoint, makes sense.
So I went into this movie with reservations (mainly because I wasn’t impressed with the premise) but determined to give it a fair chance. I’m glad I did because although I don’t think it was better than the original, which some claim, it was a fun swim through a familiar ocean.
Synopsis: Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The one thing she can remember is that she somehow became separated from her parents as a child. With help from her friends Nemo and Marlin, Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them. Her journey brings her to the Marine Life Institute, a conservatory that houses diverse ocean species. Dory now knows that her family reunion will only happen if she can save mom and dad from captivity.
There were many holes in this movie but both Hank the septapus and Gerald the sea-lion made it worthwhile. I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 Stars.
And with that, let’s move on to the Blu-ray release:
MAIN DISC: BLU-RAY
Movie w/Commentary – On the main Blu-ray disc you get the movie with an optional commentary with three people, one of whom is Director Andrew Stanton. The commentary is informative. Listen for hints about Easter Eggs, who constitute ‘Jerk Fish’, and which Finding Dory character was voiced by original Nemo voice actor Alexander Gould. Hint: it ain’t Nemo! Oh, and we are told to watch for a shoplifter in the scene where Marlin and Nemo end up in a display tank just outside of a souvenir shop. Happy hunting!
Theatrical Short – Piper
Previews – There are two previews of upcoming theatrical releases; Moana (already No.1 in theaters at the time of this writing) and the live-action Beauty and the Beast.
- Marine Life Interviews – Animated characters talk about Dory.
- The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar – Learn how Hank vexed the animators.
- What Were We Talking About? – Dory’s short-term memory loss is discussed.
- Casual Carpool – Andrew Stanton picks up the voice actors to make sure they get to work on time!
- Animation and Acting – The staff talk about making the movie sincere and real.
- Deep in the Kelp – Jenna Ortega hosts a look at the research trips taken while making the movie.
- Creature Features – The voice actors describe their characters.
Most of these extras were short and to the point and offered nothing overly new about the movie-making process. But Casual Carpool was hilarious! It reminded me of the fun and innovative ways Pixar used to present their extras.
Sneak Peeks – A look at the Disney Store and Disney on Ice, along with miscellaneous advertising.
EXTRAS DISC: BLU-RAY
Behind the Scenes
- Skating and Sketching – Jason Deamer explains the simple shapes used to create each character.
- Dory’s Theme – Discussion about the music between Andrew Stanton and others.
- Rough Day on the Reef – A goof reel containing rendering mistakes by the computers.
- Finding Nemo – A Short depicting the first movie as told by Disney Emoji.
- Fish Schticks – A collection of short animated gags starring the characters.
Living Aquariums – Four screen savers lifted from scenes in the movie.
- Sea Grass – A tad boring.
- Open Ocean – Very detailed.
- Stingrays – Beautiful but just a clip of the stingray migration from the film.
- Swim to the Surface – The closing scene behind the end credits.
These weren’t as well done as the aquariums you got with the Finding Nemo DVD. So in the words of Bloat from the original film: “Pity.”
Deleted Scenes – With Andrew Stanton. A collection of scenes that weren’t ‘asked back’.
Trailers – See how the film was marketed in four different countries.
- United States
And that was it for Extras. I would give the extras with this release 4 out of 5 Stars. I will never give any higher marks to extras until they once again equal what we used to get with the 2-disc DVD Platinum releases!
Lastly, we come to the special feature of this Blu-ray release. If you purchase it from Best Buy, you also get a 69-page activity book:
- Fun Movie Scenes – Stills from the movie.
- Scene Development – Concept Art.
- Family & Friends Kelp (or Family Tree).
- Weekly Calendar
- Find Hank – Find the septapus in 5 different scenes from the movie.
- Sea Search – Find 11 characters from the movie in a picture.
- Favorite Quotes
- Character Development – Early concept drawings.
- Marlin’s Maze
- Coloring Page(s)
- Spot the Differences
- Dory’s Word Search
- Crossword Puzzle
- List Your Favorite Memories
- Things to Remember – Birthdays; Special Events; Chores; Other Stuff.
- To Do List
- Connect the Dots
- Trace Bailey
- Rescue Hank – Maze.
- Which Character Are You Most Like? – Quiz.
- Who’s Who Game – Match the character to their name.
- Note Pages
- Memory Card Game – Cut out square tiles with character images for matching fun.
- Two-Sided Nameplate – Hank and Destiny.
- Two-Sided Door Hanger – “Come On In!” and “Go Away!”
- Sticker Sheet
I would give this Activity Book 5 out of 5 Stars easily! Although the extra price tag when buying this edition of the movie may make it a bit expensive.
If you’re still with me after all of that then you probably feel about as perky as Marlin after his second trip across The Big Blue! So as a consolation prize, gaze one last time on the jelly bean goodness of Jelly Belly:
And I say ‘more please’ because I ate all of these soon after I purchased them and days before I got around to writing this post. So seriously, someone, GET ME MORE!
While you’re working on that, why not check out an Easter Egg from the movie that they don’t mention with the other extras on the Blu-ray release! It has to do with Dory, Hank, and Herbie the Love Bug. Did you catch it when you watched the movie?