Finding a worthy sequel
Finding Dory doesn't quite find the magic of the original, but it does find its way, eventually proving itself a worthy sequel.Finding Nemo set a superb high for Disney/Pixar, and, thirteen years later, we return to the deep waters for another warm amnesiac adventure, this time focusing on the beloved, forgetful but unforgettable character of Dory as she searches both uncharted waters and the hidden recesses of her mind to find the family that have been looking for her ever since she disappeared when she was young. With Nemo and his dad now tasked with getting her back, the dual adventure mirrors the format of the original tale, but manages - certainly in its Dory thread - to hit some new notes along the way.The grown-up themes of Pixar's greatest hits are what make them so memorable, and so distinctive from their peers, and Finding Dory tries gallantly to establish itself as a worthy contender, succeeding undeniably when it comes to the short-term memory loss elements. It's almost an impossible task trying to live up to the highs of Nemo, but Dory certainly makes for an excellent companion-piece; another Pixar picture with a heart, providing a rich and rewarding outing full of wacky wonders, shocks and surprises, and more than enough laughs to keep you entertained, no matter what your age.
Picture QualityFinding Dory hits UK Region Free Blu-ray complete with impressive 2D 1080p/AVC-encoded and 3D 1080p/MVC-encoded High Defintion video presentations framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. The 2D sets the benchmark foundation for the added dimension, with Pixar's wondrous aquatic landscape lapping up the finest minutiae of offer. Nemo impresses to this day, but Dory is another level. The colours are striking and vibrant, vivid and rich, popping with primary intensity as they bring the environment to lush life. Black levels are strong and rich, allowing for impressive shadow detail. Eagle-eyed screen-freezers might catch a hint of banding, but, in motion, there's nothing here to complain about. It's demo and reference through and through, and lays a good foundation for the 3D.
It's demo and reference through and through
On the 3D front, Pixar continues to work wonders delivering sequences of tangible demo material to the flagging extra-dimension fans where live-action features struggle to even make a dent. There's some wonderful depth to the ocean, which expands out into the distance, whilst layers of middle- and fore-ground objects are fluidly injected into the landscape. There are some limitations to the content, with the open ocean not always offering up the depth back into the image that you'd hope for, but there are still some stand out moments. Characters are well-rounded and distinctive in terms of 3D-shaping, and action sequences allow them to pop around the screen with movement and fury.
Sound QualityFinding Dory's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track offers up equally impressive wonders on the aural front, bringing the environment to life with precision and - where necessary - a fair amount of punch. Dialogue is firmly prioritised across the frontal array (but for the instances where the vocal source is off-screen) whilst the score keeps the momentum going.
The soundtrack offers up equally impressive wonders on the aural front
It knows just when to heighten the heartbreaking touches of broken memories, or the feeling of being utterly lost in the void, fueling the surrounds across the duration. Effects pick up with fishes swimming furiously, the thrashing and splashing and out-of-water mayhem too, whilst the LFE gives the whole package some warm depth and resonance.
Steelbook ExtrasZavvi's UK-exclusive 2D/3D steelbook 3-disc Blu-ray release is packed to the brim, spilling out onto a second dedicated disc of extra features that are sure to keep fans engaged for hours on hours, whether you're interested in more Pixar fun, or just want some background into the piece. Pixar's Piper is a typically excellent short film (available in 2D and 3D), Marine Life Interviews offers faux interviews from characters in the movie, whilst the strong Audio Commentary from the Directors and Producer has them talk about the challenges of bringing the much-loved characters back to screen in an interesting new story. The Octopus that Nearly Broke Pixar looks at the most challenging character in their oeuvre; What Were We Talking About focuses on the difficulties of having a lead character with memory problems; Casual Carpool has the Director take a ride with some of the voice cast; Animation & Acting looks at the difficulties the voice cast have bringing animated characters to life; Creature Features has the voice cast talk a little more about their individual characters; and Deep in the Kelp looks at the research into making the marine life authentic.
The second disc comes complete with almost an hour of Deleted Scenes (admittedly incomplete) that further the adventure, and a quartet of animated Aquariums relax your mood. The 5-Part Behind the Scenes piece looks at Designing the characters, the music, some computer glitch gags, an emoji-told recap of the first movie and some humorous extra moments from the piece, and the second disc is rounded off by some Trailers.
The steelbook release is packed to the brim with extra features
The steelbook itself should have been a thing of beauty, designed to look perfect alongside its predecessor, lapping up the primary rich blue ocean backdrop and colourful characters popping out from it, but it's not quite as impressive as it could have been, with a slightly murky underwater image that struggles with the natural colours that it is trying to replicate, and doesn't quite celebrate the iconic central image of Dory in any particularly memorable way. Even the rear shot had some potential at evoking some rich, vibrant oranges, yellows and golds, but appears slightly restrained by the limits of steelbook finishes. It's a nice piece, but without an distinctive embossing, framing or striking artwork, it doesn't stand up alongside Nemo.
Blu-ray VerdictMore than enough to keep you entertained, no matter what your age
Finding Dory hits UK shores as part of an excellent 3-disc 2D/3D package which boasts a dedicated disc of extras and even comes in a steelbook flavour for those collectors out there. It's a great companion-piece to Finding Nemo, and well worth picking up.
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