Blu-ray
Recommended
4 stars
List Price
$22.99
Amazon
$19.14 (17%)
3rd Party
$7.10
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Overall Grade
4 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3 Stars
HD Video Quality
5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4.5 Stars
Supplements
1 Stars
High-Def Extras
2.5 Stars
Bottom Line
Recommended

Finding Dory

Street Date:
November 15th, 2016
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 8th, 2016
Movie Release Year:
2016
Studio:
Disney/Buena Vista
Length:
103 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
PG
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Thirteen years after Nemo was found -- or one year in the story's universe -- 'Finding Dory' sends Nemo, Marlin, and the titular Dory on another seafaring adventure, this time to locate Dory's missing family. You see, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) was born with a short-term memory disorder. As a baby fish, Dory's loving parents coach her to remember as much as she could, just keep swimming, and let strangers know of her memory issues if she repeated herself too often.

Tragically, Dory finds herself alone in a great big ocean, lost and looking for her family. Her memory fading and slipping with each passing hour until she doesn't even recall what she's lost or looking to find. Then one day she crashes into a frantic father looking for his lost son where her abilities to read English and speak Whale help save the day.

'Finding Dory' picks up a year later, with Dory having a flashback to her childhood. Dory remembers that she has a family and used to live in the "Jewel of Morro Bay". Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) agree to join Dory on her quest despite Marlin's fears, but the trio becomes separated after a run-in with a hungry squid. Dory winds up in quarantine at the Marine Institute where she once lived, but is tagged for shipping to an aquarium in Cleveland and may never reunite with her family. Fortunately, Dory befriends Hank (Ed O'Neill), an ornery Octopus who wants Dory's Cleveland tag and agrees to transport Dory to the Institute's various exhibits in hopes of finding Dory's family. Nemo and Marlin wind up trapped outside the Marine Institute where they befriend two English seals (Idris Elba and Dominic West), and strange loon named Becky. who help them break inside to save their missing friend before she's sent to Cleveland.

Does Dory find her family in time? Does Hank get to go to Cleveland? Does Nemo need to be found again?

You need to watch to find out those details, of course, and you'll have a pretty good time going along on this journey.

'Dory' is a fun family adventure that's been beautifully rendered, offering numerous gags and delights in this literal fish-out-of-water story. I appreciate the film's clever set-pieces and engaging new characters, particularly the way the fish must navigate the world above the water. Much like the first film, there's a fun ticking-clock element, and attention to detail in both location and the character design is top notch. I also think it's important for family films to be made about our natural world if for no other reason than they might inspire our children to become natural scientists or instill a need to protect delicate environments.

That said, 'Finding Dory' is a lot like watching 'Monster's University' -- it's pretty and most of it works, but it never finds a way to escape the shadow of a vastly superior first film.

'Nemo' stands above because it blends gut-wrenching emotional stakes with an exceptionally tight story and perfectly themed character journey about what it means to be a parent in an unpredictable world -- every parent's nightmare come to life with endlessly brilliant jokes woven in to make the experience more palatable. 'Dory' has a lot of the jokes, but underwhelms in terms character arcs and theme, simply doling out new flashbacks to drive the plot forwards. In a way, it's a bit like a 'Bourne' movie, only less bold because Dory's not actually trying to find herself, literally or thematically. Also, many of the film's twists feel overly convenient and coincidental, which further reduce any sense of jeopardy.

Ultimately, were it not for the beautiful world and Pixar-humor, I probably would have turned this one off. Kids will eat it up, which isn't a horrible thing; the movie is quite fun. But stand this next to more resonant adventures like 'Inside Out', 'Up', 'Toy Story 3', and 'Finding Nemo', and we're not even in the same league, sadly.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

'Finding Dory' just keeps swimming onto Blu-ray as part of a three-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack. The FEATURE Blu-ray includes the movie itself as well as half the special features, while the BONUS Blu-ray houses the remaining special features. The included Digital HD redemption instructions work with Disney Movies Anywhere and can be redeemed through a variety of services, including iTunes, VUDU, and Amazon. Pre-Menu trailers on the FEATURE Blu-ray include Disney Movies Anywhere, 'Moana', and a 'Beauty and the Beast' (live action) teaser.

PLEASE NOTE: 'Finding Dory' is also available as part of a 3D Combo Pack, and at least one retail exclusive Steelbook edition, but as of today, these other editions have not been provided for review.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Nothing is more HD-glorious than watching a lovingly rendered CG animated film. It's as close to perfect as the medium gets. Like many a Pixar joint, 'Find Dory' offers a gorgeous AVC MPEG-4 encode framed in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

Bright, brilliant, vivid, and sharp, 'Finding Dory' looks so good on my loaner 65" LG E6 OLED Ultra HD display that I wondered if anyone had snuck HDR and wide color gamut onto this Blu-ray. The film's aquatic imagery is nothing short of remarkable from first frame to last. Every fine detail on the character designs, every bold color above and below the water line, and every location sparkle with endless clarity that's so good, the textures jump from animation to photo real. Honestly, it's a breathtaking production rendered as well as any Pixar film that's come before it. I'm always ready to find flaws like an encoding error or imperfect black level, but 'Finding Dory' is flawless.

I only wish there was a UHD edition where we could enjoy the HDR/WCG from the film's theatrical release.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

While there are more aggressive 7.1 tracks available -- and I'd include 'Finding Nemo' in this group -- 'Finding Dory' nonetheless boasts an ultra-immersive 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix.

Pixar films always make for excellent demo discs because, in addition to excellent dynamic range and surround panning, they scratch-build worlds with the finest available elements. 'Finding Dory' plunges listeners into the ocean depths to experience life among the reefs and the tides and, in this storyline's case, the plumbing system of a major aquarium. Dialog and character placement in the 360-degree soundscape are dynamic, as is the overall immersion from elements like Thomas Newman's musical score. LFE is strong as well, particularly during the action set-pieces, though this track doesn't have anything as house-rattling as the submarine sequence from 'Finding Nemo'. In that sense, this isn't a premium-perfect 7.1 experience, but it's pretty darn close. If you're a surround sound fan and enjoy subtleties and nuances emerging from every speaker in your system, sit back and turn this track up. You'll enjoy it.

Also worth noting, 'Finding Dory' up-mixes wonderfully using DTS:Neural:X, giving audiences the sensation of being underwater with our aquatic characters. It's a shame Disney has yet to support native DTS:X or Dolby Atmos mixes for their home entertainment releases.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

While most of the 'Finding Dory' bonus materials are HD Exclusives (see below), there are two special features available on every format's home entertainment release. Both are found on the FEATURE Blu-ray in this edition.

Piper (HD, 06:0). A delightful Pixar Animation Studios short film about a little bird's journey to learn how to feed his or herself.

Feature Commentary. Director Andre Stanton, Co-Director Angus MacLane, and Producer Lindsey Collins take audiences on an extremely informative tour about the movie's development and production process.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

'Finding Dory' seems, at first, as though it's a jammed-pack special edition, requiring a secondary Blu-ray to fit all the bonus materials. Upon closer inspection, however, the overall feature set is a well done, but a tad thin when compared to feature-length making-of documentaries. The second disc was made necessary only for the Living Aquariums,which are 3-hours long each.

FEATURE DISC

Marine Life Interviews (HD, 02:05). A faux documentary with characters from the Marine Institute.

The Octopus the Nearly Broke Pixar (HD, 09:05). The challenges of animating Hank.

What Were We Talking About (HD, 04:31). The filmmakers chat about rediscovering Dory as a character and the transition from side to main character.

Casual Carpool (HD, 03:47). Andrew Stanton, Eugene Levy, Albert Brooks, (Modern Family Dad), and Ed O'Neil drive around Hollywood.

Animation & Acting (HD, 06:57). Behind the scenes with the voice actors and the artists who animate to those recordings.

Deep in the Kelp (HD, 03:20). Pixar researches the world's they render digitally. For this film, it meant a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Creature Features (HD, 03:02). Anecdotes about the marine life featured in the film.

BONUS DISC

Behind the Scenes

Skating & Sketching With Jason Deamer (HD, 04:14). A chance to meet Character Art Director, Jason Deamer.

Dory's Theme (HD, 04:57). Behind the scenes with film composer Thomas Newman.

Rough Day on the Reef (HD, 01:11). Computer generated anomalies.

Finding Nemo as Told By Emoji (HD, 02:47). Self-explanatory.
Fish Schticks (HD, 03:35). Fish sight gags.

Living Aquariums. Oceans environments to leave on in the background.

Sea Grass

Open Oceans

Stingrays

Swim to the Surface

Deleted Scenes (HD, 50:15).Several sequences from the film that were trimmed along the way, with introductions by Andre Stanton that give a little context.

Introduction

Losing Nemo

Sleep Swimming

Little Tension in Clown Town

Meeting Hank

The Pig

Dory Dumped

Starting Over

Trailers (HD)

Sleep Swimming (US Trailer, 01:43)

Theatrical Payoff (Japan Trailer, 02:09)

Can't Remember (Spain Trailer, 01:22)

Journey (Russia Trailer, 02:31)

Final Thoughts

'Finding Dory' is a fun children's adventures story that never quite escapes the shadow of a much more endearing predecessor. As a Blu-ray, fans will appreciate the high-quality video and audio presentations, but may be underwhelmed with a semi-thin set of bonus materials.

If you're a Disney/Pixar completist or have children in the house or are looking for a Blu-ray with top notch technicals, 'Finding Dory' is Recommended. For everyone else, I'd say Give It A Rent.

Technical Specs

  • 2-Disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
  • English DTS-HD Descriptive Audio 2.0
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, French, Spanish

Supplements

  • Theatrical Short: "Piper" – A hungry sandpiper hatchling ventures from her nest for the first time to dig for food by the shoreline. The only problem is that the food is buried beneath the sand where scary waves roll up onto the shore.
  • Marine Life Interviews (All-New Mini Short) – Meet the inhabitants of the Marine Life Institute as they remember our favorite blue tang.
  • The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar – Pixar's "Team Hank" unravels the challenges, frustrations, and rewards of bringing to life the studio's crankiest and most technically complicated character ever.
  • What Were We Talking About? – This piece showcases the complex routes Dory's story took as the filmmakers worked to construct a comprehensive narrative involving a main character with short-term memory loss.
  • Casual Carpool – What's it like to commute with the voices of Marlin, Charlie, Bailey and Hank? Join "Finding Dory" writer/director Andrew Stanton as he drives Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell and Ed O'Neill to work.
  • Animation & Acting – How do you create a connection between a human audience and a fish? This behind-the-scenes look behind the curtain examines the process of constructing believable performances through a unique collaboration between the director, voice actors and animators.
  • Creature Features – The cast of "Finding Dory" share cool facts about the creatures they voice in the film.
  • Deep in the Kelp – Disney Channel's Jenna Ortega guides us on a research trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to show how far the "Finding Dory" crew went to make Dory's world feel real.
  • Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer – "Finding Dory" character art director Jason Deamer talks about how he got to Pixar, how he draws the characters in the film, and how falling off a skateboard teaches you lessons you can use in art and life.
  • Dory's Theme – A spirited discussion among the composer, music editor and director of "Finding Dory" about the musical elements that shape Dory's quirky and joyful theme.
  • Rough Day on the Reef – Sometimes computers make mistakes. Here you'll see some of the funny, creepy and just plain bizarre footage the crew encountered while making "Finding Dory."
  • Audio Commentary – Director Andrew Stanton, co-director Angus MacLane and producer Lindsey Collins deliver their personal perspective on "Finding Dory."
  • Deleted Scenes (introduced by director Andrew Stanton)

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

List Price
$22.99
Amazon
$19.14 (17%)
3rd Party
$7.10
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»