I was one of the very few critics who had anything nice to say about obvious cash-grab sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, mostly because I was able to enjoy it as a children’s story about growing up and learning to accept mortality and other misfortunes and not as a sequel to Alice in Wonderland.
But Finding Dory? Finding Dory depends hugely on its predecessor for emotional force and narrative meaning. Without Finding Nemo, we would have little reason to admire (or even like) Marlin or Nemo, who come across here as annoyed, unpleasant, self-centered, and/or rude. Without Finding Nemo, we would be more than a little baffled by the apparent selectiveness of Dory’s memory loss. And without Finding Nemo, we would have to rely solely on this film for the old Pixar magic, which is in woefully short supply.
The new characters are pretty much set up and wasted (spoilers, sort of): Hank’s desire for solitude, Bailey’s struggle to believe he’s not broken, Destiny’s nearsightedness — potentially interesting struggles, all given short-shrift. And Dory’s search...you know what? I don’t want to give it away, and it’s not like my grousing will matter. The (other) critics love it, and who knows, you might love it, too. More power to you.
Quick review roundup: De Palma was an interesting overview on an interesting career from the man himself, Central Intelligence wasted a fun idea and a game performance from Dwayne Johnson, Genius sought to make compelling drama from the titanic, often unseen struggle between writer and editor, and Art Bastard was a fascinating portrait of the artist as a bastard. SPECIAL VIEWING BONUS: The man himself, Robert Cenedella, will be at the Carmel Mountain Angelika on Sunday to answer your questions about art and bastardy. Reader critic Scott Marks (who liked the film a whole bunch and also interviewed Cenedella) will be moderating.