Dozens have critics have already seen Disney / Pixar's upcoming sequel Finding Dory (in theaters June 17th), but until today they've been unable to release reviews due to an embargo. Well that embargo has now been lifted and the reviews are pouring in. As I type this the film has a 92% score at RottenTomatoes (albeit with only 13 reviews). Most reviews are not only positive, but enthusiastic, indicating The Good Dinosaur may have been a bit of an aberration and Pixar is back on the track they reestablished with Inside Out.
Here's a sampling of some of the reviews:
Finding Dory is an example of why we should never underestimate Pixar. Did we need a sequel to Finding Nemo? No. This film is unnecessary… yet somehow Finding Dory is a fun, rewarding emotional journey. ... So how does it compare against its predecessor? In its best moments, Dory is more emotional and funnier than its predecessor. The movie feels more of a result of Pixar 2.0, somehow a more complex and layered adventure.
Have the creators of “Finding Dory” gone all politically soft and sensitive on us — in response, perhaps, to the memory-challenged community? Hardly. They’ve done something better: figured out how to take an already perfect character and deepen her in an exquisitely satisfying way.
Even so, Finding Dory is rousingly entertaining, with side-jokes and supporting characters that will take their place in the pantheon alongside the "Mine! Mine!"; seagulls and surfer-dude turtles (both factions turn up briefly here) from the original. In a year full of sequels nobody really wanted, this is one that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the first one; for that alone, it just keeps swimming against the current
Chris Nashawaty at EW.com found one of the messages heartwarming:
Still, one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises in a film with too few of them is just how resonant Dory will be for parents of kids with learning disabilities. To them, life can feel like a very lonely struggle where anxiety constantly reaches for you like a psychological undertow. If you squint hard enough, the film’s message to these parents is, You’re not alone.
While not quite as enthusiastic, this review from Matt Singer at ScreenCrush.com is positive:
After 21 years, that formula is still very satisfying. But it also feels more like a formula than ever before. We love Pixar not only for the way they make us laugh and tug at our heartstrings, but also for their innovations along the way. In Finding Dory, the scene that sums everything up is the one where Dory, Marlin, and Nemo hitch a ride on an ocean current with a bunch of cool sea turtles. It’s an echo of a very similar sequence from Finding Nemo, and it observes its characters having a grand old time as they happily coast along.
There have been at least a couple of big name negative reviews, however:
In other words, while rambunctious and passably humorous, this offspring isn't nearly as imaginative and nimble-minded as the forerunner that spawned it.
Outside of Toy Story, Pixar hasn’t found the right formula in its sequels to repeat the success of its original classics. Mark Finding Dory down as another that falls short of unforgettable.
In my experience a film's RottenTomato score tends to drop as a film's release date gets closer. We'll see if that happens here or if it remains near the stratospheric level of Inside Out (98%). Look for LaughingPlace.com's review of Finding Dory soon.