It is rather sad what has happened to Pixar since it was gobbled up by the Disney behemoth. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Disney fan, and Pixar is by no means in the toilet. But after The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin rescued the studio from the mediocrity it had sunk into after Walt’s death, they have settled into a groove of producing good, quality films … but with no real spark of originality. Good films, but often no better than any number of big-budget animation studios are producing. No great films.
For greatness, in the early years of the 21st century, I would always turn to Pixar. Nobody was making, nor have they made since, movies like the original Toy Story, or Finding Nemo, Up, and WALLE. … okay, just looked at the list, and realized that Inside Out is as good as those movies. But look at the list of films in production now in Emeryville, set for release in the next three years: Cars 3, Toy Story 4, The Incredibles 2 … and Coco. The last one will concern the Mexican festival of Day of the Dead, and that sounds fascinating. I hope for genius again. As for the others, I expect them to be good, quality films, but would be surprised if they reached the level of greatness.
Which brings me to Finding Dory. It is very enjoyable. It has lots of humor and a good story line. It is a very good example of a sequel. But it is a sequel. We’ve been here before. Nothing is quite as fresh as it was in Finding Nemo. No scene brought me close to tears.
I don’t want to sound like I’m damning with faint praise. It is very much worth your time. I keep thinking they have reached the apex of CGI animation, that there is nothing left to show me … and this movie proves me wrong. The colors, the textures, the stunning level of movement, anything you want to name about this crazy business of filming a movie inside a computer is as good here as it’s ever been, and better than anything in some ways. When I recall not that long ago the incredible amount of money and patience it took to make a few cheesy (but stunning at the time) sequences in Tron, it breaks my heart. At least a thousand people worked on this, doing things I really have no notion about. How do they do that? I haven’t a clue, but I’m glad they can.