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finding-doryDisney Pixar’s Finding Dory was a long time coming. After all, Finding Nemo was an instant success and has proven it’s classic status during the 13 years since it’s original release. But what audiences weren’t prepared for was just how good the sequel could be.

Centered around Nemo’s supporting character Dory, this film offers a journey of self discovery rather than a literal seek-and-find mission. And while Pixar has produced some of the best sequels ever made (Toy Story 2 and 3), the animation juggernaut has also proven that it can churn out a few clunkers as well (namely Cars 2). For years to come, there will be a debate about which is the better film, Nemo or Dory, since both are terrific 5-star films.

When Dory suddenly remembers her family, a hole in her heart draws her back to California where she discovers that she was born in an aquatic park called the Marine Life Institute. On her journey through the parks’ many tanks, she makes a new friend (a cranky septopus named Hank) who helps her reunite with some old ones. On her journey, she will rediscover her past and herself while searching for the family she left behind.

Arriving on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 15th, fans will have several options when choosing to bring home this masterpiece. This review covers the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack, but other options include a 3D combo pack and a standalone DVD release.

Video

The Blu-Ray offers one of the most dazzling video presentations ever assembled. Finding Dory looks gorgeous, with a rich and varying color palette and tons of detail. Dory’s journey takes her to some vivid atmospheres with almost neon colors, as well as to some dark and murky places. All of them look stunning in this HD transfer.

The DVD loses a tremendous amount of detail when compared to the Blu-Ray. Edge definition is softer and ripples in the waves seem less crisp. The color palette also gets flattened by the medium, with mid-range colors doing well, but bright and extreme dark colors unable to replicate the theatrical experience.

Audio

The main audio track on the Blu-Ray disc is a 7.1 HD-MA mix that makes expert use of every speaker. Particularly during underwater scenes, there are so many ambient effects and this mix creates a richer aural experience with the extra speakers. Other audio options include English 5.1 and 2.0, a stereo descriptive audio track, plus French and Spanish 5.1. The disc also features the Pixar-themed home theater maximizer that allows families with a receiver to calibrate their home theater.

The DVD’s primary track is English 5.1 with the same 2.0 and descriptive audio tracks as the Blu-Ray. The only other language on DVD is Spanish, losing French and making that language exclusive to the Blu-Ray disc.

Bonus Features

Disc 1:

  • Piper (6:05) – The theatrical short that accompanied Finding Dory in theaters, tells the story of a baby water bird learning how to get food for herself.
  • Marine Life Interviews (2:04) – A brand-new short that interviews many of the new characters from the film about their impressions of Dory.
  • The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar (9:05) – The film’s creators talk about how difficult Hank was to animate
  • What Were We Talking About? (4:31) – The story team discuss the challenge of building a story about a main character who can’t remember what her drive is.
  • Casual Carpool (3:47) – Andrew Stanton, Ed O’Neil, Albert Brooks, Ty Burrell and Eugene Levy share a ride on the way to a recording session.
  • Animation & Acting (6:57) – Voice acting recording sessions are highlighted, including Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neil, Ellen Degeneres, Kaitlin Olson, Albert Brooks, and Eugene Levy.
  • Deep in the Kelp (3:20) – Jenna Ortega from Disney Channel’s Stuck in the Middle takes you to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the inspiration for the Marine Life Institute.
  • Creature Features (3:02) – Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, and Ed O’Neil share some interesting facts about the animals they play.
  • Audio Commentary (1:37:03) – Co-directors Andrew Stanton and Angus McClain and producer Lindsay Collins lead this engaging commentary where they reveal the journey to the final story and explain their creative choices.

Disc 2

  • Behind the Scenes – A submenu of features that mostly pertain to the film’s production.
    • Skating & Sketching with Jason Dreamer (4:14) – Character Art Director Jason Dreamer reveals his love of skate boarding around Pixar and how to draw the characters from Finding Dory.
    • Dory’s Theme (4:57) – Composer Thomas Newman and director Andrew Stanton discuss the score for the film and what the themes represent.
    • Rough Day on the Reef (1:11) – A blooper-reel of sorts featuring some of the weirdest computer glitches during the making of Finding Dory.
    • Finding Nemo as Told by Emoji (2:47) – This webisode uses emojis and score to tell the story of Finding Nemo with a tease of Finding Dory at the end.
    • Fish Schticks (3:35) – A series of animation tests that were also used to help promote the film.
  • Living Aquariums – Four features turn your TV into a virtual aquarium with locations from the film. You are unable to fast forward through these features that are often longer than the film itself.
    • Sea Grass (3:03:52) – A view from Nemo’s reef of sea grass swaying with the tide.
    • Open Ocean (2:48:30) – The Open Ocean tank at the MLI.
    • Stingrays (2:48:42) – Another view from Nemo’s reef as migrating stingrays routinely swim by.
    • Swim to the Surface (1:02:20) – The murky seaweed area outside of the MLI starts your journey to the surface where you find a beautiful sky and an ocean full of seaweed.
  • Deleted Scenes – Seven deleted scenes are offered, along with an introduction, and can be viewed separately or all at once with a “Play All” option.
    • Introduction (0:54) – Andrew Stanton introduces these scenes with an explanation for their exclusion.
    • Losing Nemo (5:03) – This early scene dramatizes the problems with Dory’s memory loss when she loses Nemo and predates the baby Dory opening.
    • Sleep Swimming (3:01) – Final animation reveals this story problem where Dory had a dream and tried to sleep swim to her family.
    • Little Tension in Clown Town (7:30) – In an early attempt to get Dory across the ocean, her migration instincts took her
    • Meeting Hank ( 3:27) – Dory’s original meeting with Hank had her finding Hank in his exhibit, where he is addicted to hot sauce. He also mentions that Dory should beware of a “pig in the pipes.”
    • The Pig (2:05) – A foam bullet that cleans pipes at the MLI is called “the pig.”
    • Dory Dumped (5:48) – In this version, Dory gets left alone in the MLI and finds her parents, who also have short term memory loss.
    • Starting Over (22:24) – Andrew Stanton shares 4 different openings that were explored for the film, including one that returns to a scene from Finding Nemo.
  • Trailers – Four trailers from around the world offer a peek into the way the film was marketed to various cultures with subtitles for the non-English previews.
    • Sleep Swimming United States Trailer (1:43)
    • Theatrical Payoff Japan Trailer (2:09)
    • Can’t Remember Spain Trailer (1:22)
    • Journey Russia Trailer (2:31)

Digital Exclusives

  • Hidden Secrets of Finding Dory (3:00) – Discover where viewers can find the Pizza Planet Truck, A113, and characters from Cars 3 and Inside Out in this revealing feature (Note: may be on disc as an Easter Egg)
  • Deleted Scene: Tank Gang (15:55) – This Disney Movies Anywhere exclusive reveals the tank gang from Finding Nemo getting more screen time before Dory gets to the MLI.

The only bonus features on the DVD are Piper and the audio commentary.

Packaging & Design

The Finding Dory Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack is a 3-disc set (2 BDs and 1 DVD) housed in a standard-sized Blu-Ray case that uses a hinged disc holder to house the 2 BD discs. The case comes with a foil embossed slipcover in its initial pressing. Inserts include a Dory-shaped card with a digital copy code on it and a flier for Disney Movie Club.

Both discs open with ads for Disney Movies Anywhere, Moana and Beauty and the Beast. Selecting the Sneak Peeks feature from the main menu adds promos for Disney Movie Rewards, Elena of Avalor, Disney Store and Disney on Ice. All 3 discs use the same menu, which flies through Nemo’s reef before settling on a peaceful scene while the menu options appear.

Final Thoughts

Finding Dory is a worthy follow up to one of Pixar’s best films and is so good that many may even prefer it to the original. An impressive amount of bonus material has been assembled for this release for fans who want to dive deeper into the production, while the film itself dazzles in HD.

Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.

Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.

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