After more than a decade, Pixar returns this weekend to one of the biggest stories they've ever told. Finding Dory is the follow-up to the blockbuster Finding Nemo, only this time, Ellen Degeneres' character goes from sidekick to full on headliner. Fans will have many questions going into Finding Dory, but here we're only concerned with one: is the extra cost of a 3D movie ticket worthwhile?
If you want a review of Finding Dory, we've got one of those (spoiler: you'll probably like it) but here we'll be focusing exclusively on reviewing the film's 3D presentation, what works, what doesn't and whether you'll consider those extra dollars money well spent on renting a pair of plastic glasses. Let's break down Finding Dory in 3D.
Computer animated films lend themselves to the 3D experience probably better than any other type of feature. Finding Dory is no exception. Because so much of the film takes place underwater, the 3D allows for a literal immersion into the world of fish. Rarely before have I felt less like I was watching a movie, and more like I was a spectator of events. The film's underwater sequences transport you there. Movies like this are why 3D exists in the first place.
Pixar always puts an immense amount of work into their films, and the 3D is as much a part of that as anything. As Dory, Marlin, and Nemo swim through the water and they navigate their environment, we see them surrounded by an entire world of life. Whether it's kelp drifting in the current, or other fish in the background, it's clear that Pixar knew how to make every shot feel like it was teeming with life via the use of 3D.
As per usual, sending images out before the window continues to be ignored by modern 3D filmmaking. It would have been so simple to have something swim right off the screen and into your face, but it never really happens. There are certainly moments where different fish swim right up to the screen like you could almost touch them, but it feels like they could have done more. An errant tentacle from Hank the "septapus" would have been appreciated.
To whatever degree Finding Dory missed the boat in front of the screen, they made up for it behind the screen. Whether in an open ocean, or a large fish tank, you can feel the depth of the water in every shot. A large aquarium full of different kinds of fish feels like it's full of life because you can clearly see multiple schools of fish moving through it, just as you would if you were standing before it
The lenses on your theatrical 3D glasses naturally dim whatever you're looking at, however, animated features are nearly always bright and colorful, which means they more than makeup for this loss. While some of the sequences in the ocean are not as bright as others, due to the water depth, there's never difficulty following the action or seeing the characters. Whether above or below water, everything is crisp and clear in Finding Dory.
If you've ever taken off your 3D glasses during a movie, you'll know that the image will look blurry. However, the amount of blur changes during the film depending on how many layers of depth are being displayed and how much the 3D tech is being used. With the amount of sea life that is floating about in Finding Dory there is almost always a lot going on in terms of 3D, this means that the vast majority of the film would be really difficult to watch without your glasses on.
Unless the mere thought of a movie that takes place almost entirely in the water makes you seasick, you'll likely have few problems with Finding Dory. While there are plenty of fast moving sequences, they never get so out of control that they should affect the contents of your stomach. Pixar knows how to keep their 3D motion under control, they've had plenty of practice, so even the most sensitive should be able to enjoy Finding Dory without much difficulty.
Final Verdict: It probably comes as little shock to you that Pixar hasn't just made a solid movie from a story perspective, but from a technical one as well. The 3D is top notch and a worthy endeavor for anybody looking to get the full experience out of Finding Dory. Seeing the movie in 2D will give you a great story, but seeing it in 3D will transport you into it. You'll appreciate all the time you spend underwater with Dory and all her old, and new friends, and you don't even need to hold your breath.