2016. Directed by Andrew Stanton.
The Pixar team returns to familiar, and ultimately safe ground with it's latest entry in the saga of Dory, Marlon, and Nemo.
Dory begins to remember facets of her childhood which inspires her to brave the open oceans in search of her family, with Marlon and Nemo in tow. This time, the journey is in the background and the destination, a Marine Wildlife Center is in the fore.
Unlike the Prison environment of Toy Story 3, the facility is more akin to a mental health center for the damaged and the broken and it displays various self identity issues that many people struggle with right before our eyes in a respectful and ultimately humane approach.
Although there are many strong performances, I must single out Ed O'Neil. His performance had me asking myself if voice actors could even get Oscar Noms. His comedic timing was impeccable and his vulnerability and development were true wonders in this sea of paint by numbers plotting.
The theme, the idea of families coming together to heal and to accept their children with mental health related problems that pervades the film to an almost preaching level. The first 3 quarters of the film serve as a massive build up that ends with the Pixar patented emotional sucker punch, and this film showcases how adept they've become at the maneuver.
In the end, Pixar continues it's return to form and delivers it's usual fare, albeit with some of it's usual, less than appealing tropes, such as the film's portrayal of children as abusers of animals and toys.
The two strongest elements of the film were the short Piper that preceded it and the film's final shot, which bravely refused to end on yet another tried and true gag and stayed true to it's message of hope and love.