Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My In-Depth Finding Dory Blu-Ray Review

finding dory blu-ray dvd review

Wow, back again for another Disney·Pixar Blu-Ray review already! It seems like I was just doing my write-ups for the Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur releases. In a way, I feel like I was just seeing Finding Dory in theaters, but in another I feel this release is a long time coming! At any rate, I'm just super excited to have this now as a part of my collection. Things feel complete.

While today marks the official Finding Dory Blu-Ray/DVD release day, the digital release has been available to own since October 25th. Since I'm a Blu-Ray collector, I was fine with holding off and waiting the extra three weeks to get my physical copy. Today I'm diving into the standard DVD+ Blu-Ray+Digital HD Combo Pack, which I pre-ordered at the Disney Store (and got a free lithograph set). I know there are other releases out there as well, such as the Blu-Ray 3D release and the Target Steelbook edition, but all the special features are the same across all versions this time around. Hallelujah, that makes it easier. 

finding dory blu-ray dvd review

Note: This is just my review of the Blu-Ray special features and not the film itself. Though I never got around (yet) to my review of Finding Dory, just know that I absolutely love it. It's another beautiful Pixar success in my book and a worthy followup to the original.

Alrighty, let's just get right into everything! First of all, before even getting into all the great bonus content, you'll notice the gorgeous menus. Pixar really has their Blu-Ray menu style down now; keeping it very simple and utilizing their stunning scenery as a backdrop.

finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  •  Audio Commentary (running time 1:37:02 *length of film*)- Director Andrew Stanton, Producer Lindsay Collins and Co-Director Angus MacLane have an in depth discussion about the film! I haven't had time to listen to the entire commentary quite yet, but what I've heard is as interesting as ever. Audio commentaries are my favorite part of any Pixar home video release, so I was anticipating this one a ton.
  • Piper (6:04)- I literally don't think there's anyone in the world who didn't love Finding Dory's accompanying short film Piper. From the simple endearing story, to the joyous score, to the stunning animation (not to mention the cuteness of Piper herself), this film as all the makings of an instant classic, heartfelt Pixar short. Congrats to writer/director Alan Barillaro and his team!
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • Marine Life Interviews (2:03)- This is a pretty funny, brand new "mini short"  with Bailey, Hank, Fluke, Rudder and Destiny all being "interviewed" about their interactions with Dory. It's very much Pixar's style, reminding me a lot of what they use to do with the bloopers at the end of some of their earlier films.
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar (9:04)- As many of you know already, Hank the septopus is said to be Pixar's most complex character to date. In this mini documentary, we get a look into that painstaking process of bringing Hank to life! 17 different filmmakers, across multiple departments, go into detail about the research that was done, the early development of the character, building the CG model, the complexities of animating the character and so on. There are a ton of interesting nuggets in this feature and it's one not to be missed.
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • What Were We Talking About? (4:26)- This is another one of my favorite features. Andrew Stanton and his team talk about challenges of having a main character with short term memory loss and how the story developed into what it is today. I really enjoyed the discussion of why Dory can remember certain things and not others, which certainly clears some things up.
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • Casual Carpool (3:46)- Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton, Albert Brooks (Marlin), Ty Burell (Bailey) Ed O' Neil (Hank) and and Eugene Levy (Charlie) "carpool" to Pixar in this bonus feature. I found this little snippet to be pretty funny, but it's also completely random. Though it's obviously planned and scripted (to an extent), you get a sense of casual improvisation as well. I found their banter and antics a lot of fun. 
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • Animation & Acting (6:56)- An intriguing look into the voice acting/recording process! I really enjoyed seeing the passion and excitement from the actors about the characters they helped create.
  • Deep In The Kelp (3:19)-  For whatever reason, Jenny Ortega (from the Disney Channel show Stuck in the Middle, which I've honestly never heard of) hosts this bonus feature. It seemed a little out of place, but I still really enjoyed the behind the scenes look into the Monterey Bay Aquarium (AKA the real life inspiration for the Marine Life Institute).
  • Creature Features (3:02)-Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Ty Burell and Ed O' Neil share fun facts about their real life fish counterparts! It's a cute, if brief, little segment. By the way, did you catch the connection between this feature and the "Causal Carpool"?

finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer (4:14)- Finding Dory Character Art Director/skateboarder Jason Deamer, in addition to sharing his inspiring story of how he began at Pixar in 1997, gives an entertaining look at the basics of drawing some of the main characters from the film! This is a creatively shot bonus feature with a great style to it.
  • Dory's Theme (4:56)- In this segment, director Andrew Stanton sits down with composer Thomas Newman and music editor Bill Bernstein to talk about Dory's musical theme in the film (specifically the first and last tracks of the soundtrack). As a film score buff, I loved this feature. Hearing them talk about the inspiration behind her melody and the instruments used to to create its unique sound was entertaining and interesting overall (especially the bit about the abstract vocals, or "human sleigh bells").
  •  Rough Day On The Reef (1:10)- This is a very brief montage of odd distortions to certain animations, which would occur during system glitches from time to time during the production of Finding Dory. Some of them are just plain wacky! I had a good chuckle at the end.
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  •  Finding Nemo As Told By Emoji (2:46)- This creative and hilarious retelling of Finding Nemo was released on the Disney YouTube Channel back on May 31st. This plays all the time at the Disney Store I work at, so I've seen it more times than I can count. If you missed it, be sure to watch it right HERE.
  • Hidden secrets of Finding Dory (3:00)- I love how this feature dives into some of the deeper, lesser known Finding Dory Easter Eggs and hidden references! Just when I thought I had heard them all, there were some here that took me by surprise; for example, did you know Riley from Inside Out is seen at the Marine Life Institute? It's true! 
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • Fish Schticks (3:34)- A collection of promotional animation toolkits featuring Dory, Marlin, Nemo, Bailey, Hank, Fluke, Rudder Destiny, Becky, and the sea otters.  Of course I would rather see more making of stuff, but this is pretty fun to watch. The musical crabs seen below was my favorite clip.
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • Living Aquariums- Just like with the original Finding Nemo DVD, this Blu-Ray includes four animated "Living Aquariums". This time around we have "Open Ocean", "Sea Grass", "Stingrays" and "Swim to the Surface" (Kelp Forrest). Each one is an ambient look at some of the key locations from the film. These are perfect to just have on in the background during the day—the visuals and ocean sounds are soothing and atmospheric. 
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  • Trailers- Includes the US teaser trailer and three other international trailers.
  •  Deleted Scenes- There are a lot of deleted scenes with this release. Probably more so than any other Pixar Blu-Ray release thus far. We're talking literally over an hour! While I won't go into detail on each one, I will say they are most definitely worth checking out. 
finding dory blu-ray dvd review
  1. Introduction by Director Andrew Stanton (0:53)
  2. Losing Nemo (5:03)
  3. Sleep Swimming (3:00)- a fully animated, rendered and scored deleted scene. That doesn't happen too often in animation! I first saw this scene at the D23 Expo last year. It was cut very late in the game.
  4. Meeting Hank (3:25)
  5. Little Tension in Clown Town (7:31)
  6. The Pig (2:05)
  7. Dory Dumped (5:47)
  8. Starting Over (22:16)- A look at many different incarnations of the film's opening.  
  9. Tank Gang (15:55 digital exclusive*)
*To access your Digital HD exclusive deleted scene, just enter the code included with your copy into your account on the Disney Movies Anywhere site. Then just select Finding Dory from within your collection and you'll be able to view all the bonus content! Simple as that.

Additionally, when you purchase the film digitally or the Blu-Ray combo pack, you also receive a cute digital graphic novel of Finding Dory! You can redeem this from the "Unlocked Offers" area of the Disney Movie Rewards website (once you've entered your code). This will lead you to the Disney Story Central website where you can access your "digital storybook."

OK, well I think that about covers it. Phew! It's definitely a butt--I mean, "boat" load of bonus content (I hope someone caught that Finding Nemo reference). I'm not gonna lie though, I'm left just a little less satisfied here. I do wish the actual behind the scenes featurettes weren't so short. I feel like there was so much more they could have gone into. Right when I feel like any given feature is taking off, it ends. I miss the days of the full length documentaries, which are few and far between now. Overall though, I can't be greedy here and I did immensely enjoy what was included. Plus I still have half a commentary to watch/listen to!

FILM- 4 out of 5 stars
BONUS CONTENT (excluding commentary)- 3.8 out of 5 stars
IMAGE/SOUND QUALITY- 5 out of 5 stars

What are some of your thoughts? Be sure to share in the comments below! 

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