Blu-ray/DVD, Pixar, Reviews, Studios

[REVIEW] ‘Finding Dory’ Blu-ray – We Unpack the Discs, Bonus Features, & More!

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Pixar’s 17th feature film Finding Dory blew audiences away, as usual and yet again. Now that the film is released on Blu-ray, will the bonus features live up to the greatness we’ve come to expect from Pixar? Keep reading to find out.

Bonus Features ✮✮✮✮

As usual, Pixar delivers with a bounteous and varied selection of bonus features for Finding Dory. So take deep breath and let’s dive right in!

  • Theatrical Short: Piper Piper is an adorable little short about a hungry baby sandpiper hatchling who ventures from her nest for the first time to dig for food by the shoreline. It was the short that played before Finding Dory, so it’s fitting that it appears on this collection.
  • Marine Life Interviews (All-New Mini Short) – This new short gives us some new “interviews” with various characters found in Finding Dory, such as Fluke, Rudder, Destiny, Hank, and Bailey. Shot in a grainy, old-timey interview style (much like the intro scene in The Incredibles), the short is nothing special, but does give us another chance to hear from the new characters we met in the film. 
  • The Octopus that Nearly Broke Pixar – With every new Pixar film, there is always one standout scene, character, or technical challenge the team needs to overcome. In Finding Nemo, it was animating water and in Finding Dory, it was the octopus Hank. The team of 17 (!) Pixarians share the the challenges, frustrations, and rewards of working on this fantastically complicated character with behind-the-scenes stories, characters designs, and animation.
  • What Were We Talking About? – Dory is most known for her short-term memory loss, and in this featurette, we get a look at what lengths the filmmakers took to create the narrative of how it came to be. 
  • Casual Carpool – Sometimes with releases, you get bonus features that are a bit contrived and wacky, but that’s exactly what makes this featurette so fun. We hop in a car and get to hang out with director Andrew Stanton as he drives to work with a few of the film’s voice actors, Albert Brooks (Marlin), Eugene Levy (Charlie),Ty Burrell (Bailey), and Ed O’Neill (Hank).
  • Animation & Acting – This is a classic featurette in which we go behind the recording booth and see what it’s like for actors to record dialogue for an animated film. No matter how many times studios put out a bonus feature like this, you still learn something new and take away a new respect for the process.
  • Creature Features – The Finding Dory cast shares cool facts about the creatures they voice in the film. Meh, it’s nothing special and, if anything, just filler.
  • Deep in the Kelp – It wouldn’t be a Disney release without a crossover! This time it’s Disney Channel’s Jenna Ortega as she guides us on a research trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, showing how far the Finding Dory crew went to make Dory’s world feel real.
  • Skating & Sketching with Jason Deamer –  While not directly related to the making of Finding Dory, this bonus feature showcases the film’s character art director Jason Deamer. He shares stories about how he got to Pixar, how he draws the characters in the film, and how falling off a skateboard teaches you lessons you can use in art and life. It’s always great to hear different Pixarian’s stories about how they got to Pixar and their perspectives on working at the iconic studio. 
  • Dory’s Theme – Any time the music gets featured on a release, it’s a real treat. This time, we get a glimpse of Finding Dory‘s music and creative process from the film’s composer Thomas Newman and music editor Bill Bernstein. They particularly focus on the musical elements that shape Dory’s quirky and joyful theme.
  • Rough Day on the Reef – Ah, the outtake reel. This has become a staple in Pixar Blu-ray releases and features all the wacky, crazy, and outright absurd things the computer can do a scene during the filmmaking process.
  • Finding Nemo – As Told by Emoji – This featurette uses special Disney emojis to tell the story of Finding Nemo. This was my least favorite bonus feature and clearly is pandering to the younger, emoji-obsessed demographic. While a novel concept for a bonus feature, I feel that the schtick gets old and loses the viewer’s attention midway through.
  • Fish Schticks – Leading up to the release of the film, various promotional animations were created and this featurette is a conglomerate of all these animations in one place.
  • Living Aquariums – This section contains four moving TV screen savers that you can loop in the background on your TV. You get four scenes from the movie from which to choose: Sea Grass, Open Ocean, Stingrays, and Swim to the Surface.
  • Hidden Secrets of Finding Dory – Easter Eggs, or hidden content put into a film by the creators, have morphed into something huge over the past few years. What once used to be secret tidbits discovered by only the most hardcore of fans, now are even exploited by studios that create bonus features about them. In a way, the Easter Eggs lose the fun and mystique, but considering most people won’t find them on their own, it’s an easy way for others to get in on the action.
  • Commentary – Alas, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: it’s the director’s commentary! This commentary is exceptional and is headed by director Andrew Stanton, co-director Angus MacLane, and producer Lindsey Collins. If you ever want to view the film in a new enlightening way, then definitely pop in this track and prepare to be astounded by all the cool behind-the-scenes anecdotes.
  • Deleted Scenes (introduced by director Andrew Stanton) – Holy guacamole! This Blu-ray packs a punch with nearly 65 minutes of deleted scenes (including the two digital-exclusive shorts “Tank Gang” and “Hidden Seacrets of Finding Dory”). With so many scenes, you’re able to see the progression of the movie and “what could have been.” The other scenes are “Losing Nemo”, “Little Tension in Clown Town”, “Dory Dumped”, “Sleep Swimming”, “Meeting Hank”, “The Pig” and “Starting Over”The nine scenes are mostly in animatic form, with two being more fully rendered scenes that were ultimately cut. Watch one of the delete scenes– “Tank Gang” — below!

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Finding Dory Blu-ray is the solid home media release that we’ve come to expect from Pixar. Pixar fans of all shapes and sizes need to pick this up and add it to their collection.

Purchase

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Morgan Stradling

Morgan is a native of Arizona and desert rat who loves the heat--she doesn’t even turn on the AC in her car in the middle of the summer! She loves big eyeliner, SURVIVOR, Lady Gaga, and, of course, animated films. She just graduated with her MBA in Marketing from ASU and now works as a Project Manager for a tech company. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
  • Man once I have some extra money to spend I definitely might get this for my collection!! This movie speaks to me on so many levels with a disability myself and was such an experience in the theatres this summer :))))