What I’ve been watching

I’ve seen a couple of new movies recently and they couldn’t be more different, although I liked both of them in (very) different ways.

Finding Dory

We went to  see this with the kids, which was fun, as they were between 2 and 4 when Finding Nemo came out and are, of course, super familiar with it. (Especially Maddy, who watched it incessantly for, well, probably for a few years…) The thirteen year gap between films resulted in a lot of hopeful anticipation, but it was well met.Finding Dory is set rather immediately after the end of Finding Nemo. Dory begins to remember fragments of her life with her parents, as a little (absolutely adorable) fish. Insistent that Marlin and Nemo accompany her to find them (despite having little information to act on), the trio take off across the ocean. Various adventures ensue, particularly once they arrive at the aquarium in California where Dory was born and grew up. Dory is reunited with some of her childhood friends, including Destiny, a whale shark (who is excellent, voiced by Kaitlin Olson from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). There is a bit of a story about the other blue tangs being sent to another aquarium and Dory’s attempts to find her parents before they are sent away.

The story is pretty much what you would expect, although there is a sweetness — and a sadness — that is more pronounced than in Finding Nemo. There is a lot that could be said about Dory’s parents and their reaction to her disappearance that I’m not going to get into, but it gives the film another layer of complexity. The humour, too, is multi-layered (as is usually the case with these sort of children’s movies, to appeal to the parents dragged along), but in a more sophisticated way than is sometimes the case. The jokes aren’t cheap.

As previously, Ellen DeGeneres does a fabulous job with Dory and the other characters are equally engaging. Finding Dory is a very enjoyable film (although I am glad that I won’t have to watch it repeatedly!).

Swiss Army Man

In a totally different vein, A and I went to an advanced screening of Swiss Army Man, which was amazing.

I’m going to guess that there are more than a few people who will just not like this film, who will not be willing to buy in to the premise. I also guess that those people will probably be walking out by the time the title sequence begins.

Swiss Army Man is about a guy, Hank (Paul Dano) who is (without explanation) marooned on an island and about to kill himself. A corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on the shore and Hank begins an odd, but very touching, friendship with him.

The corpse, soon named Manny, functions as a multi-tool (hence the title) and Hank and Manny make their way back home (literally and figuratively). Much has been said already about Manny’s flatulence and the role that plays in the film, but there is a lot more to him than that.

Not much can be coherently said about the plot, because I’m not sure it really makes a good deal of sense outside of the world of the movie. Suffice it to say, the film functions as an allegory about connection (and disconnection), modern life, mortality, and probably a number of other ideas that I may explore more fully later.

The film is also laugh out loud funny at times (and also cringeworthy in the best kind of way).

Clearly, some people cannot get past the premise, which is a shame, because Swiss Army Man is one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.



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