The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

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The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes. (IMDb)
It’s probably good I let this sink in a bit before rating it; it’s one of those films that as a whole is just okay (the plot’s a mash of storylines and undercooked themes and the characters either don’t develop or do so rapidly) but has lots of great moments–mostly comedic (see the sausage factory trip, Hart’s hilarious Snowball: “Ricky!”) or musical-including a good feel-good final montage set to some scrumptious throwback R&B. Desplat’s excellent jazzy score elevates a lot of other scenes.
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

Finding Dory (2016)

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The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish, Dory, begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way. (IMDb)
The first 2/3s or so is–dare I say it?–rather forgettable (and sequel-ly) as Dory’s memory loss is rehashed for both the humour and the sentimentality already present in Finding Nemo (the emotionally potent reunion being a notable exception). The final act is much better, with the “What would Dory do?” motif nicely elaborating upon another dimension of her personality and setting the stage for more fun “fish out of water” action (the “What a Wonderful World” climax is beautiful and hilarious).
7/10 (Good)

 

Finding Nemo (2003)

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After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home. (IMDb)
A simple yet heartfelt adventure story is packed full of intense action (the final net sequence post-ending felt unnecessary though) and memorable (often hilarious) side characters whilst overflowing with overwhelming emotional depth, from the heartwarming main premise (the “Did you hear?” montage is a tearjerker) to the heartbreaking opening scene, to the nuanced dynamic between Dory and Marlin throughout (I don’t want to forget!” “I do.”). Beautifully animated and stunningly scored to boot.
8.5/10 (Amazing)