Finding Nemo was not only a revolutionary animated film, was a massive success, and is widely heralded as one of Pixar’s best – its also the earliest memory I have of watching a movie in the cinema. So no pressure Dory.
Finding Dory is an animated adventure film from Pixar studios directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus Mclane. It stars the previously forgetful-but-loveable supporting character Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) who goes on her own quest with the help of the anxious Marlin (Albert Brooks) and recently-found Nemo (Hayden Rolence) to find her parents.
While the question if Finding Nemo actually needed a continuation still stands, as unnecessary animated sequels go this is one of the best. Its not a complete rehash of the first film, has a ripping pace, is actually funnier than its counterpart, and ultimately creates a bright and cheerful adventure that (as usual for Pixar) everyone can enjoy. My only real criticism of the story is that it doesn’t quite have the emotional depth and resonance as the first film, but in its place is a really tight pace and some great humour. The plot also goes in a number of wonderfully unexpected different directions to the point that it gets somewhat ridiculous (and yet still works). Granted a couple of key plot points surrounding the sentimental side of the film are blisteringly obvious from the word go, which contributes to the lack of emotional depth previously mentioned, but overall its a solid story that almost justifies this film’s existence. Almost.
The biggest boon of this movie (aside from the drop-dead gorgeous animation that goes without saying – I never knew there were so many different shades of blue) is absolutely the cast. Notably, the supporting cast. The core characters of Marlin, Dory and Nemo are all just as good as in the previous film, with Dory’s greater screen-time managing to make her even more endearing, but its the new guys that are really impressive. My current favourite character is Hank – voiced by Ed O’Neill, this ninja-camouflaging septopus is not only hilarious but has a brilliant rapport with DeGenere’s Dory. But joining him is Destiny (Diane Keaton – Whale Shark with poor eyesight), Baily (Ty Burrell – Beluga Whale who thinks he’s lost the ability to eco-locate), Fluke (Idris Elba – a sea lion voiced by Elba, why not?) and the list goes on. Its a great cast of unusual characters that showcases Pixar’s ability to probably turn even the screen you’re reading this on into a character with a more interesting personality than yourself.
Overall, while Finding Dory doesn’t quite recreate the magic that made Nemo a modern classic, its still a highly entertaining adventure that is likely (and deservedly) going to make all the money in the world. Its no Pixar classic and doesn’t quite prove that the studio is returning to their golden age, but is still far far better than it could have been.
General Audiences: Highly Recommended
Film Buffs: Recommended
Kids: Highly Recommended