- RatedPG /GenreAdventure, Animation, Comedy
Who would have thought that animated fishes could be that important.
How important? Just ask any three-year-old who Nemo is.
When ‘Finding Nemo’ swam into theatres in 2003, the epic story of an overprotective clownfish searching for his abducted son took us on a plunge into an immersive underwater world with a heart-warming story about family.
The movie became the highest grossing G-rated film of all time, before Pixar’s own ‘Toy Story 3’ surpassed it in 2010. In 2008, the American Film Institute named it the 10th best animated film of all time; not to mention its innumerous awards.
With 2016 being the year of sequels, a follow-up is a no-brainer. It’s a tough sell, but ‘Finding Dory’ manages to do what some other sequels can’t: craft a hyperactive movie with an endearing new story that still feels familiar.
Ellen DeGeneres, whose cachet has considerably risen since the 2003 movie through her daily talkshow and numerous Oscars hosting stints, reprises her role as the forgetful blue tang Dory.
Set one year after ‘Finding Nemo’, Dory finds herself suddenly remembering that she was separated from her parents (voiced by Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton) when she was just a little fish.
She is able to remember just enough to embark on a new adventure (something about Morro Bay in California), and with the help of Nemo (Hayden Roylence), Marlin (Albert Brooks) and an extraordinary line-up of new goofy characters, Dory sets off to track her parents down. Their search leads them to the Marine Life Institute where Dory believes they’ve been waiting for her ever since.
While ‘Nemo’ was about an overprotective father learning that he cannot protect his son from everything, ‘Dory’ is about an adorable and silly fish reclaiming something that she didn’t even know she’d lost.
Directed by Andrew Stanton, with a script co-written by Victoria Strouse, ‘Dory’ unfortunately isn’t as emotionally poignant as the first film, however, it is still potently affecting enough that you just might reach out for your pack of tissues.
In ‘Nemo’, Dory was relegated to being just a funny sidekick to Brook’s Marlin, but here, we discover that there is more to the blue fish than cutesy short term memory loss.
Dory’s journey to reunite with her parents sees her meeting a host of new undersea creatures such as near-sighted whale shark and former “pipe-pal” Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), and a pair of Cockney-accented seals (Idris Elba and Dominic West). Even Sigourney Weaver gets a clever cameo as the omnipresent voice of the Marine Life Institute.
But it’s grumpy seven-tentacled octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill) and Bailey the scatter-brained Beluga whale (Ty Burrell) that threaten to steal the show.
However, it’s still DeGeneres’ show. Like the late Robin Williams in ‘Aladdin’, DeGeneres is the heart and soul of the film. The comedian imbues a kind of hopeful enthusiasm as well as balancing humour and heartache to a character who can only see what’s in front of her.
Like the first one, we’re invited to dive right into the movie’s surreal underwater world, not to mention the marine park that provides the movie with some of it imaginative action set pieces.
That these include a hilarious touch-pool scene where children’s hands drop down into the water like torpedoes or the nail-biting truck heist and rescue that also includes a troop of otters is testament to the film’s admirable ambition and relentless momentum. The movie is breath-taking in its imaginative detail and astonishing in its emotional range.
An exciting, funny, and poignant adventure, ‘Finding Dory’ offers an impeccably crafted story told with wit and arranged with depth, as well as yet another visual Pixar treat.
‘Finding Dory’ isn’t the only visual treat from Pixar. Don’t miss the heartwarming animated short ‘Piper’, about a hungry sandpiper chick who has to pluck up the courage to find his own food.
‘Finding Dory’ opens 16 June 2016