Frances Winston really loved this follow-up to Finding Nemo, about the lovable, forgetful Dory, even if at times it was a little over-sentimental!
Directed by: Andrew Stanton – Starring the voices of: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy
Although it’s taken 13 years to reach our screens (where did that time go!) this sequel to the heart-warming Finding Nemo is actually set a mere one year after the events of that movie.
Resisting the temptation to do a ‘what Nemo did next’ type of picture, Pixar have cleverly focused on one of the other much-loved characters from the original movie, the supremely forgetful, but lovable, regal blue tang, Dory (DeGeneres).
I won’t recap on the Finding Nemo story – if you haven’t seen it you are missing out on a real treat. Suffice to say that, following the events of that film, Dory has settled into life with her new friends and adopted family, Nemo (Rolence) and his father, Marlin (Brooks).
However, her short term memory-loss is still a problem, and it makes her something of a liability. When she begins to get flashbacks of her childhood and family, and realises that they must still be out there somewhere, she convinces Marlin and Nemo to help her search for them.
The three set out on a cross-ocean adventure. Although they make it to California, they get separated after an attack by a giant squid. So the story proper begins as Marlin and Nemo search for their friend, who has been rescued from the sea by the Marine Life Institute, after getting caught up in six pack rings (this is why you should cut them before binning them!).
Pixar are renowned for their realistic animation, and this doesn’t disappoint. You really feel as if you are under the sea as they swim along, and the attention to detail is unsurpassed. Something else that they do wonderfully is to bring life to wildlife or day to day objects that you often wouldn’t give a second thought to.
Again, they do that wonderfully here, and you are fully invested in the adorable fish family in an emotional, rather than an ‘aren’t they cute’ way. There are also some new characters introduced, which no doubt brought its own challenges, but again they have managed to create fully-rounded lovable entities.
Many of the original cast return (although Dory is now voiced by a new actor since the original voice artist is now an adult) and there are some fantastic new additions, such as Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy. However, all eyes (sorry ears) are on Degeneres in her star turn as Dory, and she doesn’t disappoint, peppering the character with just the right amount of humour, energy, optimism and pathos.
It’s hard to criticise a film that makes you feel so warm and fuzzy. If anything, this is better than its predecessor, and everything from the animation to the story development has come on in leaps and bounds. They even avoid shoving the ecological message down your throat (take note Avatar) presenting it in a subtle but effective manner.
If there is a bad point, it is that at times it is almost cloyingly sentimental. However, this is balanced out with some genuine heart-wrenching emotion, and plenty of laughs (perhaps not all intended but there nonetheless).
Finding Dory is not the most original film ever made, but in fairness, Pixar usually takes a simple premise and concentrates on telling the story well, rather than dazzling audiences with a spectacle. They do that it spades here, and this will be enjoyed just as readily by adults as by children.
This is perfect cosy, heart-warming summer fare, and a godsend for any parents looking for something to occupy children for a couple of hours during the school holidays.
Oh, and do check out the short animation, Piper, beforehand, as it is truly lovely.
In Cinemas July 29th!