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Finding Dory Review


Thirteen years ago, Pixar first dipped their toes into the ocean with Finding Nemo, and it’s safe to say  the charming undersea adventure holds a special place in the heart of many a generation. A sequel was something I think we all wanted, but maybe never really thought we needed. The first movie was pretty much perfect: charming, funny, and an endlessly emotional experience. We quote it endlessly, probably watch it more than that. But a sequel is what we got, with Finding Dory putting Ellen DeGeneres’ forgetful blue tang front and centre, with original director Andrew Stanton returning along with pretty much all the cast. And thankfully it was worth the wait, while not exactly reaching the heights of the original.

One year after the events of the first movie, Dory has settled into her life living with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). But when she starts remembering snippets of her early life, the trio once again find themselves travelling across the ocean to find Dory’s parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy), their quest leading them to a marine life institute in California. That’s pretty much the story of Finding Dory, with the story zipping by to get everything in place for the preceding 97 minutes. Just by virtue of the fact that the comic relief is now the main character, this is one of the movies in Pixar’s cannon you could consider an out and out comedy, and with a cast that includes accomplished comedians like Ed O’Neil, Ty Burrell, and Kaitlin Olsen, the gag rate is really off the chart with nary a joke not hitting, and there is really some gems in there, especially anything involving sea lions Fluke and Rudder (a mini The Wire reunion with Idris Elba and Dominic West). But nothing really compares to the absurd, insane, and utterly wonderful finale, which sees the movie indulging in a bit of psychical comedy with some incredibly put together slapstick, and will not fail to plaster a huge smile across your face by the time the ending credits roll.

Thankfully, Stanton (co-screenwriter alongside Victoria Strouse) doesn’t forget to inject emotion into proceedings, with Dory’s story packing in plenty of moments for you pretend there is something in your eye. Her narrative is peppered with a series of funny and sweet flashbacks that flesh out her backstory without slowing down the pace or taking away from the story. It doesn’t feel as personal or engaging as Finding Nemo, but it more than makes up for it with plenty of warmth and charm. The movie slows down somewhat when the spotlight is turned on Marlin and Nemo, with the pair recycling plot threads from the first movie as Marlin once again being the sour puss of the piece, despite his experiences in the first movie. Ed O’Neil’s Hank injects some gruff charm into proceedings, with the one time Al Bundy proving to be one of the movie’s stands outs as Dory's grouchy octopus guide thorough the institute.

While the animation doesn’t push boundaries like recent Pixar installments, especially The Good Dinosaur’s photo realistic environments, it is still firing on all cylinders. The set pieces literally jump off the screen, and the water effects are breathtaking at times, especially when it comes to reflections, but it’s Hank that proves to be an absolute technical marvel, his boneless body shifting effortlessly through the scenery, contorting itself into unbelievable shapes and changing colour at the drop of a hat. Think of Mr. Potato Head’s tortilla body in Toy Story 3 as dry run, and you’re half way there.

It was never going to be Finding Nemo, but with plenty of humour, warmth, and a seemingly endless supply of charm, Finding Dory is worthy successor to its beloved predecessor.


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The Movie Bit: Finding Dory Review
Finding Dory Review
The Movie Bit
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