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Second Opinion: Finding Dory

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Finding Dory – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Writers: Andrew Stanton (original story by), Andrew Stanton (screenplay)
Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill

Thirteen years after we fell in love with Finding Nemo, Pixar finally brings back the beloved characters for more adventures. Pixar sequels may have been hit and miss in recent years (except for Toy Story, which seems to provide hit after hit) but Finding Dory is sure to keep the fans happy. I must admit to a concern that Dory might have been too reliant on catchphrases to take centre stage; but from the opening scene of a baby Dory being taught by her parents to say ‘Hi, I’m Dory, I suffer from short term memory loss’ any fears were quickly allayed.

When the young fish becomes separated from her parents, she has trouble remembering where she came from … then trouble remembering what she was looking for at all; leading neatly to her encounter with Marlin, and the action of the first film. Cut to a year later, and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is very much part of Marlin and Nemo’s family. But when a school field-trip triggers brief flashbacks, Dory realises what she has been looking for all this time, and vows to find her parents. With echoes of the first film, the three fish travel across the ocean to California, in a Memento style search for identity; spurred on by Dory’s flashbacks. The fun really kicks in, however, once they reach The Marine Life Institute, where the omnipotent voice of Sigourney Weaver guides tourists around its aquarium and conservation centre. This is where the animators truly excel themselves; magnificently creating the terrifying ‘Touch Tank’, which makes the fish tank from Finding Nemo look like a holiday; and the utopian ‘Open Ocean Exhibit’ which shows how their breathtaking hyper-realistic animation has come on even further since the sumptuous original film.

From the hilarious Sea Lions (voiced by The Wire castmates Idris Elba and Dominic West) to Hank the escapee Octopus (Ed O’Neill), via some super-cute Otters, Pixar once again triumphs with its originality of characters. However there are times when character appears more important than a concise story, with some episodic moments shoehorned in just to introduce another of the Institutes residents.

Like Dory herself, this is very much a film for those with a short attention span; moving quickly from one thing to the next. There may be echoes of the original film in the plot, but there’s still plenty of room for surprises, even if some stretch the bounds of possibility a little too far. This is a visually stunning film, and though the story may waver in places, the characters are just as memorable. With a rollercoaster of emotion, and a life-affirming conclusion, Finding Dory may not be the instant classic its predecessor was, but you might just find yourself asking afterwards: ‘What would Dory do?’

 

 

Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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