It is impossible to escape ‘cute’ when watching this animated sequel
Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill
Directors: Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane
Rating: 3.5 stars
A review of Finding Dory can be summarised in one monosyllable – Aw! It is impossible to escape ‘cute’ when watching this animated sequel. Released in 2003, Finding Nemo was a runaway hit. The story of a father looking for his lost son was made both funny and improbable by the ocean and its multifarious creatures. Thirteen years later, we are again introduced to the film’s characters. Reunited, clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) are very much at home in the Great Barrier Reef, but Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), their constant companion after that frantic Nemo hunt, is convinced she needs to find her family. Expectedly, they again find themselves at sea.
The film starts with Dory’s parents Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy) teaching their toddler of a blue tang the importance of remembrance. Dory repeats after them, “Hi, I’m Dory and I have short-term remember-y loss.” The fish’s enunciation and wide eyes are adorable, but that only makes her amnesiac condition more affecting. She forgets easily and this only makes the swim to California all the more difficult for Marlin and Nemo, who try hanging on to Dory and find they can’t.
Writer Andrew Stanton, who has also directed the film with Angus MacLane, certainly seems to have environmental concerns. Dory, for instance, gets caught in a bit of plastic that was floats in the water. She’s put of her misery by employees of the Marine Life Institute, which advocates three R’s – ‘Rescue, rehabilitation, release.’ Sigourney Weaver’s voice often reminds us of this.
Dory remembers that this is where her parents lived, but before we get to them, we meet a bunch of fish, all of who have been humanised by one limitation and a couple of eccentricities. Hank (Ed O’Neill), the grumpy octopus has seven arms instead of eight. Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) is a near-sighted white shark who bumps into walls, and beluga whale Bailey (Ty Burrell) is having a little trouble with his echolocation.
Every second sequence in Finding Dory is an adventure. Someone or the other keeps getting lost and has to be found, but the hero of this story is quite definitely Pixar. The animation makes the film a spectacle. A vast number of colours are on offer – we spend a lot of time in the ocean after all – but the film’s palette is never overwhelming. Watching fish emote through the length of the film is never once unconvincing. Pixar, who had just eyes and ears to work with, has achieved something brilliant.
When compared to Finding Nemo, though, the laughs in Dory are fewer. DeGeneres, however, uses her voice to infuse into the protagonist a child-like innocence that is immediately charming. Dory, a story about a fish looking for her parents, certainly does stress on family, and that can only be a good thing. Finding Dory, as I said, is just the kind of family entertainer that’ll make everyone go aw!