Disney/Pixar Find Magic In This Sequel
In 2003, a clownfish and a blue tang set off on an adventure to find the son of the clownfish named Nemo. Using cutting edge computer animation technology, Disney/Pixar brought the ocean world of Finding Nemo to life and captured the hearts of fans worldwide with a fish tale (no pun intended) full of happiness, fear, sadness and love. Finding Nemo highlighted the strength of love for family and friends, and how strong the heart can be when trying to find a lost loved one. This theme of finding family and never giving up (just keep swimming) is further explored in the wonderful sequel Finding Dory.
Ellen DeGeneres reprises her role as Dory, the kind-hearted and chatty blue tang fish who unfortunately suffers from short-term memory loss. Of course, this movie would not have been possible without the funny, quirky and oftentimes emotional performance that Ellen DeGeneres delivered in Finding Nemo. With the spotlight now on Dory and her story, we get to see more of Ellen’s incredible range on screen with hilarious action or awkward moments, fantastic chemistry with the supporting cast and even tear-jerking moments where your heart almost breaks for Dory and her struggle.
Finding Dory explores the history of Dory, her loving relationship with her parents Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy), her accidental separation from her parents as a young child and her long struggle to find them again despite her short-term memory loss. We get to see the bump in with Marlin (Nemo’s father, played by Albert Brooks) from her point of view before moving to the start of Dory’s adventure shortly after the events of Finding Nemo. Fortunately, the film doesn’t dwell too long on the events of Finding Nemo with the story’s focus being entirely on Dory, her history and her new adventure.
The story runs at a very good pace, first exploring Dory’s childhood and her loving relationship with her parents. We also get to see how Dory has lived with her short term memory loss since she was little and how this affects her social interactions with others, oftentimes being more sad than funny, making the audience truly care for this little fish’s struggle. We don’t learn the exact details of how she became separated from her parents until a little later, but we get a glimpse into what may have been a tragic accident causing Dory to become lost and forever searching for her family. After a quick action-packed moment that takes place shortly after the events of Finding Nemo, Dory has a flash of memory of her parents and her journey begins to find her parents once again with the help of her new friends Marlon and Nemo. There were a few moments where Finding Dory felt like a slightly altered copy of Finding Nemo, with some story elements feeling a little too similar and sometimes treading the same ground, but these moments were few and far between.
The journey towards finding Dory’s parents plays out a lot like a kid-friendly version of the film The Hangover, with the main characters and the audience learning more and more about where they came from and what happened. It is a great story hook that keeps you guessing and anticipating what might come next. The many funny and awkward situations see Dory crossing paths with many other characters and sea creatures, and even the return of a few favourites from Finding Nemo. Hank the Octopus (voiced by Ed O’Neill from Modern Family) plays a rather large role in helping Dory reach her destination when she becomes separated from Marlon and Nemo. Hank is funny in his own short-tempered and negative way, his persona clashing with Dory’s optimistic and friendly nature, but the pair are very funny together based on how they approach tricky situations and eventually build their friendship.
Other characters and supporting cast in Finding Dory are incredibly fun and memorable such as Destiny the Whale Shark (Kaitlin Olson) who can’t see further than 2 metres in front of her and bumps into everything. She shares the same happy and optimistic personality as Dory and adds a wonderful light-hearted charm to the movie. Her friend and neighbour Bailey the Beluga Whale (Ty Burrell also from Modern Family) is also a friendly and light-hearted character with a special ability to map out his surrounding area and find other characters using his sonar-like echo-location involving a funny action from Burrell. Destiny and Bailey’s time on screen is always a highlight as they both work so well together. The Sea Lions Fluke and Rudder (played by Idris Elba and Dominic West respectively) also have a few funny moments together teasing dopey sea lion Gerald on their favourite rock, as seen in the trailer, with the scenes involving them always getting a laugh without outstaying their welcome. Even Sigourney Weaver gets her time to shine in a funny and clever way.
The visual effects in Finding Dory are incredibly stunning, with water effects and sand, dirt, pollution, grime and particles having a more realistic and natural look compared to the computer effects and animation in Finding Nemo. Back in 2003, the computer effects in Finding Nemo were jaw-dropping, but the advancements in technology over the last 13 years has taken computer effects and animation to a whole new level. There were often times I forgot I was watching a computer animated movie.
Finding Dory is a highly enjoyable, funny, heartfelt and entertaining film that anyone of any age will love. It maintains the same charm and humour first introduced in Finding Nemo, but also surprises audiences with a few new memorable characters and funny sequences. The supporting cast and new characters are funny and interesting in their own ways, but Ellen DeGeneres carries the whole film herself with her quirky, hilarious and sometimes emotional portrayal of everyone’s favourite blue tang fish named Dory.
- The story runs at a very good pace.
- We learn more about Dory’s childhood and how she became who she is today.
- It has a great story hook that keeps you guessing and anticipating what might come next.
- The return of a few favourites from Finding Nemo.
- Hank the Octopus is funny in his own short-tempered and negative way.
- The visual effects are incredibly stunning.
- There were a few moments where this film felt like a slightly altered copy of Finding Nemo.
What are your thoughts on this film? Let us know by commenting below.
– Written by Joshua Armstrong