Finding Dory
4.0Hunky Dory!

Directed by Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane. Starring the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bob Peterson, Kaitlin Olson.

THE PLOT: Having helped Marlin be reunited with his little tyke, Nemo, we jump to one year later, and Dory suddenly remembers that she’s lost someone too. Namely, her parents, having been swept away from them by the undercurrent whilst still just a young ‘un learning how to find her way home by following the trail of shells. That short-term memory loss isn’t helping Dory much now either, as she tries to piece together the fragments of her time with ma and pa, but Marlin and Nemo are determined to help. Even when they end up bouncing around the walls of a Marine Life Institute aquatic rehab centre.

THE VERDICT: Everything has pretty much come up Hunky Dory for Andrew Stanton with this likeable sequel to 2003’s record-breaking and heart-melting Finding Nemo.

There was quite a bit riding on this little fishy, truth be told. Stanton has suffered a mighty ego and box-office blow with the unfair flop of his live-action debut, John Carter (2012), whilst Pixar – The Beatles of animation – have somehow gotten to the point where a new movie can fail horribly at the box-office, and, worse, no one really cares. Did anyone like The Good Dinosaur?

Still, many of those sitting down to Finding Dory won’t be thinking about the engine-room politics. They’ll be thinking about poor Dory, and her wacky search for the worried parents she left behind. Heartstrings are tugged, and funny bones tickled, along the way, even if it did, at times, pack enough anxiety to fill two After Hours. Fans of the original won’t be disappointed.

Review by Paul Byrne


  • filmbuff2011

    After the mild disappointment of The Good Dinosaur, Pixar are back on form with Finding Dory. It’s a worthy sequel which expands upon the backstory of Dory, the blue tang fish with a short-term memory who essentially stole the show in 2003’s Finding Nemo.

    A year after helping Marlin (Albert Brooks) find his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence), the lovable Dory (Ellen Degeneres) is still as forgetful as ever. However, she starts to have flashbacks to when she was a baby fish and finds trace memories of her parents, Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy). She persuades Marlin and Nemo to join her on an adventure to the California coastline, to find her parents. Somewhere, out there, she believes they’re waiting for her to return home. Arriving in California, she’s scooped up by pesky humans and placed in a tank at the Marine Life Institute. There, she befriends gruff but helpful 7-tentacle octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill) and learns to speak whale to clumsy Destiny (Kaitlin Olson). Separated from Marlin and Nemo, she doesn’t give up and asks ‘what would Dory do?’. Ever resourceful and optimistically brave, Dory knows that if she keeps looking she’ll find her way home. If she can just remember…

    Preceded by the customary, delightful short film Piper, Finding Dory sees original director Andrew Stanton return to the same seas after an absence of 13 years, joined this time by co-director Angus MacLane. Sequels are a tricky thing with Pixar. Get it right and you end up with Toy Story 2. Get it wrong and you end up with Cars 2 (predictably, there’s a Cars 3 on the way). But the seeds of the success of Finding Dory were sown in its predecessor.

    A beautifully-written and warmly funny character, voiced with great humour and sympathy by Degeneres, Dory always had the potential to strike out on her own and lead her own movie. Finding Dory acts as both a sequel and as a character piece. Shifting the focus onto Dory, but still keeping returning characters in the loop, allows Stanton and MacLane to play around with Dory’s achilles heel (if fish had heels). It’s not a curse, as Dory learns to live with her memory loss and understand that family can mean friends too. It’s a simple, subtle but highly effective message that doesn’t resort to banging home its purpose repeatedly.

    As is well known, the story is king at Pixar. Stanton and MacLane, along with co-writers Victoria Strouse and Bob Peterson, fill out the remaining characters of the story with wonderfully colourful character traits e.g. the hilariously lazy California sealions and stealth octopus Hank, who really just wants to live in a tank in Cleveland. The gorgeously photo-real animation of underwater environments has improved in 13 years, to the point where you want to reach into the screen and gently touch it. Finding Dory is another resounding success from the true pioneers of modern animation. It’s funny, touching and heart-warming, while being an adventure to treasure for generations – in other words, everything that has come to represent a Pixar film. Pixar fans will want to stay for the end credits. ****