Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill
Director: Andrew Stanton
Running Time: 97 mins
Finding Dory is an American film and the sequel to Finding Nemo. Years after losing her parents, Dory, who suffers from short-term memory loss, begins to piece together clues that she hopes will lead her back to her mum and dad at a seaside aquarium in California.
First things first, Finding Dory has nothing on Finding Nemo. It’s not a huge emotional rollercoaster, and it’s not quite as hilarious or charming as the original was. That said, it’s still a hugely entertaining film full of life and heart from start to finish. With a brilliant width of delightful characters, all backed up with great voice performances, along with typically beautiful animation, Finding Dory is a great family film, just not a Pixar classic.
I want to start with what I liked most about the film, the characters. Fortunately, Finding Dory isn’t a sequel that just rehashes the same story but with a couple of different people involved, instead it’s a film that builds on the previous one by expanding the universe to encompass new characters in a new adventure.
So, whilst we have Dory in a leading role again, Marlin and Nemo take back seats to new characters that play a big part in Dory’s quest to find her parents. There’s an octopus named Hank, a wonderful whale shark named Destiny, a hilarious beluga whale named Bailey, and a hilarious sea lion duo, all of whom bring so much new life and diversity to this world, and help to make Finding Dory feel like a different film.
The various characters all work brilliantly in the story, but they’d be nothing without the collection of fantastic voice performances. Ellen DeGeneres is once again stunning as Dory, bringing a manic energy and fantastic comedic ability to the film, lighting up the lead role. Meanwhile, new actors such as Ed O’Neill as Hank, Kaitlin Olson as Destiny, Ty Burrell as Bailey and Idris Elba as Fluke, all make their various supporting characters stand out on their own, which was wonderful to see.
The overall effect of the characters is to give the story a very warm and cosy feeling. Unlike Finding Nemo, which was at times a devastating watch, Finding Dory is a much lighter and happier kids’ movie. There are moments of emotional power, and some of the flashbacks to Dory’s life with her parents really do tug at your heartstrings, but the majority of the film feels a lot more like a normal adventure film than a truly riveting and dramatic story.
You can take that as a good thing or a bad thing, but I really enjoyed Finding Dory for what it was. I recognise that its lighter tone means it’s nowhere near as good as Finding Nemo, and won’t be remembered as a Pixar classic. However, as a family movie, it’s pretty much perfect. This is a hugely entertaining film with jokes galore, great characters and performances, as well as an engaging and often poignant story, and that’s why I’m giving Finding Dory a 7.9.