Voices of: DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss and was separated from her parents as a young fish before meeting Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence) from the first film. After hearing a few chance words, Dory suddenly remembers her past in a marine institute at California. She convinces Marlin and Nemo to accompany her on another trans-oceanic odyssey to reunite child with parents. Along the way they meet new characters: Destiny, a whale shark (Kaitlin Olson) Bailey the beluga whale (Ty Burrell) and the gruff and desperate octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill).
Finding Dory is Pixar’s third sequel to one of its properties: following Toy Story 2 and 3, and Cars 2. It has a far bigger challenge since the original film was very self-contained. The heart of that story, Marlin rescuing his son Nemo, and the image of a vast ocean to search for one little fish had emotional resonance, and the temptation to “top it” in a summer blockbuster manner was self-defeating. Luckily, the sequel avoids this mentality, and goes deep. It focuses on a small location (a marine park) and while teasing the possibility of another long ocean voyage, it hilariously subverts it with a quick montage involving turtles.
The theme of this film is memory, since the main character Dory suffers from memory loss and keeps forgetting events. Much like Finding Nemo, this is a movie without villains, revolving around characters that are flawed, quirky and likeable. A lot of characters from the first film, especially the three sharks are missing in this sequel and their absence is felt. In place of that we have three new characters, a whale shark and a beluga whale, both of whom are a little bland. The best and most interesting new addition is Hank the octopus.
He is obviously a favourite of the animator who enjoys playing with the octopus’ ability to blend in and move in the background and his incredible camouflage. Finding Dory suffers from the eternal Disney fondness for cutesiness. The flashback to young Dory with the little baby fish with large tennis ball eyes is a good example.
As a design choice it’s unnecessary, we already know that Dory is a likeable character and that as a child she would have been small, this cuteness seems designed for maximum manipulation when the little girl gets lost and this manipulation is on display later on, when the film makes a rather obvious and sentimental message about acceptance of eccentricities. Finding Dory is not as ambitious as Finding Nemo and lacks some of the magic of the first film. Despite this, it is still an emotional and heartwarming movie, and it’s also filled with clever humorous gags and visual feats.
The writer is programmer, Lightcube Film Society...