Nadene Budden reviews the film that we’re all dying to see.
It is always a little nerve-wracking seeing something from your childhood resurrected in the form of a spinoff, remake or sequel.
This reviewer is no exception to these feelings.
Upon first finding out about Disney/Pixar’s plans to produce and release a sequel of the beloved Finding Nemo, the apple of my six-year-old eye, I was apprehensive. Why must Hollywood ruin all things sacred for more money? What about a second Incredibles – a movie that has famously (or perhaps infamously) left its child audience hanging for over a decade? Did we not learn from the travesty of the Lion King franchise?
Fear not, my jaded, twenty-something friends, Finding Dory is a movie worth squeezing past the kids to see.
For those who want to witness fantastic, animated views of coral reefs and the open ocean, this movie may not be for you. Between a lot of murky shots of kelp and sunken wrecks, we follow Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolance) into a marine life rehabilitation park in an attempt to find Dory’s parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). If you can’t remember where the first film left the three amigos – because it has been 13 years and many of you would have literally gone through all of school or even nearly graduated from university by now – Marlin and Nemo welcomed the lonesome Dory into their family after rescuing Nemo from that horrible dentist’s daughter. However, Dory still suffers from short-term memory loss, and this becomes the plot point.
We find out that Dory herself is lost. Losing her parents when she was little, Dory had been wandering across the ocean until she stumbled upon Marlin. This time, it is her turn to lead the adventure to the “jewel of Morro Bay, California” and find not only her parents, but also the very memories she lost along her way.
Our first new friend is Hank (Ed O’Neill), an octopus that at first begrudgingly takes Dory halfway around the park. We quite literally stumble into Destiny the near-sighted whale shark (Kaitlin Olsen) and a beluga whale named Bailey (Ty Burrell). The three new characters help Dory navigate her way through the park as she gradually regains memory from her childhood.
There is no fear of characters getting eaten by sharks, rather, the fear lies internally with Dory. DeGeneres, with the help of returning director Andrew Stanton, explores the fish’s comic relief quirk and transforms her into a real, in-depth character. I am not ashamed to say I cried a little bit in the process. For a good portion of the movie, Dory’s memory loss is debilitating, leading those around her off in different directions and testing the patience of new friends. By the end of the film, the audience cheers Dory on as she makes her own choices and follows her own path, leading the story to its happy, G-rated conclusion in her own, unique way.
Quite a number of other characters also face their own disabilities and fears, and this is something that resonated with both the six-year-olds at the front of the cinema and the older kids and adults up the back. Whether it is Destiny’s shortsightedness or Hank’s missing tentacle, none of the characters are completely held back from doing the things they are determined to do. Even Nemo, with his little fin, is willing to cross the ocean again, after everything he had been through, to help his friend.
The characters, both old and new, are endearing. As well as having some genuinely funny moments, Dory herself also spills several marine life factoids along the way. This, coupled with some fantastic animation, makes Finding Dory a pretty well-rounded film filled with little hints of nostalgia
Oh, and for anyone wondering what happened to the Tank Gang from way back in Finding Nemo, stick around until the end of the credits.
Finding Dory is now showing in cinemas across Australia. Watch the latest trailer below
All images in article are screenshots from the Finding Dory trailer. (Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures.)