FINDING DORY. Starring (by voice): Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell, Ed O'Neill, and Kaitlin Olson. Directed by Andrew Stanton. Rated G (Some scenes may scare young children). 103 min.
This is an animated comedy-adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It is a movie that has been much anticipated after the incredibly popular "Finding Nemo", which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature film in 2003.
The film is a sequel to "Finding Nemo " and Andrew Stanton returns to direct it. The film features many characters who starred in the first film, including Dory (herself), Nemo (Dory's friend), and Marlin (Nemo's father). The film focuses on Dory, the forgetful blue tang fish.
Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres in this and the 2003 film) lives on a reef happily in forgetful bliss with Nemo (Hayden Rolence), and Marlin (Albert Brooks), when she remembers that she has a family that might be looking for her. Dory suffers terribly from "short-term memory loss". She tries to retrieve her memories in detail, but they are too fragile and patchy. She recalls things, but the meaning of them eludes her constantly. Her amnesia is so bad that she can't even remember who her parents are. All she knows is "that somewhere out there is my family".
Marlin, Nemo and Dory decide to set off across the Pacific Ocean to find Dory's mother (Diane Keaton) and father (Eugene Levy). Dory's family resides in and around California's Marine Life Institute, where there are some very special residents that live alongside them. They include Hank, a cranky octopus (Ed O'Neill) who has lost one of his tentacles - a very funny comedy character, Bailey, a friendly beluga whale (Ty Burrell), and Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a near-sighted whale shark who turns out to be Dory's friend from the past.
Dory's adventures with her friends are delightful. Marlin, Nemo and Dory are necessarily exposed to risk and danger as they swim across the ocean, but one knows all will come out well in the end.
Not surprisingly, at the end of the film, Dory is reunited with her loved ones, and the meaning of having a truly supportive family is highlighted all along the way. In the first film, Marlin ventured out to find his lost son, Nemo, who was abducted. In this sequel, Marlin and Nemo venture out with Dory, who is lost in another way, to help her find the support that she desperately wants from her own family.
The animation of the film is outstanding, and the scripting for the film is excellent. The film is funny and poignant. Pixar works its magic on colour, vividness, and razor-sharp colour-contrast, and the film is full of beautiful scenes. To emphasise novelty, new characters like Hank are introduced in the movie that are cheekily delightful. A simple emotional heart lies at the core of this film, and it provides positive action which operates all the time to pull family and friends together.
The movie has messages for adults and children alike. For some adults, it is true that if there are "no memories, there are no problems", but children who watch the film will know that loving parents will always be waiting and watching out for them.
This is a film that children in the company of their parents will find very enjoyable, and it is produced with the predictable magic of the Pixar touch. It is not as good as the original film because it has a déjà vu flavour about it that reminds us a little too frequently of the brilliance of "Finding Nemo", but Pixar has produced a thoroughly family-friendly movie by filling it with lively, vivid characters, that will delight.
Peter W. Sheehan is associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting
Walt Disney Studios
Released June 16th., 2016