I’m going to start this review by saying something controversial. I was not a fan of 'Finding Nemo'.
Now that you’ve finished fanning yourself, clutching your pearls and sharply in-taking your breath, we can begin to move on with this review. It almost feels that everything I found ‘Finding Nemo’ to be missing, ‘Finding Dory’ – excuse the pun but it was too exquisite not to say – found.
Set one year after the events of ‘Finding Nemo’, the focus has shifted not on Marlin and his son, but to the beloved goofy sidekick (of the original film) Dory. You guys remember, the fish with the short-term memory loss problem? I knew you would. Dory’s memory, as problematic as it is, has started to experience flashbacks and as she remembers some fish she misses very dearly – her family. It's up to Dory, Nemo, Marlin and a slew of returning characters (and some amazing new ones) to help her in her quest to find her way home.
First things first, as with all Disney Pixar films – there are no half measures. This cast is one that is out of this world! Ellen DeGeneres many have the titular role but the supporting cast are incredible with Eugene Levi, Diane Keaton, Ty Burrell, Ed O’Niell, Idris Elba and Bill Hader to name a few. I wont tell you which characters they play because it's much more fun trying to pick out the different voices for yourself, almost like discovering an old friend! What I will say is Sigourney Weaver's role is sublime, definitely put there for the adults in the audience.
SWITCH: 'FINDING DORY' TRAILER
For an adult “child” to be searching for a way back home, rather than a more classic parent-finding-lost-child scenario, there is considerably more emotional impact. I think it goes as far to let the children (and probably even the adults watching too) know that sometimes in life we do all get a bit lost, and that isn’t a feeling only exclusive to children. Pixar films are certainly getting deeper and more profound by the minute. The impression that it isn’t only her family Dory is searching for but herself is something that resonates throughout the film too. Who are we if not our memories? Who is a character without these memories? It’s amazing that so many of her friends have such a developed idea of who she is, but (at least at the start of the film) she really can’t understand them at all. In her reconnection with her memory, and also in her acceptance of things she has forgotten, she truly understands who she is. Finally in this paragraph of feelings and existentialism, there is certainly a tone of acceptance in the waters. Dory’s parents accept and love her for who she is, regardless of what that might be and with the challenges facing youth (and non-youth too) it is an important message to be showing – we are all worthy of being loved for who we are.
Delivering everything we have come to expect from a Disney Pixar movie, this film is a beautiful addition to their collection.
One thing that did bug me was that in light of all of these beautiful feelings and ideas, there was very little in the way of talking about their environment - an environment we know is rapidly deteriorating. I honestly don’t think it would have been that hard to make a subtle statement on the impending demise of the Great Barrier Reef and still make it an enjoyable film for all to see – ‘Wall-E’, anyone?
While ‘Finding Nemo’ may have broken some single parent family boundaries - especially the kind about single father families - there was a certain safety to it that may have taken away from the overall effect. I remember watching it when it was released thinking, “So what?” But maybe I was a moody teenager and not the now-emotional wreck of an adult you see before you. There was a certain heart missing from “Finding Nemo’ that ‘Finding Dory’ delivers a school of. Delivering everything we have come to expect from a Disney Pixar movie, this film is a beautiful addition to their collection. Stunning graphics, a brilliant cast, an enjoyable script and a lot of heart, it's easy to get lost in 'Finding Dory'.
P.S. - Make sure you stay till the end of the credits.