Synopsis: Animated adventure sequel from Pixar in which Dory, a fish with short term memory loss, sets out to find her parents
Director: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Diane Keaton
Genre: Animation / Adventure / Family / Comedy
Release date: July 29, 2016
Running time: 103 mins
Given the phenomenal success of Pixar’s Finding Nemo back in 2003, it’s perhaps a little surprising that it has taken 13 years for a sequel to surface.
To that end, fans of the original fishy tale will be delighted to learn that the sequel has most definitely been worth the wait, while the improvements in digital animation in the intervening years have only made the underwater environments more beautiful.
As the title suggests, this time it’s Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), the blue tang fish with a severe case of short-term memory loss, who takes centre stage, after serving as the comic relief sidekick in the first film.
After a jolt of memory in which she remembers being separated from her parents Charlie and Jenny (Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton), Dory sets out to find them, accompanied by clown fish father and son Marlin and Nemo (Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence).
Along the way she receives help from a variety of colourful characters, including a grouchy, chameleonic octopus (Ed O’Neill) and a pair of boisterous seals (Idris Elba and Dominic West).
The animation is breath-takingly gorgeous throughout and the character design work is flawless, particularly on the character of Hank the Octopus, who could well get his own movie based on his instant popularity here.
In addition, returning director Andrew Stanton (along with co-director Angus MacLane) keeps the action swimming at an exciting pace and pulls off some terrific set-pieces – the chaotic final act is particularly impressive, achieving a bizarre, sustained comic rhythm that works brilliantly.
As with the first film, the voice performances are flawless. The underlying theme of Dory’s story and condition is heart-breakingly sad, yet DeGeneres invests Dory with a relentlessly upbeat, resourceful quality that’s completely charming. In an amusingly clever moment, Nemo passes on his own mantra, “What would Dory do?”, and Dory adopts it as her own.
The script is packed with hilarious gags, both visual and verbal, and the various characters Dory meets along the way are enormous fun.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Pixar movie without moments that are guaranteed to turn on the water-works, so Finding Dory has those in abundance too, not least in a sensitive portrayal of Dory’s condition that strikes powerful emotional resonance as a representation of a learning disability or memory disorder on screen.
It’s becoming something of a cliché to say “Pixar have done it again” after every Pixar movie. But, well, they have. A delight.
Finding Dory was screened as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival, and will be released in UK cinemas next month