‘Just keep swimming…’
I had reservations about Finding Dory. Partly because fellow sequels Cars 2 and Monsters University are definitely the weakest Pixar films and partly because I always felt that Dory was the worst thing about Finding Nemo. The opening of this long awaited sequel did nothing to allay my fears as the first thirty minutes or so felt like a needless retread of the original. As the story goes on however, director Andrew Stanton captures some of that old Pixar magic and by the end I was as emotionally involved with Finding Dory as I have been with anything I have watched this year.
Finding Dory has two stories for the price of one with Nemo and Marlin attempting to find Dory and the more successful element that sees Dory trying to find her missing family. The scenes involving Dory’s parents lay on the sentimentality a little thick but it feels earned rather than forced and this helps the ending to pack a real emotional wallop.
Ellen DeGeneres gives a performance that is more restrained and nuanced than in the original and this is vital in allowing Dory to carry the film as the main character, rather than the
annoying goofy sidekick. All the voice performances are impressive though and the animation is as wonderful and imaginative as ever. More of the ocean is explored this time which results in many scenes popping with imagination and colour.
The nods to the original feel strained and unnecessary and indeed, Finding Dory never feels as bad as when it is attempting to ape the source material, but when it stands on its own two fins as an original story, Finding Dory is an emotionally rich and enjoyable movie. Turns out Pixar can do sequels that aren’t Toy Story.