by Sam Robinson
Rated G. Starring Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton. Directed by Andrew Stanton.
OK – let’s cut to the chase.
Finding Dory is an incredibly solid film. In classic Pixar fashion, director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) has created a beautiful under-the-sea adventure that is far superior to the original, Finding Nemo (2003). That film is so well-loved that my praise might raise some skepticism, but consider the Toy Story franchise – every film was better than the last. This is true of Finding Dory.
The sequel is somewhat of an origins story for the blue tang fish – which is difficult considering the titular character’s short-term memory loss. One year after finding Nemo, Dory wants to find her parents. Her memories are so sketchy though, that the search is not an easy one, but thankfully for us the journey is a delight. Finding Dory is a road movie in which every character met along the way is so carefully crafted – from Hank the camouflaging octopus, to Destiny the near-sighted whale shark, and the slapstick-driven Gerald the sea lion (those eyebrows!). There are laughs, ridiculous sequences of fun and peril, and plenty of classic Pixar ‘I’m not crying, there’s just kelp on my face’ moments.
The animation is outstanding, and proof of thirteen years of technological advancements since the original – just watch the grains of sand in opening short Piper. There’s plenty of heart and affirmation that the outcasts of the world – whether those suffering from amnesia or injury – are a vital part of society. Pixar is making statements about identity as it did in last year’s Inside Out, and it’s exciting to see for this new generation of kids.
‘Stay away from the undertow!’
Avoiding spoilers, Dory’s quest to find her parents sets up the possibility of quite the homecoming. Will she find her parents, or not? And will they welcome her, or perhaps also not remember her? Due to her short-term memory, Dory is prone to wander. She remembers her parents warning her of the danger of the undertow, which can whisk her away to danger and isolation. I was reminded in this film of our proneness to wander, like a sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36), when we forget who our God is and what he has done for us. But as Jesus shares in his story of the Prodigal Son, our heavenly Father welcomes us back from our straying, with open arms (Luke 15:20).
The Verdict: I loved Finding Dory. The story and animation will easily delight both young and old, and is Pixar at its best. Believe the hype. 5/5
Finding Dory will release worldwide next Friday, 17th June.