Finding Dory

 

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Pixar Animation scores again with its wondrous sequel to Finding Nemo.

 

Finding Dory

 

Usually it’s the first gateau in the cake shop that tastes the yummiest. It’s certainly been a high-carb diet of animation at the multiplex this year. Cartoons are big business in Hollywood and many pretenders have scampered out of the cupboard to compete with the big hitters, Disney and Pixar. Finding Dory, the belated sequel to Finding Nemo (2003), is a Pixar production directed by Andrew Stanton (co-scripter of Toy Story and director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E) and is distributed by Walt Disney. And while we may be bloated by everything from The Angry Birds Movie to The Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory proves yet again why the double-act of Pixar and Disney is king.

 

The thing is, the ocean lends itself to computer animation like no other ecosystem and is packed with such an extraordinary array of life that one can’t help but be constantly bewitched. Dory herself, with a worse case of amnesia than Jason Bourne, is a blue surgeonfish with buck teeth, freckles and rather fetching yellow fins. A leading player in the first film – when she helped to reunite Nemo with his father, Marlin – she has stayed by Nemo’s side to assist in his studies, although she can’t remember a thing. And then she remembers something pretty substantial: her parents. With this germ of a memory sometimes in her head, she sets off on an awfully big adventure in the hope of being restored to the bosom of her family. But the ocean is a terribly big place and Dory is a fish of very little brain…

 

True, the title ‘Finding Dory’ is a somewhat inaccurate description, unless we’re talking about Dory finding herself (whilst in her perilous search), and surgeonfish tend not to have freckles. Or be able to read English. But the film does bring a wealth of fascinating detail to bear and introduces a colourful miscellany of characters, from a wily octopus with extraordinary feats of camouflage to a beluga whale working on its echolocation technique.

 

Finding Dory might not break your heart or leave you weak with laughter, but it is a pretty wondrous thing. The animation is predictably miraculous and even as the closing credits roll it’s hard to take one’s eyes off the screen (and there’s more to come after the copyright date). And there’s enough here to keep both younger audience members and their adult guardians enthralled. As usual, there’s enormous visual invention, constant wit and the odd in-joke (fans of Sigourney Weaver might be pleasantly supplied – she also supplied a ‘disembodied’ voice in Stanton’s WALL-E). But it’s probably the attention to detail that distinguishes the film, from an unremarked upon plastic six-pack ring caught around Dory’s neck to the constantly shifting background flora and fauna. Dory may forget her adventures, but you won’t.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Andrew Stanton, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Sigourney Weaver, John Ratzenberger, Willem Dafoe, Allison Janney, Austin Pendleton, Stephen Root, Vicki Lewis.

 

Dir Andrew Stanton, Pro Lindsey Collins, Screenplay Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse, Ph Jeremy Lasky, Pro Des Steve Pilcher, Ed Axel Geddes, Music Thomas Newman.

 

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios-Walt Disney Studios.

97 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 29 July 2016. Cert. U.