Thursday, 29 June 2017

Finding Dory (2016) - Film Review


*Originally written June 29th, 2017*

"Just keep swimming"

I was 10 when Finding Nemo came out, and I've seen it several times since. I find it amazing that it has taken 10 years for a sequel to reach our screens. I'm 20 now and I was so excited for the belated sequel. In a year of several sequels that came out way too late to poor reception, Independence Day: Resurgence and Zoolander 2 for example, I was very cautious when approaching Finding Dory, despite my excitement. Pixar have been pretty hit-and-miss lately. Sure, we've had Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, but we've also been given Cars 2 (*Shudder*) and the less than great Monsters University. Does Finding Dory break the belated sequel curse and deliver another truly great Pixar experience? I am more than happy to say yes. Yes it does.

Finding Dory is another emotional and heartfelt adventure for children and adults, it doesn't reach the heights of the Toy Story trilogy or Monsters Inc, but it sure comes close. This is easily Pixar's best effort since Toy Story 3. I might be a teeny bit baised, seeing I grew up with the original. But that doesn't change the fact this is another excellent animation from Disney.

Taking place exactly one year after the original. Finding Dory follows Dory in her effort to find her real parents after she remembers they exist. She is helped in her effort by Marlon and his son Nemo as they make their way through the Marine Life Institute she was born in.

It was an easy choice for the Pixar to switching the narrative onto Dory, seeing as she was breaking star of the first. I will admit, I wasn't the biggest fan of Dory in Finding Nemo, I found her to be quite annoying and the weakest aspect of the film. Luckily, I was instantly won over by Dory this time around, helped by the fact that Baby Dory (Pictured above) might just be the cutest concoction Disney has come with. Every moment spent with Baby Dory stole my heart, it's one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. I cannot emphasize that enough.

The key to a truly great animated film is making it both for children and adults, Finding Dory is very sucessful on that front. Beneath the surface of the story, the theme of the importance of family is there and the story almost goes to some very dark places which it rightfully backtracks from, but it made the moment no less powerful. There is also a surprising lack of humour here, but when the jokes do come, they almost always land. A lot of the comedy derives from the introduction of some fantastic new characters such as Hank, a octopus who acts like a cliche Vietnam veteran with clear issues, Destiny, a near sighted whale and Bailey, a a whale with echolocation who gave way for a fantastic little homage to the vent scene from Alien.

On top of the Alien homage, there is also a Sigourney Weaver cameo that could not have been any better if they tried. Finding Dory also brings back many of the original cast on top of the three leads. We once again get to see the toirtoses and the class Nemo attends, none of them have changed and it was a welcome addition to ease us back into this world. There's also a tiny cameo from the seagulls, which actually served a purpose to the plot without feeling gratitious.

Pixar do once again knock it out the park when it comes to gorgeous animation. I'm having a hard time thinking of a better looking animated film than Finding Dory right now. It is much improved from its predeccesor, featuring some jaw-dropping and photorealistic water effects. The octopus was also wonderfully animated, it felt like it had weight and I loved what they did with him when he was camouflaged. The cinematography is breathtaking too, the scene where we see the centre aqarium in the Marine Life Institute is truly beautiful. I was in awe and felt 10 again.

All the set-pieces are fun and inspired. From the Alien inspired tunnel scene to the slow-motion finale that makes perfect use of 'What a Wonderful World', it was all memorable and visually creative. I wouldn't say anything here topped the moments in Finding Nemo, but they stand on their own well enough.

While the film did have a huge emotional impact on me. I would be lying if I said it didn't feel familiar. The emotional beats are all earned and feel genuine, but the story does follow the formula of the original a little too much. It plays things a little too safe for the most part. Finding Dory truly comes alive when it's doing something new and exciting, which is more often than not, but that sense of familiarity does come into play during certain moments.

8/10 Dans

Finding Dory is out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:
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