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Finding Dory - Review

Finding Dory

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

GIVEN the enduring popularity of Pixar’s Finding Nemo it was perhaps always inevitable that a sequel would eventually surface. The big question was would a follow-up recapture the imagination in the same way as the Toy Story sequels did, or would it merely tread water?

The answer is a little of both. Finding Dory is immense fun, particularly in its use of new characters. But it’s also content to retread (or swim) past ground.

The plot this time may be more focused on the forgetful Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres). But the device is largely the same. A key character (Dory) becomes lost and needs rescuing from somewhere beyond the sea.

The trigger on this occasion is Dory’s sudden ability to remember her past and, in particular, how she was separated from her parents. And so she sets off to California to find them, albeit with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) in tow to begin with. But once the trio become separated and Dory finds herself at an aquarium/research facility, she must make and rely on a new set of friends – including a charismatic octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill) – to achieve her dream.

If anything, Finding Dory is only doing the same kind of thing that Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Creed and Jason Bourne have all found massive success in doing.

But given that this is Pixar -the studio behind such genre defining films as Wall-E and Inside Out – the decision feels more disappointing.

What’s more, it does so without really attempting anything new with the characters. The three principals are all doing much the same things as they were first time around – unlike Woody and Buzz Lightyear, who evolved with each new adventure.

If that sounds harsh, then maybe it is given that Finding Dory remains immensely enjoyable in spite of these drawbacks.

Returning director Andrew Stanton once more co-creates tantalising visuals and introduces a range of colourful new characters, with Hank’s camouflage loving octopus and Idris Elba and Dominic West’s seals the pick of the bunch.

There’s also plenty of invention in the set pieces with the peril magnified for all concerned. Several chase sequences genuinely excite, while the finale delivers a suitably well choreographed highpoint.

And the heart that marked Nemo out in the first place remains intact, with moments to tug at the heart-strings sitting comfortably alongside those that either make you laugh or feel inspired.

What it lacks in ingenuity, Finding Dory more than makes up for with enjoyability for all ages, making this a worthwhile plunge back into the ocean.

Certificate: U
Running time: 1hr 43mins
UK Release Date: July 29, 2016