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Pixar films have recently become like a giant see saw where at the one end they can pull off some of the most memorable animated films in all of cinema such as Toy Story and Inside Out, whereas on the other end they can make films that are just very forgettable with the likes of Brave and Cars 2. This is ultimately a shame given the studio’s glowing reputation to create children’s classics. Finding Dory is a film that could go either way on the see saw but luckily the film has a whiff of a memorable film and does great justice in showing why Pixar still wear the crown as the most impressive animation studio in the western world in terms of narrative and beauty in its animation.

Trapped is the word one would use in terms of how gripping the story is and if you’re a cinema buff and know about Pixar’s hidden easter eggs, you’ll be kicking yourself that you couldn’t spot a single one as you’ll be too involved in the story to notice. The ocean feels alive and vibrant, you can certainly see why the staff took a full marine biology course to be sure they animated the fish right for Finding Nemo and their knowledge is applied to Finding Dory in the same way.

The voice acting  is on point like every Pixar film, you can hear it in the actor’s voices, especially in Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks’ (who voice Dory and Marlin). They have great chemistry together, you can certainly tell that the actors were passionate about this film and why wouldn’t they as they get to play the characters that tugged at our heartstrings back in 2003. You won’t even be able to notice that Nemo is voiced by a different child actor.

Where the familiar character’s shine, it is the introduction of new characters that shine brighter. There’s Hank,00 an octopus that’s really a septopus who gets taught about compassion from Dory when she mentions his unsympathetic attitude despite having three hearts. His character is very interesting and in a way he is very much like Marlin as he’s very stubborn but has a helpful attitude when the time is needed. Destiny the whale shark is a great ball of energy to the film, Kaitlin Olsen’s voice is perfect for the characters’ personality of being clumsy as one of her elements is bumping into walls due to her poor vision. With the development of Dory, it comes as quite a surprise when it is revealed that parts of Dory’s character, which in Finding Nemo we just accepted because it fitted with her personality, actually have origins which will be left unspoiled in this review.0

So does Finding Dory live up to its 2003 counterpart? Unfortunately, no. It’s not a massive blow to our memories because it is still a fun time to watch, but that is why it’s a problem. Whilst Finding Nemo had a lot of heart and managed to make parents cry in the cinema, Finding Dory shifts from the heartstrings and becomes an entertaining film with very little emotional effect on the viewers. Granted there are parts in the film where you’ll start to synchronise your emotions with the characters but by the time you’ve achieved that the film will put you right back in the action. There isn’t enough time to connect with the characters but enough to appreciate them.

Like many sequels today you’ll be able to nitpick every piece of nostalgia in this film and at times you’ll feel as if the director/writer Andrew Stanton is adding nostalgia purely for the sake of nostalgia. The one worded seagulls do make a very brief return but the added characters of Fluke and Rudder (sea lions) do bring down the nostalgia effect the seagulls had because whilst the sea lion unquestionably have more to say, they’ll possibly be known for one word only. Certainly a crying shame as the seagulls were so memorable from Finding Nemo, they’re occurrence should be joyful but instead find it hard to be hit with the nostalgic effect they should have.

Since this is a Pixar film one simply cannot ignore the short animated feature Piper that commences just before the main event but won’t focus on too much in this review. One can wonder if Pixar are trying to show off with their animated shorts as Piper is easily one of the most visually impressive piece of animation Pixar has put out. It’s mind blowing how microscopically detailed Pixar’s animation software can get as every grain of sand and every feather on Piper is so beautiful to look at. Pixar’s shorts have recently opted for stories with no dialogue and they should continue down this path. Each story they bring out you could envision as a feature film in its own right with Piper as a great example of this.

Finding Dory is a great addition to Pixar’s string of great films. It is hopeful that Pixar can take a longer but worthwhile direction to create more stories with more emotional effect (Inside Out proved this point), but nevertheless Finding Dory is beautifully animated with larger than life characters old and familiar and a lingering feeling and understanding of how important family is.

Final Rating (Finding Dory): 8/10 – Very Good

Final Rating (Piper): 9/10 – Excellent

Have you seen Finding Dory? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Next Time – Suicide Squad


Film Reviews

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