EIFF 2016: Charming sequel that makes a welcome return to Finding Nemo’s aquatic realm
In the 13 years between the release of Finding Nemo and this sequel, Pixar’s stable has included a mix of bona fide classics (WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3) and a couple of more forgettable affairs (Cars 2, The Good Dinosaur). Finding Dory sits somewhere in the middle – it’s a charming follow-up with plenty of laughs and life lessons, but leans a little too heavily on the lasting appeal of its predecessor.
In the first film, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) – the adorable (some might say, annoying) regal blue tang with short-term memory loss – helped Marlin (Albert Brooks) cross the ocean to find his son. In this instalment, it’s Marlin’s turn to lend a fin, as Dory’s childhood memories kick in and she resolves to find her long-lost parents.
Cue another great adventure, littered with mild peril and new friends, intercut with flashbacks to an unbearably cute, wide-eyed young Dory. Marlin and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) take a bit of a backseat in this outing; among the new gang are cockney seals Fluke and Rudder (voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West in a sly nod to The Wire), whales Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and Bailey (Ty Burrell), and – most entertaining of all – endearingly grumpy octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill), Dory’s new bestie.
Finding Nemo’s co-writer/director Andrew Stanton once again pens the screenplay and steers the action (this time with the help of Angus MacLane) ensuring that, for fans, it’s a welcome addition to that fishy tale, with the same blend of humour, compassion and family-loving warmth. There are plenty of saccharine moments, but the filmmakers pull it back from the edge of schmaltz with a smattering of darker jokes (try to hold back a gasp, for instance, when Dory jumps into a bucket of dead fish). And, while it’s too similar to the Oscar-winning original to swim completely solo, Finding Dory is a delightful sequel that gives further life to some of Pixar’s most loveable characters.
Screening on Sat 18 Jun as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016. General release from Fri 29 Jul.