Director: Andrew Stanton (WALL-E) Starring: The voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Idris Elba Verdict: A second search party goes quite swimmingly
DEEP, deep down, Pixar purists sincerely wish the gold-standardsetting animation studio didn’t revisit past glories quite so often.
While Pixar did indeed craft one of the greatest sequels of all-time with Toy Story 3, in recent years their follow-up form (Cars 2, Monsters University) has been passable at best.
Thanks largely to impeccable production values and top-flight vocal performances, Finding Dory swims strongly through better-thanaverage waters throughout.
Though a clear notch beneath its classic predecessor Finding Nemo, lively pacing and a genuinely inspired finale is sure to leave viewers of all ages perfectly happy with what they have seen.
The story takes place a year after the epic search-and-rescue mission that first brought young Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) back into the family fold.
Nemo and his still-stressed dad Marlin (Albert Brooks) are now lending a helping fin to their forgetful friend Dory (Ellen DeGeneres).
The happy-go-lucky blue tang has suddenly remembered a painful separation from her kindly parents some time in the past.
So another oceanic odyssey is soon underway to find them, and it isn’t too long until Dory has their whereabouts whittled down to a marine research institute in California. Once Dory, Marlin, Nemo and an all-new entourage of colourful support characters (the standout of which is Ed O’Neill as a surly, sevententacled octopus) are all positioned in and around the institute, the film does lose some crucial carefree momentum. If anything, the sameness of the principal setting – with its walled-off enclosures and water-pipe transport system – reduces the potential for fresh surprises with Dory so tantalisingly close to completing her mission.
However, any concerns that Finding Dory will be content to amiably go with the flow until the final credits roll are spectacularly quashed with a ripping, race-againsttime final act.
Unless two fish driving a semitrailer on the wrong side of the road on a busy freeway is something you’ve seen before, this hyperimaginatively staged sequence will stand as one of the truly great action scenes of 2016.
With another stretch of school holidays soon upon us, Finding Dory is a good, solid G-rated effort that should be kept near the top of every family’s must-see list.
(As a welcome bonus, Pixar have once again bolted on a brilliant short to the front of this feature. Titled Piper, this beautiful tale of a little bird looking for food on a busy beach represents a huge leap forward in photo-realistic animation technology. Don’t show up late. It is a stunner).