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Finding Dory

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Pixar’s follow-up to their 2003 ocean odyssey Finding Nemo fulfills several functions of a sequel. It reunites the central characters of Dory (Ellen Degeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) for another wacky adventure; it expands the fictional world with new environments, characters and situations; it explains Dory’s backstory that was never explored in the original. As a result, Finding Dory fleshes (fishes?) out the overall mythos, introducing the utterly adorable infant Dory (Sloane Murray) and her short term memory loss, as well as the events that led to her meeting Marlin and the events of Finding Nemo. One year after those events, Dory remembers something and sets off to find her family, with Marlin and Nemo along for the tide (sorry). The great strength of Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane’s follow-up is that it is not simply another oceanic search, as the majority of the action takes place at a Marine Life Institute. This environment constitutes a wonderfully diverse obstacle course for our finned friends, as they travel from sea to tank to pool to pipe, with the odd bucket and drinking vessel along the way. Familiar faces reappear such as Mr Ray (Bob Peterson) and Crush (Andrew Stanton), while the institute features a wonderful cavalcade of new characters, including Destiny the myopic whale shark (Kaitlin Olson), Bailey the beluga (Ty Burrell) who fears his echolocation, Fluke (Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West) the rock-jealous sea lions. Much as Dory proved to be the star of Finding Nemo, the breakout star of Finding Dory is Hank the traumatised octopus (Ed O’Neill) (or as Dory points out, septopus). Hank’s changing form creates many of the film’s funniest moments, the relationship between him and Dory growing through the trials and tribulations that they encounter. These trials are sometimes intense and distressing, but Stanton and MacLane never overplay the drama, balancing heart-wrenching instances with many laugh out loud moments. While it may not reach the depths of Pixar’s best, Finding Dory still offers gallons of intelligent fun.

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