Genre: CG Animation
Director: Andrew Stanton
Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Idris Elba, Kate McKinnon, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy, Diane Keaton, Bill Hader, Dominic West, Kaitlin Olson
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: The Walt Disney Company
Official Website: http://www.disney.sg
Opening Day: 16 June 2016
Synopsis: Disney•Pixar's “Finding Dory” welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his echolocation skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex innerworkings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.
To be honest, this writer did take a moment to wonder: 13 years after Finding Nemo, is a sequel really necessary? After all, the 2003 movie about an overprotective clownfish, along with a regal tang suffering from short term memory loss, searching for his abducted son, is one of the most poignant animated films this reviewer has seen. The Oscar winning movie’s message about learning to take risks and coming terms with oneself is a critical and commercial success. The second highest grossing title of 2003 (after Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) made a total of $867 million worldwide by the end of its initial theatrical run.
And that doesn’t even take into account the money it made from merchandise and home entertainment releases. Could this sequel be an attempt to milk money from 90s babies who have since become more affluent? Were there plans to unleash an avalanche of unnecessary action figures so that 90s babies who have since become parents can buy them for their own kids? Or horrors, was this sequel made so the stars who were involved in the first film could make a comeback?
Shame on this columnist, for having such skeptical thoughts. Did you seriously think that Disney and Pixar would disappoint?
In what could have been a lazy sequel concept, the plot has the amnesiac Dory embarking on a journey to be reunited with her parents. Along the way, she meets new friends and strengthens relationships with old ones (Nemo, Marlin, Mr Ray, Crush and Squirt shouldn’t be unfamiliar names for those who adored the first movie), and everyone learns what family means.
One thing we can’t run away from is that movie making is essentially a business, and we’re just being realistic when we say that the number of new characters (together with fan favourites) simply means more merchandise. Who would say no to a plush toy of Hank, an ill tempered octopus who lost a tentacle (the reference of him being a “septopus” is hilarious)? Wouldn’t you want adorable key chains of Destiny the whale shark and Bailey the beluga whale? And wait till you see the otters as soft toys, neatly decked on the shelves of department stores – you’ll be a scrooge if you don’t go “awww…”
Being aware of the onslaught of marketing aside, this 103 minute movie directed by Andrew Stanton is a beautiful animated adventure. There is much to look at, from the mesmerising depths of the ocean and the colourful setting of the marine institute, to the murky waters of the sewers and the bustling traffic on the highways, there isn’t a moment you aren’t dazzled by what’s presented on screen. The story moves at a quick pace, and there isn’t a dull moment. There is a nice mix of comedy, action and most importantly, emotions.
The cast must have had a delightful time voicing their characters. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks return as Dory and Marlin, Ed O’Neill and Ty Burrell channel their characters from the popular TV series Modern Family (Jay Pritchett and Phil Dunphy) into the grumpy “septopus” and the eager to please but slightly edgy beluga whale respectively. Kaitlin Olson, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba and Dominic West are some of the other star studded voice actors involved.
And we haven’t started talking about the cameo involvement of big names like Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Sigourney Weaver and Willem Dafoe (avoid reading too much content related to the movie if you want to be in a pleasant surprise).
The film is a charm throughout, and we weren’t expecting anything less.
(Delivering charming moments from start to finish - you can rely on a Pixar animated film to do just that)
Review by John Li