'Finding Nemo' was one of my favourite Pixar movies of all time, and 12 years on, the announcement of the sequel was met with some contention. The first one was just sooo good that it didn't need a sequel, and anything short of perfection would mar the brilliance of the original. Thankfully, the team at Pixar came up with a pretty neat idea which turned this movie into a sort of spin-off slash sequel featuring our favourite Pacific Blue tang, a fun film that stands very much on its own.
After the events of the first movie, Dory, Marlin and Nemo live happily in the reef. Until one day, Dory remembers a glimpse of her parents and the three set out on an adventure to find them, meeting hilarious new characters on the way.
Once again set in the beautifully animated ocean depths, the joy of being amongst the colourful array of fish and sea life is to die for. Character favs including Crush and Squirt return for a cameo, whilst new characters with their own personality including Hank the Septopus, Destiny the whale shark and the adorable otters make for lovable co-stars.
The film draws from what we loved so much about the first film and manifests it fully in this one, pretty much like for like. Whilst this could be a criticism, it somehow still works. Instead of Nemo being taken into a dentist's fish tank, Dory is 'rescued' to a sealife centre. From there, it is a cat and mouse chase that sees Marlin and Nemo trying to rescue Dory, and Dory trying to find her parents and then each other.
One difference, however, is that the events of this movie are much less 'thrilling'. We had sharks, jellyfish, weird deep ocean fish with sharp teeth and a water purifier that threatened the wellbeing of our characters in 'Nemo'. Time after time, it is a struggle for survival as Marlin and Dory try to find his son. The love and determination was much more deeply embedded in that movie, which made it resonate. This time, it is simply a joy ride, with the focus on laughs over thrills.
Dory speaking whale takes centre stage and continues to bring out the big laughs, whilst Sigourney Weaver's cameo was delightfully funny. Some witty lines and puns aside, the other funny but recycled laugh are the sea lions screaming 'off off off', a mirror to the seagulls of the last film.
Plot lines are mostly predictable and expected, but can be forgiven given the film's intent. This is not high-Pixar, its simply a load of fun, and we had a lot of fun watching it.
Ellen Degeneres- Dory
Albert Brooks- Marlin
Ed O'Neill- Hank
Ty Burrell- Bailey
Diane Keaton- Jenny
Idris Elba- Fluke
Also voiced by Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Willem Dafoe.
I loved the world of 'Finding Nemo' so much that I wanted more, and this is exactly what I got. Despite some plot similarities and some re-worked jokes, 'Finding Dory' is a hilarious spin-off/sequel that takes everything we loved about the first movie and repackaged it as beautifully animated ball of fun.
It doesn't break new ground and it isn't high-Pixar, but sometimes you just gotta make something truly enjoyable, and this is it. Another sequel? It would take a real genius to figure that one out- unless Marlin's wife isn't actually dead.