Monday, 8 August 2016

Film Review No. 11 Finding Dory (U)

Strong Points:
Amazing animation
Nice tale that expands upon the first film
Good references to the first film
Excellent voice acting
Some genuinely touching moments
Clever interactions between land and sea
Good twists
Good cameos
Baby Dory

Weak Points:
Nemo wasn't really in it but was just enough for it to seem odd
Some plot points may have been stretched a bit far

Some slight spoilers ahead:

In-depth Review:
This film suffers the same fate as my last reviewed film, The BFG. I can't find much wrong with it but it doesn't quite hit the high mark to be called a masterpiece. Of course, Finding Dory had the added difficulty of both having to keep up with Pixar's high standards and compete with Finding Nemo, one of the greats of animation.

Finding Dory, like its predecessor, is an adventure film about trying to find a family member they've lost while finding themselves along the way. The main character is Dory, the forgetful but happy-go-lucky sidekick of the original, again voiced by Ellen DeGeneres who brings great comedy to the role and with just enough anxiousness and doubt to make the character of an amnesiac fish believable. Marlin and Nemo also tag along for the ride with Marlin having some of the greatest quips about the first film. Nemo, however, I felt was a bit underused and seemed to be there just because he was needed as a starring role, not really having any development or great interaction with the other characters besides his dad. Also, some character points (such as Dory's forgetting nature or Hank's camouflage) could become mildly repetitive to some.

The setting of the film was the Marine Life Institue, a rehabilitation centre and tourist attraction, which made for some great interactions between land and sea animals. While the setting is more contained than the vast ocean of Finding Nemo, it more than makes up for it with depth and detail with lots of varied locations being used from the Kids Zone to Quarantine.

Lots of new characters were introduced in this film from Hank the septopus, a grumpy octopus with seven tentacles and the ability to camouflage, to Bailey, a beluga whale who believes he can't use his sonar and even a Cockney sea-lion voiced by Idris Elba. All these new characters fit surprisingly well into the film and general franchise with new favourites being made. Cameo's from Crash the sea tortoise and Mr Ray, as well as the seagulls, mean that you are spoiled for choice when it comes to comedy archetypes.

The general story is about Dory remembering her family and trying to get back. The twist is that she grew up not in the open ocean, but in a marine research/tourist attraction centre which is an interesting plot point/character development point - she can read due to being able to see the sign boards all the time when she was growing up. I, for one, didn't guess she had grown up there, instead, I thought her parents had been captured like Nemo had been.

Baby Dory is ador(y)able. With massive eyes and the innocence of a toddler, she made you empathise with Dory's entire situation even more and there were some truly heart-breaking moments when she forgot things or got lost as you could really tell she had no idea what she was doing. The parents were also really well characterised with you getting the idea that they were both at the end of their tether mentally and physically although really didn't want to admit it.

The film was literally bright, with a vibrant colour scheme and the setting of a bright day which I really liked as it helped set the tone of the film nicely. This is a film where you'll laugh, cry and learn, much like Dory and also much like Dory, won't get bogged down in the details.

Pixar's animation has always been one step above the rest and this film is no exception with incredible detail on all the models and environments. The water was simply superb and messes with your head just a bit, that's how real it looks.

Conclusion: the care and attention to detail for the entire film was amazing and, in a year of sometimes rushed films, excited but inexperienced to tell a message. it is nice to watch a film and a studio which can do this with such finesse. This is a film you won't be forgetting for quite some time.

Rating: 90%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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