W.W.D.D: What would Dory do?
13 years on from the incredible Finding Nemo and our fish friends are back – but this time Dory is the focus. Our favorite Paracanthurus (Blue Tang) is back. The phrase above is not just my new mantra for living, it’s the motto of the movie. At one point a character even asks himself, What Would Dory Do? For Dory is one of Pixar’s greatest creations – truly lovely, totally optimistic with a tenacious heart of gold. What is truly Pixar about both her onscreen features is how her having memory loss is handled – it is not her main character trait nor is it treated as a problem that needs ‘fixing’. It is part of who Dory is, yet something she does not allow to completely control her. Her much awaited sequel really does not disappoint.
it’s been a year since Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) first meet Marlin (Albert Brooks) and traveled across the ocean to find his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence). Dory is a fixed point in Nemo’s life, she lives next door and often tags along during school. During a class trip she has a flashback to her childhood and remembers her family, her mother and father, who she had forgotten about due to her amnesia. Devastated that she had forgotten her parents for so long she is determined to find them. Marlin and Nemo agree to accompany on her quest but on their way they get separated – with Dory being ‘rescued’ by workers from the Marine Life Institute. She ends meeting a seven-legged octopus called Hank (Ed O’Neill) who agrees to help her find her parents – for a price. Marlin and Nemo desperately search for Dory, as she desperately continues her own search for her parents.
There are so many truly wonderful aspects of this film that I fear I’m best of describing this as a love-fest rather than a review! I experience all the emotions whilst watching this movie. I laughed so much my stomach hurt, cried so much I feared my face would not dry and actually experience genuine aching of the heart on several occasions.
Finding Nemo came out when I was 11 – obviously a crucial time when have a burgeoning sense of the world, of your place in it and of the people who fill it. The film plugged my biggest fear (then and, rather embarrassingly, now) of being separated from those I love, lost and unbearably far from home. Seeing my friends from under the sea felt like a pipe dream, and when I really reflected kind of unnecessary as Nemo had already been found..? And yet, after seeing Finding Dory, this is the sequel we needed. And, hopefully, it’s one we deserve. To start with, just look at the beautiful animation in the above GIF! It’s hard to believe how far animation has come in the past 13 years. The original film had breath-taking visuals. Here it is of an awe-inspiring quality. Truly beautiful.
And then there’s the story. The story itself is cleverly written, told immensely well with heart and soul. It’s also so bloomin’ funny I need to see it again to hear the jokes I missed as I was laughing at the other jokes! Where Finding Dory also succeeds as a sequel is it’s balance between old and new. There are lovely nods to old friends (see above DUDE!) old jokes and the old story along with the new. The shift in focus on Dory is natural, far from forced, and the exploration of her character adds depth not just to her characterization but of other characters. It is the scenes on her own that are unbearably moving, particularly her anxieties which are portrayed so well.
What makes Dory such a wonderful character is how she unintentionally, and rather unwittingly, brings good to the lives of others (hence the new mantra). It’s a joy to watch all her interactions with the other residents of the ocean. My favorite new addition had to Hank the ‘septopus’. Whereas the duo of Marlin and Dory worked with her countering his reserved cautious nature with instinctive spontaneity, Dory works well as an antidote for Hanks rather understandable pessimism.
There are so many other cameos of familiar fishes and brilliant new additions that I could discuss but won’t as I really don’t want to spoil the film. All I will say, as with many of the great animations, it’s a lot of funny hearing familiar voices in the unlikeliest of figures. Look at for the surprising voice of this flubbery friend…
Once you’ve read this review I suggest you go and book your ticket to see it. If you’ve seen it already then go see it again! It’s what I plan to do… Along with finding a way to adopt the adorbale-ness that is baby Dory. Look at that face and tell me you don’t want to go spend more time with her.
In terms of Pixar rankings Finding Dory is comfortably in the better half of Pixar’s output. Think Toy Story 3 or Inside out. An utter joy to watch; both when laughing or when crying. And on occasion, when you’re doing both a the same time!
Also, make sure you stay for the after credits scene..
Pixar Short: Piper
As with all Pixar movies Finding Dory opens with a short, about a baby seagull. It may just be my favorite short yet – something I never thought I would say after the beauty of last year’s Lava. Here’s the teaser trailer as I think it can more than speak for itself.