The highly anticipated, much desired sequel to 2003’s Pixar sensation Finding Nemo arrived during the summer of 2016 to thunderous audience support. Be it through blind nostalgia or through genuine excitement of a new story featuring the original’s much loved characters, Finding Dory appeared to capture the imagination and interest of a very large amount of people.
However, was this story all it was set up to be? Or was the sheer determination Ellen DeGeneres too great a force to withhold?
I’m sure this isn’t too much a surprise that Finding Dory features a great deal of… Dory. As interesting as that may sound to a 5 year old, I couldn’t think of a more infuriating premise. As magnificent as Finding Nemo was, Finding Dory took all those elements you enjoyed, repeated, diluted and undermined each and every one in the naive hope that your inner child will leap with joy because that’s what you saw in the original wasn’t it?
There seemed to be a clear lack of invention when this story was developed. I’ll admit that there were moments that made me laugh out loud, Idris Elba’s sea lion particularly brought a smile to my face. However unlike its predecessor, Finding Dory managed to lose interest in its own premise within the opening 20 minutes.
ROUND 1 SCORE: 4/10
Round 2 – Characters
This Disney/Pixar summer heavyweight boasted a very impressive list of actors lending their voices to the animated characters. Aside from the returning Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres as Marlin and Dory respectively, individuals such as Ed O’Neil, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy all do what they are paid to do in a sufficiently entertaining manner, however no-one really stood out as a truly outstanding performer. It somehow seemed as though most of the performers did their part, took their cheques and gleefully returned to their business feeling no better or worse for their actions.
Albert Brooks, the true star of Finding Nemo in my opinion, was wasted in his role of Nemo’s Father Marlin. His once whimsical ignorance to the world around played more as nonsensical than secluded, and the insistence to push Dory as the film’s main character seemed somewhat counterproductive. Dory’s brilliance of the original was that she guided the helpless Marlin in to the great beyond. In this, Dory is projected as the character the audience can related to, however we in fact received a Fish continually feeling sorry for themselves, showing no sense of development until the final scene.
Although the majority of characters were not bad, the persistence of making Dory appear deeper than the forgetful goof from he original blinded what could have been a great movie
ROUND 2 SCORE: 5/10
Round 3 – Overall Enjoyment
After being on the ropes for the previous 2 rounds, Finding Dory needed to do what all Disney/Pixar do best: Entertaining. For all of its misgivings in terms of story and characters, the overall level of enjoyment was more sufficient enough to see this contest out as a victory. Just.
As alluded to in the former 2 rounds, this sequel spends a lot of time reminding the viewer of the original movie’s successes, a fact I am willing to agree with completely. It is this continual reminder that allows Finding Dory to entertain the viewer enough to make you feel as though something decent has just happened! For this reason, and this reason alone, Finding Dory managed to scrape through with a W next to its name
ROUND 3 SCORE: 7/10
FINAL SCORE: FINDING DORY WINS BY DECISION 16/30
Finding Dory will deniably be a film a number of families watch on a number of occasions throughout the year. On face value it’s hard to argue against this fact, however due to the abject lack of creativity and the overall sense of self worth that comes with it, this film will unfortunately fall in to the category of what could have been instead of what already is.