Film: “Finding Dory”; Director: Andrew Stanton; Voiceovers: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton. Eugene Levy, Sloane Murray, Idris Elba and Dominic West; Rating: **1/2
Filled with gorgeous colours and unexpected textures, “Finding Dory” is a sequel to the 2003 released, “Finding Nemo”. Like its predecessor, this one too is an animated adventure film with anthropomorphised wildlife, in the same cinematic universe, telling a nearly-similar story.
It is the journey of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a Pacific Regal Blue Tang, who gets displaced and desperately looks around for her family.
Dory suffers from short term memory loss, but she has a short burst of functionality before she forgets what she’s doing or whatever she just learned. Other than her name and the fact that she is separated from her parents, she can’t remember what it was that she just did a moment ago.
You are assured the narrative is bound to be an emotional journey when Dory asks her parents, “What if I forget you, will you ever forget me?”
The narration picks up momentum, a year after Dory is lost and pretty soon after “Finding Nemo”. Dory is living in comfort with the nervous clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence), among other happy members of the sea, at the Great Barrier Reef.
And just like how Dory had advised Marlin, “keep swimming” in “Finding Nemo”, she follows the same principle, when suddenly, without warning, she has glimmers of memory of her parents and life together in a place called the Marine Life Institute in Morro Bay.
So this time around, instead of a parent searching for a child, the tale revolves around the little, young one looking for her kin.
Also supporting Dory in her endeavour are; Hank (Ed O’Neill), a mimic octopus who is adroit at camouflaging with the background, Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) – a near sighted whale shark and Bailey (Ty Burrell) – a beluga whale who has difficulty with his sonar.
There is also Mr. Ray (Bob Peterson), a spotted eagle ray, Crush (Andrew Stanton) the turtle and a pair of rowdy sea-lions Rudder (Dominic West) and Fluke (Idris Elba) who add flavour to the story.
The computer-generated 3D animation is visually delightful with stunningly chaotic set-pieces that includes; dynamic action scenes involving various aquatic creatures, birds, a network of pipes, gift stores, whirlpools and touch tanks under assault from terrifyingly grabby children. It captures the underwater water locales as well as the surface drama to perfection.
Filled with moments of anxiety, perils and goofy slapstick comedy, the script written by Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse, is motivating and emotionally intense. But this, “happily ever after” adventure emits mixed reactions.
While the visuals would appeal to the younger audiences, the message – “once you get lost, what would you do, what would Dory do?”- would be lapped up by older kids, but little ones would be scarred with the fear of getting lost.
Also, the problem with the film, is its elastic third act which stretches, pounding the message of “believe in yourself”.
Overall, “Finding Dory” is a fairly entertaining. It is worth a watch, only if you have not seen “Finding Nemo” or if you suffer from short-term memory loss.