Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Finding Dory

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A get-in-the-mood viewing of 2003's Finding Nemo reminded me how hilarious Dory was, so, it's hard to believe Pixar has taken so long to give this unforgettable blue tang fish her own film.

I mean, The Cars franchise will next year spit out its third film in 11 years.

That thought aside, the length of time between films might be good for Finding Dory, as it has a sameness to the original.

There's an eccentric collection of new characters in the Pixar movie Finding Dory. Photo / AP
There's an eccentric collection of new characters in the Pixar movie Finding Dory. Photo / AP

Finding Nemo wowed with its technical prowess, emotional directness and courageous characters.

It's clear from the very beginning that Finding Nemo screenwriter and director Andrew Stanton is sticking to the spirit and characters of the original film - and go so far as to recycle the plot too.

Both films start with a flashback to set the scene; Finding Nemo explained why Marlin was such an over-protective dad, while Finding Dory opens on Dory's parents schooling their little daughter to tell people she has, as she sweetly calls it, "short-term remember-y loss".

In the present day, Dory starts having flashbacks.

She remembers she has parents and that they live in California, and soon Dory, Marlin and Nemo have caught up with turtle surfer Crush and his son Squirt and are flying to the polluted California coastline.

Just like Nemo, Dory soon becomes a fish out of water - she's quarantined at the Marine Life Institute in California, meeting octopus Hank (Ed O'Neill), an escape artist who helps Dory navigate the aquarium to find her parents, while Marlin and Nemo are left trying to find Dory.

he Disney-Pixar film Finding Dory, starring lesbian comedian Ellen Degeneres.
he Disney-Pixar film Finding Dory, starring lesbian comedian Ellen Degeneres.

It can be a risk promoting the comedic sidekick, but Dory is the perfect lead.

The optimism and humour she brings by looking at situations differently every few minutes made her the quiet hero of Finding Nemo, and, with her memory returning, there's plenty of opportunity to develop her character.

There's an eccentric collection of new characters - the real scene stealers though are a couple of hilarious sea lions, voiced by The Wire co-stars Idris Elba and Dominic West, whose mix of barking madness and calm helpfulness provide real laughs.

The story also has a giggle at the way people react to cute animals - cue a family of cuddling beavers - and puts a strong case forward as to why kids' touching tanks should be banned from aquariums.

There are differences from the first film, with Finding Dory pushing the boundaries of what these animals can do.

 Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, in a scene from Finding Dory. Photo / AP
Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, in a scene from Finding Dory. Photo / AP

It's ridiculous when Marlin and Nemo fly across a playground on water fountain spouts or when and Hank drives a truck - and the more ridiculous it gets, the less magical it is.

So, Finding Dory doesn't quite reach the heights of Finding Nemo. But it's a lovely experience for those riding the Pacific Ocean currents for the first time, and a nostalgic one for those of us returning.

Review: Finding Dory

Cast: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Running Time: 103 mins
Rating: G Verdict: A swimmingly good tale.

- TimeOut

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