Review: FINDING DORY (2016) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 13 June 2016

Review: FINDING DORY (2016)

Set one year after the events of FINDING NEMO (2003), the forgetful blue tang fish Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is now living happily with widowed clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence, replacing Alexander Gould from the 2003 original). When Dory suddenly recalls her childhood past being separated from her parents (Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton) a long time ago, she sets out on a journey to Morro Bay, California to find her mum and dad. She eventually ends up at the Marine Life Institute, where she meets a disgruntled octopus Hank (Ed O'Neill). Both of them soon strikes a deal to help each other out, a result that leads them to a series of misadventures. 

REVIEW: With the exceptions of TOY STORY 2 (1999), TOY STORY 3 (2010) and MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (2013), Pixar has so far stumbled creatively with one lacklustre sequel in CARS 2 (2011). Whether it's an animated or a live-action movie, sequels are often hard to pull off. This is especially true when the first movie was so beloved and so successful both critically as well as financially at the same time. Well, TOY STORY managed to achieve that seemingly impossible feat not once, but thrice as each sequel gets better within the trilogy. FINDING NEMO, on the other hand, is the kind of one-off animated feature that doesn't really need a sequel. After all, a sequel to FINDING NEMO can easily end up repeating the same formula or the studio simply doing this for the sake of cashing in the first movie's massive popularity.

Fortunately, returning director Andrew Stanton manages to come up a sequel that is equally entertaining and endearing, even though I have to admit FINDING DORY lacks the strong emotional nuance of the first movie. With the help of co-director Angus MacLane, Stanton has once again successfully immersed the viewers with top-notch animation and amazing characters. Although the movie shown in the press screening doesn't offer the 3D version, the overall animation looks vibrant yet spectacular enough to watch this even in the regular 2D. And speaking of amazing characters, it's nice to see fan favourites including Dory, Marlin and Nemo making their comebacks for the second time around. Likewise, Ellen DeGeneres is both funny and sympathetic as Dory. Albert Brooks and newcomer Hayden Rolence, in the meantime, share terrific father-and-son chemistry as Marlin and Nemo. As for the new characters, one particular standout that I like the most is Ed O'Neill's scene-stealing yet energetic performance as Hank.

Clocking at just 103 minutes, FINDING DORY is pacey enough without compromising the overall quality of this sequel. The story's central premise that focuses on family value is both heartfelt yet involving enough to pull us in. Not to forget most of the humour are spot-on while some of the action sequences, such as the final chase scene, packed with lots of fun and excitement.

No doubt a great sequel best seen with families, Pixar has produced an instant winner this year with FINDING DORY. Last but not least, don't leave the cinema just yet once the end credit rolls since there is a hilarious post-credit scene involving a bunch of supporting characters from FINDING NEMO.

Although FINDING DORY is not as emotionally captivating as the first movie, this sequel still delivers a satisfying amount of fun and heartfelt moments.

* This review is written courtesy from Walt Disney Malaysia press screening *

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