MOVIE REVIEW: Finding Dory (2016)

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“Finding Dory” Review
Written and Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane

One of the most anticipated sequels of the 2016, Finding Dory takes us back to the lives of beloved characters Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks), and Nemo (Hayden Rolence), a year after they crossed the ocean to rescue Nemo from a horrid and mundane fate: living it out in a dental office’s aquarium. Dory now lives right next door to Marlin and Nemo’s anemone home, and has established herself as that kind of family friend (the kind that just shows up unexpectedly). She has become so familiar, Nemo has to warn Dory that anemones sting other fish, but Dory seems to revel in her ignorance.

Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane’s writing team stuck to the formula that made its predecessor a classic: focused on a kind of loss that emboldens you to cross the ocean (quite literally) to regain whatever it is you lost. If it was Nemo before, it’s Dory’s family and memories of her family now.

The film is essentially an origin story for the forgetful Pacific Blue Tang, and how she ended up meeting Marlin in the first place. She has a tendency to lose her memories immediately anyway; but her being able to recollect memories long forgotten drives her to do something about it, lest she forget again.

A smattering of new supporting characters are also introduced to liven up the story even more than it already is: sea lion mates Fluke (a deep and gravelly Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West), tank neighbours Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and Bailey (Ty Burrell), and breakout character Hank (Ed O’Neill), a selfish, grumpy, self-loathing octopus scared of the open ocean and bitter about losing an arm (Dory’s relentless persuasion of him being a septopus instead of an octopus didn’t help, either). Flexible enough to slither (and scale hanging structures) along the ground and capable to change his colour and texture to blend anywhere, Hank is not only entertaining, he also ends up becoming an unexpected bestfriend to our favourite Blue Tang (and I’ll never get tired of seeing him in stroller).

As it is, one of the most thought-provoking aspects of the film is the relationship Dory had with her parents Charlie (Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Dian Keaton). Growing up as a fry with short-term memory and a speech impediment, the film once again shows the challenges of taking care of a child with special needs or disability (Nemo, in fact, is a comparable to a child with one shriveled arm). It’s not something everyone can relate to, but it’s still quite evident, and pulls at the heartstrings a bit too strong.

Finding Dory is not as fresh as the first, but understandable due to the fact that as a sequel, it simply follows a tried-and-tested formula (compared to the risk of the first movie, which could’ve bombed for all we know). Its saving grace though is the wonderfully talented wring pool Pixar has in its studios, making the story happy and poignant, calming and thought-provoking, all at the same time. It’s like Beef Rendang. It almost has everything, but doesn’t feel spoilt. The harmony of so many things combined together, without the chaos. In the end, it’s worth a watch. And it’s worth every peso.

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