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dir Andrew Stanton
prd Lindsey Collins
scr Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse
voices Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Hayden Rolence, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Sloane Murray, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Sigourney Weaver
release US 17.Jun.16, UK 29.Jul.16
16/US Disney 1h43
Fish out of water: Hank and Dory
EDINBURGH FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
To follow-up his 2003 hit Finding Nemo, filmmaker Andrew Stanton shifts perspective to recount the life of that forgetful blue tang, zooming from childhood past events of the first film to an all-new adventure. It's a charming film that pokes fun at its own cuteness as it touches on some meaningful themes. But much of the action feels oddly undercooked.
With a short-term memory problem, young Dory (Murray) is taught mnemonic tricks by her parents (Keaton and Levy) but still loses them. Years later, Dory (now DeGeneres) has a spark of recollection and sets off to find them, accompanied by pal Marlin (Brooks) and his son Nemo (Rolence). Crossing the ocean, they arrive at a California marine life sanctuary, where they're separated. Dory befriends Hank (O'Neill), a seven-tentacled octopus, and meets the whale shark Destiny (Olson) and the beluga whale Bailey (Burrell). Marlin and Nemo get help from two chucklehead sea lions (Elba and West).
The colourful animation keeps audiences entertained throughout this odyssey, which plays out as a series of set-pieces rather than a sustained journey. Character arcs are fairly simple, especially for Dory, who seems to get less forgetful as the movie goes along, so she can learn important life lessons about perseverance, the value of family and listening to that inner voice. At least these are strong messages that will resonate with viewers, driven home by a series of big emotional scenes that thankfully never feel sentimental.
Vocally, DeGeneres again gives Dory a loveable personality to make everything that happens both witty and engaging. O'Neill has the best sidekick role as the slippery Hank, while Brooks and Rolence have a nice little adventure of their own. Most of the other characters are essentially single jokes that add texture and a few good laughs, if nothing terribly meaningful. And the vocal appearance of Sigourney Weaver creates a superb running gag.
Where the movie jumps the shark, as it were, is in its plainly ridiculous action sequences, which involve tiny fish traversing dry land thanks to a lot of conveniently placed plastic cups, none of which contain fizzy drinks, thankfully. Stanton deploys adorably cuddly critters with a tongue in his cheek, but he does it anyway. And in the final chase sequence, all of this becomes rather far too much to take, obliterating both suspense and the ability to suspend disbelief. But at least there are some real feelings underneath the silly mayhem.
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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