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Finding Dory - Film Review

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by Karen Ross (subscribe)
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Published June 16th 2016
Just Keep Swimming
It's hard to believe the much loved 'Finding Nemo' movie was released thirteen years ago in 2003. The long awaited sequel, Finding Dory, starts in cinemas this week. Dory, the forgetful blue tang fish, stars along with other original characters including Nemo, Marlin, Mr. Ray, Crush and Squirt and they are joined by a collection of new characters.

Finding Dory. Courtesy of Disney.
Finding Dory. Courtesy of Disney.


Finding Dory features an impressive cast of voice talent including Ellen DeGeneres (Dory), Ed O'Neil (Hank) and Dianne Keaton (Jenny).

Although termed 'sequel' the very beginning of Finding Dory is actually set before Nemo's story, and the movies can easily be watched and understood in either order.

I felt fortunate to see a special showcase of Finding Dory before its official release and I have to say, I loved it.

It's an emotional tale, accompanied by an emotional theme song; Irving Gordon's 'Unforgettable', performed by the inimitable Sia.

Marlin, Dory and Nemo. Photo courtesy of Disney
Marlin, Dory and Nemo. Photo courtesy of Disney


The story begins when a very young Dory, who suffers from short term memory loss, strays away from her home and parents, Jenny and Charlie. While swimming with her friends Marlin and Nemo she is struck by a fleeting memory that sparks a mission to find her family.

This sets a series of challenges in motion, each threatening to defeat Dory in her goal to return to her home and parents. With help and encouragement (mostly) from Marlin, Nemo and various other marine-life characters, Dory begins to piece lost memories together.

Mr Ray. Photo courtesy of Disney
Mr Ray. Photo courtesy of Disney


At the Marine Life Institute, Dory happens upon the camouflage-savvy octopus, Hank, who becomes her primary guide despite the fact he is firmly focussed on his own secret mission.

I found Hank's character both appealing and hilarious. He is a fine example of how realistically convincing the combination of excellent animation and voice acting can be, in terms of character development. Dory poignantly points out that Hank is actually a septipus, rather than an octopus, since he is missing one of his tentacles.

Hank. Photo courtesy of Disney
Hank. Photo courtesy of Disney


The Marine Life Institute's main mission is to 'Rescue, Rehabilitate and Return', a message continuously reinforced by characters during the movie. Sigourney Weaver, as herself, reinforces this message as part of her ongoing Marine Life Mission narration. The curious inclusion of Sigourney Weaver presumably refers to her real life work as an environmental supporter and Planet Earth narrator and is part of the subtle, adult-level humour incorporated into this multi-faceted story.

The theme of Dory's story is concerned with overcoming challenges, of which there are many. In fact the movie started to drag for me, just slightly, toward the end when, seemingly, every single character needed to be accounted for. The oft-repeated mantra is 'just keep swimming', in other words; believe in yourself and never give up. The delightful Dory reminds us all that triumph over adversity is possible.

The movie runs for 103 minutes and is rated G with the warning that some scenes may scare young children. My six-year-old movie companion, however, took the dark scenes in her stride and showed her clear understanding of the messages, a sign to me that the movie worked.

Finding Dory is certainly a movie the whole family can enjoy and is sure to be a popular choice in the upcoming school holidays.
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*Karen Ross was invited as a guest
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