Finding Dory | Movie Review

It has taken thirteen years for one of the most loveable Pixar movies of all time, FINDING NEMO, to gain a sequel. A sequel brought about by a massive public campaign screaming out for more of the clownfish and his posse. And so it is that FINDING DORY is now dominating the worldwide cinema box office. It probably appears obvious but the sequel moves away from a life saving story of cute little clownfish Nemo and concentrates more on the bumbling Blue Tang (or Palette Surgeonfish), Dory.

FINDING DORY marks the seventeenth box office annihilator from Pixar Disney. It is out now playing at nearly every cinema in the world, is rated PG and runs for 97mins. And NB: do not be late to the session, and do not leave early. The short film to screen prior, PIPER, is a work of beautiful art that is not to be missed and the main feature has a post credit’s scene.


Happy Dory in front of a coral reef image




Life is going along swimmingly one year later on the Great Barrier Reef (well in the movie anyways, meanwhile in real life we are totally fucking it up). Dory has become a member of the Marlin/ Nemo family and everyone is coping dealing with her complete lack of short term memory. BAM, out of nowhere Dory has a memory, I suppose this is a symptom of short term memory loss, when it becomes long term it resurfaces.

She remembers her family and how she was basically once Nemo and went missing but failed to relocate her family because she kept forgetting. And so sets out the incredible journey of Dory and her crew trying to locate her parents. There is new and old characters, abundant laughter, abundant colour and what Pixar does best; combining humour and completely heart-touching moments.


Finding Dory Baby Dory Image



Any Pixar movie in the hands of Andrew Stanton is going to be in fine hands. When your directing CV contains FINDING NEMO, WALL-E, JOHN CARTER and now FINDING DORY you know anyone in the world will hire you to do anything. But if you read deeper you see that not only has Stanton directed the greats but his writing includes not only all these films but he is the writer of every TOY STORY movie, this makes him godlike. This time Stanton is joined by co-director Angus MacLane who steps into his first feature directing gig but has been an animator at Pixar on many of the greats over the years.

Together they both bring us an enjoyable sequel that isn’t as good as the first one but has enough to keep adults and children entertained and squealing with laughter. By saying FINDING DORY isn’t as good as FINDING NEMO doesn’t mean it is a bad movie in any way, it just means it was trying to match one of the greatest animations in history. It does a grand job but we have already been introduced into this universe and that was half of the magic. The rest is made up with a great story and many fun loving characters.

I feel they dropped the ball slightly with Crush. He was briefly included solely because he was so loved in the first one but his character wasn’t important and I felt jibbed because I wanted more Crush. But they more than make up for it with the new cast. And **cough – a CRUSH movie would rock the world!!


Finding Dory Destiny, Bailey and Dory image



If anyone doesn’t love Ellen DeGeneres in this role then DIE A SLOW DEATH hahaha. OK, harsh, but she is so loveable and so bubbly that you can’t not love everything about her. And seeing baby Dory will make you all gooey on the inside. Albert Brooks is solid as Marlin, Marlin is still the same introverted scared-of-everything but eventually jumping out of his comfort zone for the greater good character. I was sad to see that Alexander Gould was too grown up to voice Nemo anymore and we got the cutest little newcomer in Hayden Rolence as Nemo’s new voice. I really couldn’t tell them apart.


And after the three central originals the new cast scene steal with their amazing characters. First and foremost, Ed O’Neill steals every scene as the most hilarious Hank. Hank is the seven tentacled octopus of master disguise. LOVED HIM! Ty Burrell, the bumbling dad in Modern Family, who actually attended my screening and made me get all celeb excited, voices Bailey the Beluga Whale. Bailey is having some issues using his echo location and Burrell basically just plays Phil Dunphy but it’s still hilarious.

Add to this the voice actors of Idris Elba and Dominic West as Fluke and Rudder, the two most hysterical seals of all time, the cast is well rounded out. We also must give special mention to Sigourney Weaver playing Sigourney Weaver, a nice bow to Wall-E where she plays the computer. Every time Dory says Sigourney Weaver I burst into giggles.

And I have send love to two characters that are important but never speak, Gerald and Becky. Gerald is a deranged seal who is bullied by Fluke and Rudder but he gets his own back. Then there is Becky the even more deranged bird, loved her, the eye thing had me chuckling. Activists are complaining about these characters for being mentally ill and for being bullied for laughs. I see their point but honestly shut the fuck up, it’s a funny children’s movie, not a user guide to teach children to beat up anything not of the norm. If anything FINDING DORY shows that these characters are different and do get picked on but it never makes them any less important as individuals. A bit more real as opposed to “do not show any form of bullying.”


Dory with Nemo and Marlin image



Technically FINDING DORY is as flawless as any other Pixar movie, if anything the technical reality is that it looks even more lifelike. The skin/ scales of Nemo or Marlin when they stick their heads out of the water had me in awe. And everything just moves seamlessly and looks superb, I don’t know how I could judge the animators on Pixar, I am no god.

The music, the voices, the editing, everything is perfection. Special mention to Sia for performing the title song, a beautiful rendition of Nat King Cole’s UNFORGETTABLE.


Dory and Hank image



We shouldn’t have waited thirteen years for FINDING DORY, it is a great movie but not one that warranted such a wait. It is a great follow up but fails to reach the epic brilliance of FINDING NEMO. The writing is inevitably predictable but it’s a children’s movie, what do you expect? You can’t really have Dory look for her long lost parents and find them as skeletons lost in the void of the ocean.

That being said FINDING DORY will end the year in my Top 20 and will possibly be the best animation for 2017’s Oscars. It has loveable characters we know and new characters to love even more. At its heart it is Pixar through and through and their ability to blend heart and humour will always make them stand out as masters of their field.


4 Pops




 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.