Release: 28th November 2016
Format: Disney.Pixar 3D Blu-Ray / Blu-Ray / DVD and Digital
The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Pixar have never been ones to shrink in the face of a challenge, and only on a few occasions have they faulted. With Finding Dory, you couldn’t call the end result so much a failure but rather an inferior product in relation to its daddy. You’d be hard pushed to say there was much material left over from Finding Nemo that demanded a sequel, but clearly the boffins at Pixar searched and salvaged and did their utmost to justify this wishy-washy attempt at printing money. In short, Dory does not make for a compelling protagonist.
Dory is a one note creation who joyfully glides through life remembering only what suits her needs (or those of the filmmakers) and forgets the rest. She is the very definition of sameness. Whereas the ever evolving world of Toy Story felt organic, or the continuation of Monsters Inc. passing as genuine world building, Finding Dory has an ever-present sense of familiarity about it. That feeling of “been there, done that” is like a salty spray of déjà vu reoccurring throughout. So, how do you create an arc for a character whose modus operandi is comedic Alzheimer’s? The answer is that you buffer her with a volley of more interesting sidekicks, drop her in some gorgeous scenery, and use a healthy dose of member berries to keep fans of the original film engaged.
The characters on offer here might not be the most dazzling or even particularly endearing. But they ARE cute, and they ARE funny. Hell, let’s remember, this is a film for 6-year-olds. The undoubted breakouts from Finding Dory are Hank and Becky. As you would expect, the animation of Hank (a gregarious octopus) is nothing short of breath-taking. His slimy tentacles move with an independent grace, sticking and popping as they go. Hank (voiced by the ever reliable grump, Ed O’Neil) has a visible weightiness to him that promote a feeling of not only his mass but also his power and agility. Becky meanwhile, is just hilarious. Think Kevin from Up! crossed with A Bug’s Life’s Heimlich. The rest of the cast is fun enough, and children will inevitably find their favourites in the bunch, but the likes of Bailey and Fluke are unlikely to be the hottest selling toys of 2016.
Finding Dory is harmless Disney magic, but it lacks the grace and smarts of what Pixar usually offer. It looks absolutely stunning, and is yet another milestone in the studio’s technical ability. However, it has a dreadful 3rd act and for the most part just keeps swimming, swimming, swimming…very rarely taking time out to do anything more; which results in a rather frustrating viewing experience.
Film Grade: C+
The special features are absolutely brimming with material. It is not all first-rate stuff, however, and let us just start by saying that Casual Carpool is an absolute bust. Who is this aimed at? I have no idea! And the whole Emoji thing seems like a lame attempt at flogging a separate Disney product.
Piper, the latest Pixar short, is breathtaking and will really warm your cockles. There is a mountain of Interviews and Making Ofs (one of the best being The Octopus That Nearly Broke Pixar). A bunch of Deleted Scenes run for almost an hour, and the Director’s Commentary is the usual mix of creative and technical banter.
The surprise hit comes in the form of four screen saver style films called Living Aquarium. These hypnotic clips are the perfect celebration of Pixar’s artistic wizardry.
There is literally hours and hours of entertainment here.
Special Features Grade: A-
Set in the lower category of Pixar’s output, Finding Dory seems like a place holder between more exciting projects. But it is by far one of the more attractive works we’ve seen from the studio. Who needs Planet Earth II when you’ve got this, right!?