Tuesday, 2 August 2016

REVIEW - FINDING DORY (ANGUS MACLANE AND ANDREW STANTON)


Though the days when Pixar made one masterpiece of artistry after another may now be gone, and though its recent rate of producing animated classics may be poor, even today there are few who'd dispute the studio's astonishing ability in filmmaking. These folks know how to tell a story; Finding Dory is no masterpiece of artistry, nor is it an animated classic, but it's funny, touching, beautifully animated, and just about idiosyncratic enough to save face when set against its justly celebrated predecessors. Most pertinent of those predecessors is obviously 2003's Finding Nemo - what this film needs for structural stability and overall uniqueness, that film needed for emotional depth and tonal inhibition, and thus Dory makes for an equally satisfying swim, and a worthy sequel in spite of the 13-year gap (entirely imperceptible in watching). The four-strong writing team doesn't attempt to render their story - with its shift in perspective from Nemo's plight and his father's rescue mission to Dory's quest - particularly relevant to the first film's, though the two cross paths early on. Instead, they focus almost wholly on their new narrative, albeit with numerous diversions due to our protagonist's thorough lack of focus. This gives Finding Dory a vital sense of purpose and identity (a characteristic of all Pixar sequels); it also places huge faith in the legitimacy of this new central character and the audience's attachment to her. Dory is as dotty and as charming as ever, and Ellen DeGeneres' voice performance as enjoyable. With a general increase in comedy, this is a film defined by affable abandon, with Dory at its heart. But that heart is also heavier this time, and Dory packs an emotional punch that's absent from Nemo; as someone living with a permanent mental condition myself, it struck an acute chord with me. A slow opening act aside, this film swiftly settles into a lovely groove and earns its place in the Pixar pantheon.