Let me cut to the chase here. I liked Finding Nemo, almost as much as most people. It was gorgeous, it had lots of fun characters, and the gags were good. Finding Dory is even better. Yes, I said it. Some will disagree, and they might criticise the repeated beats from the first film or the constant use of flashbacks to connect the trail of present events, but I’m sticking with my assertion.

It’s now one year on from the events of the first film, and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) starts to wonder about her parents and her home. She wants to find them. Which is why she is joined by Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) on another adventure across the ocean. But then Dory gets scooped up and placed in a marine life institute, leaving her two friends to find and save her. Thankfully, there might also be some help available from a few sealions (including one voiced by Idris Elba), an octopus (Ed O’Neill) who spends most of his time making himself at one with the environment around him, a whale shark (Kaitlin Olson) and a beluga whale (Ty Burrell). There’s also a loon named Becky, a chatty clam, and quite a few more.

Slightly tamer than its predecessor, although no less capable of tugging at the heartstrings (the design for baby Dory, viewed in the flashbacks, is just TOO cute), Finding Dory works so well for three reasons. First, the usual level of technical excellence and care that we’ve come to expect from Pixar, and especially from main director Andrew Stanton. Two, the voice cast. As well as those already namechecked, we get Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Dominic West, and Sigourney Weaver. Three, a surprisingly large amount of whackiness sprinkled over the supporting characters. There are still plenty of smarts here, but most viewers will come away from this movie thinking about how they laughed at Gerald, another sealion always trying to get some space on a rock, Becky the loon, and that chameleonic octopus.

If we’re allowed to forget all about The Good Dinosaur, and it was so forgetabble that I don’t see why we shouldn’t, then Pixar have shown a glorious return to top form in recent years. And this will fast become a new favourite for youngsters who see it in the cinema. As well as those who try to live their life by the motto “just keep swimming.”

As ever, Pixar precede this feature with a short. Piper is, despite great competition, right up there with some of their best. Sweet, funny, gorgeous to look at. It’s a perfect appetiser before the main event.

Finding Dory is screening at 1400 on 18th June, at the Festival Theatre.

DIRECTOR: ANDREW STANTON, ANGUS MACLANE
WRITER: ANDREW STANTON, VICTORIA STROUSE, BOB PETERSON
STARS: ELLEN DEGENERES, HAYDEN ROLENCE, ALBERT BROOKS, ED O’NEILL, IDRIS ELBA, DIANE KEATON, TY BURRELL, KAITLIN OLSON, WILLEM DAFOE, EUGENE LEVY, DOMINIC WEST, SIGOURNEY WEAVER
RUNTIME: 103 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: USA

Film Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

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