As a kid, ‘Finding Nemo’ was one of the funniest films I owned on DVD. In fact, it probably still is one of the funniest. So, like countless others my age, I waited for the release of ‘Finding Dory’ with a kind of eagerness that can only be brought on by nostalgia. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to see it whilst it was in the cinema, but, now it’s out on DVD wild horses couldn’t have stopped me sitting down to watch it. So, with rather high expectations, I sat down this Saturday and began on a glorious, nostalgic journey.
It seems to me, that the team behind ‘Finding Dory’ are more than aware that they are making a film that countless twenty-somethings will be flocking to see. ‘Finding Dory’ has something of a far more grown up feel to it. The humour is far more subtle and the film is packed full of plot. Far more seems to happen in Dory’s quest than in Nemo’s. And that’s possibly down to one large contributing factor – Dory has more personality.
With ‘Finding Dory’ focusing on Dory herself, I expected a lot more humour, and there was some, plenty in fact. Many jokes ensued from Dory’s short term memory loss problem, but there weren’t as many belly laughs as were created by her personality contrast with Marlin in ‘Finding Nemo’. To some extent, writers had tried to make up for this by pairing Dory for much of the film with Hank the octopus, who in fact Dory pointed out was actually a Septapus – creating on of my favourite lines “I may not remember but I can count”.
Hank’s irritability was great, and did contrast with Dory, but we had Destiny and Bailey who were really nice to Dory, which on top of the rather fast softening of Hank meant that the contrast creating humour was very little.
Saying that, ‘Finding Dory’ was far more heartwarming than ‘Finding Nemo’ and again this, I feel, comes down to the difference between Dory and Nemo. Even as a kid, I didn’t really like Nemo. He was wingey and whiney and downright annoying for most of the film. Dory is funny, kind and in her own way, smart enough to solve problems put in her way. Nemo never really had that and in fact doesn’t in the sequel either. He acts more as a reminder of the first film and as Marlin’s accomplice. He doesn’t really bring anything to the film itself.
Seeing Dory, grow and realise that she can accomplish great things, despite her problems was incredibly touching and heartwarming, made even more so by the wonderfully adorable flashbacks to her childhood with her parents. And I think that’s the great thing about this film. It seems to have more of a message than ‘Finding Nemo’ did, it tells us that whatever problems you have, whatever stands in your way, you can achieve the things you want. And as someone who continues to battle with anxiety, that was incredibly comforting to be told – even if it is from an animated, blue fish that sounds like Ellen DeGeneres.