Trek takes a long time and through many fish tanks by Richard Jones

A look at Finding Dory (PG)…

DoryBLUE tang fish Dory has become separated from her parents giving Pixar animators a great opportunity to launch her on a monumental search.

She’s accompanied by clownfish father and son Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) but because she suffers from short-term memory loss Dory can’t exactly point them in any meaningful direction.

You might remember that Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) helped Nemo reunite with his Dad in the 2004 movie: Finding Nemo. That reunion came about in Sydney Harbour.

Now the three fish are in Californian waters and have to negotiate numerous fish tanks and holding ponds in a massive marine park. As well as the open ocean.

Dory does have some helpers, though. There’s my favourite an octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill) who has perfected an amazing colour-shifting camouflage routine.

Strictly speaking Hank is a septopus because he has only seven tentacles. How Dory remembers this fact in Roman numerology I don’t know.

But it’s Dory who re-names Hank. And remember she suffers from memory loss.

Then there are watchful sea lions Big Fluke (Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West) who rule their rock vantage point with a strict take-no-prisoners regime.

Their East London accents in a film featuring mainly American voice-over actors are priceless.

But back to Hank. He grudgingly agrees to help Dory because she has a tag on her tail fin which if Hank gets hold of will allow him to transfer to a Cincinnati aquarium.

He hopes to live out his retirement in a carefully temperature-regulated tank in Ohio.

The searchers co-opt two more assistants in the nearby huge oceanarium holding pools in Destiny, a near-sighted whale shark, and Bailey a beluga whale.

The chase sequence where Hank takes over driving duties on the truck taking marine animals across the US to Cincinnati – with Dory barking directions, perched in her little jug of water on the dashboard – seems to have come straight from a crime thriller.

Take out the cops chasing crims routine. Substitute Hank and Dory negotiating a Californian highway.

Look, it’s great school holiday fare. Our eldest granddaughters loved it.

But I have to say I probably agree with eminent film critic, David Stratton.

He mentioned that he enjoyed the prelude to Finding Dory more than the feature film itself.

For those unfamiliar with Pixar kids’ films they start with a short and this one was entitled Piper: a heart-warming story about a fledgling little sandpiper.

Mum’s not much of a help as Piper has to learn how to peck out the flesh from a sea shell before the booming surf on his beach washes the shell plus the tiny bird back out to sea.

He does manage a feed every now and then, mainly from watching nearby adult birds scoop out the precious meal before the waves thunder in.

The short was succinct, educational and free of the constant meanderings of the feature film.


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