*NEW* FINDING DORY REVIEW *NEW*

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Was it worth the wait? Should they have bothered?

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.

Awww. 13 years (That’s right. 13 years?!) have passed since the first outing and surprisingly only a year has passed in the story line but either way I can happily say that it felt like they never left.

Despite being ripped by family members and work colleagues, I was happy to see that I wasn’t the only 20 something looking forward to this. BUT did it deliver? In a nutshell, yes. Anyone who says otherwise, OFF! OFF! OFF!

Of course before the movie even started, we had an adorable little animated short about Piper. The baby bird who must learn to fend for itself and overcome the trauma of the tide. Delightful. Easing us in for one of the most anticipated sequels of the year.

A heart-warming opening explored Dory’s past as we delved into her childhood and her battle with short term memory loss. The subject matter was handled delicately as Dory’s loving parents try and support her condition. I loved how it filled in the gaps and explained the origins of that annoyingly catchy “Just Keep Swimming” song.

We follow young Dory as she loses her parents and her memory of them altogether. Wandering the ocean for years, disoriented and confused. That is until she crosses paths with a raving mad clown fish desperate to find his son.

The plot line may have been a complete retread of the original with Dory getting lost, abducted and thrown into a strange aquarium but it was a journey I was still happy to take. What Andrew Stanton and the Pixar co may have lacked in story; they delivered with humour, charm and heart.

It was great to see the old faces and I did crack a little smile when Dory, Marlin and Nemo surfed with Crush and the gang. However, there were several faces that I was disappointed NOT to see make an appearance (*cough* Hellooo Bruceee *cough*).

For the hardcore Pixar fans; I couldn’t believe there wasn’t even a John Ratzenberger cameo! The man whose vocal talents had featured in almost every one. Until now.

The aquarium world may have been a little confined (Pardon the expression) BUT at least we were rewarded with new faces that stole the show; Becky the dozy bird, Bailey the bumbling Beluga Whale (Ty Burrell – Modern Family), Hank the cantankerous Octopus (voiced to perfection by Ed O’Neill – Married with Children/Modern Family) and, my personal favourites, the sloth-like seals Fluke and Rudder (voiced by none other than The Wire’s Idris Elba and Dominic West).

Every new supporting character helped bring some much needed fun and energy to a highly predictable story line from Fluke and Rudder’s rock rivalry with simple Gerald to a depressed sea clam in need of some company. Burrell was hysterical as Bailey. His attempt at echolocation had me in stitches.

Marlin and Nemo were pushed into the background a lot more than I’d hoped or expected. I knew this was always going to be Dory’s story BUT Brooks’ mad ramblings and whimpering were missed.

However, DeGeneres was on fine form yet again as our leading lady. From the random stories to her hysterical whale babble. You really felt for Dory as she battled the memories and flashbacks. Desperate to reunite with her family once and for all.

The flashbacks were insightful (To begin with) but they soon overstayed their welcome and got a little repetitive. Reiterating the same old points by the closing act.

I liked the dynamic between Hank and Dory. They were a great duo. Hank’s resilience to resist Dory’s charm, as he focused on his mission to avoid returning to the ‘filthy ocean life’, was the perfect tonic.

A couple of the whale talking skits may have gone on a bit but it didn’t spoil the fun. The touch pool sequence was like something out of a horror film with all the little sea creatures hiding and clinging on for dear life. An unexpected cameo and an underwater pipe sonar sequence delivered a brilliant Alien homage.

The chase sequences (especially a high speed truck chase) may have took the biscuit BUT it was far too silly and fun for me to gripe about too much. There were also some genuinely touching moments. BUT yet it didn’t quite pluck the heart strings or grab me as much as the original did.

It was always going to be a tall order. Especially after Pixar outdone themselves with Toy Story 3 (I’m ignoring Planes and Cars on the sequel debate). BUT it was still good fun and easygoing with a mad bunch of characters. A nice post credits sequence subdued some of the little niggles that were bugging me.

Pixar delivered a wonderful message about coping with mental disabilities and still managed to work their magic to make this miserable movie moaner look like this for a couple of hours . . .

gerald

3.5/5

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TWO BY TWO . . . OOPS! THE ARK HAS GONE REVIEW

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TWO many things wrong with this animated flick. A biblical disaster!

Look, I know that this is a kids film. BUT not even the little ‘uns that were in the cinema were interested.

The animation was good at least. BUT not even the bright colours and zany effects could shy away the tepid mess and wishy washy story line beneath its boring surface.

It’s the end of the world. A flood is coming. Luckily for Dave (Dermot Magennis) and his son Finny (Callum Maloney), a couple of clumsy Nestrians, an Ark has been built to save all animals. But as it turns out, Nestrians aren’t allowed. Sneaking on board with the involuntary help of Hazel (Tara Flynn) and her daughter Leah (Ava Connolly), two Grymps, they think they’re safe. Until the curious kids fall off the Ark. It’s definitely not going to be smooth sailing.

Ah ha. Nice try, IMDb with the blurb.

Nestrians? Grymps? That wasn’t even me asking. That was the children. “They weren’t on the Ark? Where are they now?” Of course, it was always going to be exaggerated for the film. And say what you will about the parable of Noah and the Ark but adding new species without any real interest or explanation? Come on!

We don’t really find out much about the Nestrians until the closing minutes. Other than that when they are scared, they release a blue smelly gas. Delightful. Too little, too late. The Grymps were just dogs, to be honest.

The father/son dynamic with Dave and Finny was a poor rip off of Finding Nemo. A overanxious father afraid to stay settled. Jumping at the slightest sense of danger and moving away to the furthest, most isolated spot in the middle of nowhere.

It didn’t help that the predictable cliched set up was hampered with dull jokes that weren’t really funny. Reduced to lazy fart gags and slapstick. Now I don’t mind a little of that. But every 30 seconds to compensate for what little was on offer? Tut tut tut.

The only chuckle I got from this was a scene involving an avalanche of boulders descending upon on some predatory gargoyle things in the form of Tetris. An old school reference that went totally over the little ‘uns heads.

I’m not going to lie. I almost nodded off. In fact, I might have. The fact I was having to recall whether I slept or not meant the film had certainly not done its job.

Woeful. I usually commend family films because they always have something for every one and normally succeed where other genres fail but this offers very little for all. This should have been released as a TV cartoon at best (If they still do weekend cartoons in the mornings). It doesn’t have enough to justify being on the silver screen.

The plot holes just rubbed me up the wrong way. A lion appointed by Noah to select what animals get on the list? Really? Also, where is Noah? The lion is steering the ark at one point. The check in cruise liner gag was okay if predictable. The monkey butlers got a little smile.

It didn’t help that Leah and Finny were so unlikeable. The journey they go on is so formulaic and uninteresting. It was slapped together so lazily and cornily that I really couldn’t care.

Maloney does his darndest to make Finny likeable but he is just so annoying and the poor boy’s voice really does grate against you. Giving a kid with verbal diarrhea a microphone was probably not the best idea.

Paul Tylak and Patrick FitzSymons tried their best with Obesey and the parasite that rests on his head (Eurgh! That’s right) Tanglefoot. FitzSymons’ delivery was so flat. He sounded bored doing the role. The only one liner I thought was okay; “I only came for dinner but what can I say, you’re a great host?”. Ba-dum-tsssh!

Like the oncoming waves, the film just swept through the motions. Lazy, unfunny and mind-numbing.

The creatures only discover key attributes about themselves after a dramatically tense moment in the closing 15 minutes with Finny falling into the ocean. The Finding Nemo references were uncanny but it couldn’t hide just how poor this really was.

Disappointed isn’t even the word. But it will have to do for now. I refuse to waste any more energy on this shambolic affair.

1/5