Finally, after 13 years, Disney·Pixar released the sequel to its original aquatic adventure. With many of the original cast returning, Disney·Pixar has succeeded in bringing back the original spirit of the first film to the silver screen, this time focusing on the always forgetful and charming Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) and her past. As Dory follows the trail of seashells, she comes to learn more and more about her history and re-encounters many of her former friends.
Emotional and heartwarming, Finding Dory follows the “Pixar recipe” for sequels: just like in Monsters University and Cars 2, it is turn for the sidekick to take the lead. The classic characters from Finding Nemo, Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence), make an appearance alongside the lovable Dory. Hayden Rolence replaces Alexander Gould as Nemo’s voice, who has experienced a voice change over the 13 years it took to create Finding Dory, with Alexander Gould still returning voicing a minor character (Carl and Tommy, the delivery truck drivers). Simultaneously, a handful of new characters are also introduced. These include Bailey the beluga whale (Ty Burrell), Destiny the clumsy shark whale (Kaitlin Olson) and of course, Hank the Septopus (Ed O’Neill). In this movie, families will find out more about Dory’s past and backstory, which goes full circle until her encounter with Marlin at the beginning of Finding Nemo. As in almost every Pixar movie, the audience is guaranteed laughs and a few emotional tears. In addition to the incredible new sequel, the audience was also treated with a short film prior to the real deal, a captivating and adorable short story called Piper about a sandpiper hatchling struggling and learning to obtain food from the seashore through developing a heartfelt relationship with a hermit crab who shows her the beauty of the underwater world.
The topic of sequels can be, however, quite a debate in the case of Pixar. Out of their 21 released and upcoming films, 8 of them are sequels. As a result, there is a constant fear that by adding to an (otherwise perfectly good) original story, it might get ruined. Andrew Stanton (director of both Finding Nemo and Finding Dory) has often been quoted saying that he refused to develop a sequel after having been requested to do so multiple times, also saying that “It’s more often that somebody fails at a sequel than they succeed”. Even though Pixar has released sequels that live up to the standards of the original films (some might argue that of even better quality in cases like Toy Story 2), they have also had their downfall with slightly disappointing sequels, like Cars 2.
In this case, the movie might not have exceeded the quality of its predecessor, but it has certainly not been a disappointment. While some may argue that the story lacks depth and that it somewhat repeats the plot of the first movie, it is nonetheless imaginative, witty and charming. In regards to the animation, it is stunning and realistic as ever, and will definitely be a strong contender for Best Animated Feature in next year’s Academy Awards. For those who fell in love with Finding Nemo when it was first released in 2003, it would only be logical to go and see Finding Dory, as it is bound to bring back many memories as well as bring up a few tears.
– Femke & Catalina