The sequel fatigue has been strong as of late in the movie industry. Recently, sequels and franchises have dominated the box office, not leaving much room for original stories. Sadly, Pixar has been participating in the trend with Monsters University and more Cars movies than necessary. The trend continues with Finding Dory, a sequel to the 2003 feature Finding Nemo. Over ten years later, it’s hard to deny that a sequel is unnecessary especially since the latter ended so well. At first glimpse, Finding Dory seems to be a rehash of the same plot except with everyone’s favorite blue fish as the subject. However, director and writer Andrew Stanton is able to make an original and heartwarming story about Dory’s past and how she came to be.
Finding Dory begins with Dory’s childhood. An incredibly adorable baby Dory (Sloane Murray) is being taught how to cope with her short term memory loss by her parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). All of a sudden, it flash forwards to baby Dory being lost and not sure how to find her way home. The official timeline starts a year after Finding Nemo, when one of Nemo’s classmates asks if Dory has a family. She, Marlin (Albert Brooks), and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) set off on an adventure that takes them to an aquarium in California.
Stanton made sure to include old faces for the older fans and new faces for the younger crowd. Everyone’s favorite sea turtle,Crush (Stanton), makes a brief appearance to help forward the plot, but it’s the new characters that truly shine. Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, and Ed O’Neill all play distinct personalities that aid Dory in her quest to find her family. The film offers a sort of pathos to tug at the viewer’s heartstrings, but also has jokes to balance the emotional moments. But it’s also Stanton made sure to not make Dory a damsel in distress. Even though she can truly in clueless in some situations, she’s still able to be the hero of the hour. I’m not sure whether she knows what she’s doing or if it’s out of pure luck, but it’s still fun to see how Dory gets her friends out of binds. And that all is fun until the last 20 minutes of the film. There is always room for goofiness, but the ending was a little too far-fetched even for a movie about talking fish.
Nonetheless, Pixar proved that it can get at least one sequel right. Here’s hoping the Incredibles sequel will live up to that standard (and also that they’ll stop making Cars sometime soon).