AS PERFECT A FINDING NEMO FOLLOW-UP AS YOU COULD GET!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A+ (4 stars)
Dory off on another incredible adventure that she probably won’t remember in Finding Dory
What am I talking about again? Oh right, Finding Dory, the dynamic duo, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios return with their follow-up to the 2003 animated smash, Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo was a critical and commercial success upon release and even to this day people still talk about the impact the film had and it’s basically a timeless classic now, in fact they re-released in 3D not too long ago.
The film had very memorable characters, quotable lines, comedy, drama, suspense, and the film as a whole is fueled on emotion, something Pixar is almost always great at. Now over ten years later, Pixar continues the adventures of clownfish, Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks-Lost in America, Defending Your Life, The Simpsons Movie), his son, Nemo (voiced by newcomer Hayden Rolence, replacing Alexander Gould from the first film), and of course everyone’s favorite forgetful Pacific regal blue tang, Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres-Dr. Dolittle, EDtv, Ellen) with Finding Dory.
When I first heard they were doing a sequel to Finding Nemo, I was both extremely excited but also a little skeptical. The reason, Finding Nemo is one of those movies that I consider a “Perfect Film”, everything is in its right place it was powerful in drama, comedy, and character, it’d be tricky to make a sequel to it and still have it be just as amazing as the first film.
Not to mention, the non-Toy Story related Pixar sequels haven’t been all that great, Cars 2 was disliked by critics, making it the first Pixar dud and Monsters University was okay at best, but nothing spectacular. I was at least excited to see the characters I grew up with again on the big-screen and curious to see if the film would turn out fine.
Fortunately, Finding Dory turned out to be a perfect follow-up to Finding Nemo, it embraced everything that made it a great film, added new memorable characters, lots of humorous jokes and visual gags, and it cranks up the emotion, like Inside Out on emotional steroids. In my opinion, it’s the best non-Toy Story Pixar sequel, throw Cars 2 and Monsters University into the ocean.
Ever since she was a little fish, Dory always had Short-Term Memory Loss and would forget things easily, like where she is, what she’s talking about, and who her parents are. One day she got separated from her parents and since then she spent pretty much her whole life trying to find them, until she bumped into Marlin when he was trying to catch the boat that took his son, Nemo.
One year after the events of Finding Nemo, Dory volunteers as a teacher’s assistant for Mr. Ray (voiced by Bob Peterson-Monsters Inc., Up, Toy Story 3). Mr. Ray gives Nemo and his class of fish a lesson on migration and how it means going home to where you’re from and Dory soon realizes that she had a family at one point.
Dory, with the help of Marlin, Nemo, sea turtle, Crush (voiced by director, Andrew Stanton), and a colorful cast of new characters, sets off on another journey across the sea to find her parents. Along the way Dory gets captured and put into an aquarium where she meets an ill-tempered octopus named Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill-Wayne’s World 1 and 2, Modern Family, Wreck-It Ralph), her childhood friend and whale shark named Destiny (voiced by Kaitlin Olson-It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Leap Year, Brickleberry), and a beluga whale named Bailey (voiced by Ty Burrell-The Incredible Hulk, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Muppets Most Wanted) to name a few that accompany Dory on her journey.
Meanwhile Marlin and Nemo get the aid of two sea lions named Fluke (voiced by Idris Elba-Marvel Cinematic Universe, Zootopia, The Jungle Book) and Rudder (voiced by Dominic West-Chicago, Arthur Christmas, John Carter) and an offbeat, kooky, loon named Becky, who does not talk, to help them find Dory and bring her home.
The film also features the voices of Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, The Godfather trilogy, Father of the Bride) as Jenny, Eugene Levy (American Pie franchise, The Man, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian) as Charlie, Bill Hader (Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs, Men in Black 3, The Angry Birds Movie) as Ned, and Kate McKinnon (Life Partners, Balls Out, The Angry Birds Movie) as Inez.
Overall, Finding Dory is a fantastic movie and one of the best sequels I’ve seen in a while, especially for a movie I thought was so self-contained that following it up would have been completely pointless, thank God I was wrong. You can tell the filmmakers behind the film are writing from their hearts and they put a lot of passion and care in their projects, except for when they just want money from the little kids (I’m looking at you Cars 2!).
The film has a perfect balance of familiar characters and new characters and they’re all memorable. Although I was hoping to get more screen-time with Nemo’s misfit friends from the first film and appearances from Bruce and the sharks, but the characters they brought in are just as good and you really don’t care if not all the characters from the first film are in here.
The animation is gorgeous, and I’m not just talking about underwater, the design of the aquarium and the surface look incredible. Like many of Pixar’s films, the humor and writing are very clever and the movie is filled with hilarious jokes and visual gags, even a couple adult jokes are hidden in there, but don’t worry it’s nothing the little kids would think about.
The drama and emotion are amplified here, the way Dory’s backstory is told is very heartbreaking, I actually recall jerking a tear or two, and this is an animated film for kids, and I love Pixar for doing that, it’s not silly all the time but it’s not too serious or depressing, it has enough to keep a wide audience engaged.
If you loved the first film, you’re probably at the theater watching it right now.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, what do we do? We swim. Alright I’ll stop now.