Directors: Andrew Stanton (co-director Angus MacLane)
Writers: Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse (Additional screenplay material by Bob Peterson)
Voice Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Sloane Murray, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton
Synopsis: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
*Reviewer Note 2: There is an end-credits scene.*
It’s been about 13 years since Finding Nemo came out and stole most of our hearts with the loveable characters and touching story. While sequel talks were discussed way back then, nothing ever really came about it, until a couple years back when it was announced that Dory would be getting her own story. While many were hesitant and asked if Dory could lead her own movie, and if Finding Nemo needed a sequel, many of us were still okay to see what Pixar could come up with. And if you haven’t learned yet, we should never underestimate Pixar. Ever.
We get a cool little prologue in Finding Dory, as we see a young Dory (voiced by Sloane Murray) with her parents (Levy and Keaton) before she is mysterious by herself and grows up to the Dory we are introduced to in Finding Nemo. From there we jump ahead a year to the present where Dory is now with Marlin (Brooks) and Nemo (now voiced by Hayden Rolence). Suddenly she remembers something about her old home and family, and sets out to find her family. What follows is a grand adventure of Dory traveling through the sea that eventually lands her in marine biology institute where she meets an octopus named Hank (O’Neill), a beluga whale named Bailey (Burrell) and a former whale friend named Destiny (Olson). All the while, Marlin and Nemo try to track her down.
I’ll be honest, I shared most of the fears that many people had about Finding Dory not being a worthwhile sequel, and potentially following some, if not all, of the same story structure that Nemo did. Although, it does somewhat mirror Nemo, thankfully the team behind the film didn’t fall into that pitfall. The film does enough to separate itself from the first film, but still makes it feel like it is set within the same world.
The film is also a lot funnier than I thought it would be too, but with that, the film also has a lot of heart. Dory is the center piece of the film and has a great journey. She doesn’t spend the film with Marlin or Nemo, instead she spends the majority of it with Hank, and the two characters work so well together. Dory’s story is a great one that will probably hit home with many and is one that will tug on your heartstrings, the only way Pixar can.
Marlin and Nemo take a backseat this time, but do have a nice arc about their own relationship. Destiny and Bailey also work tremendously together and with Dory, and it’s kind of a shame that they don’t have more screen time. Idris Elba and Dominic West pop up as sea lions that don’t really get enough screen time at all, but are great fun to watch when they are.
All in all, Finding Dory is a prime example of why we should never underestimate Pixar. While the sequel may not be better than the first film in some people’s eyes, it is a worthwhile sequel that fans will like or love.
4 out of 5