Trust Pixar to make you cry every time…
It’s safe to say that Finding Dory is one of the most anticipated sequels to come out in 2016. After the raging success of Finding Nemo (2003), we were all holding breaths for the announcement and later bits and pieces of information about its sequel.
Would it be as charming? Would it live up to our expectations? Would it make us long for more?
Yes, yes, and yes, definitely!
As it often is with the sequels, they tend to be dim shadows of the original material, and maybe it would be the case if the second film was focused on the same characters as the first one, but Finding Dory is an entirely different story, which, I believe, is exactly what it needed to succeed.
It is lovely, and sweet, and hilarious at times, and utterly heartbreaking – a perfect mix that Pixar sure knows how to incorporate into their projects. And the reason of its success is quite possibly that it’s not exactly a sequel in the usual meaning of this word. Yes, we meet Marlin and Nemo, the characters first introduced in Finding Nemo, but the story as a whole is about Dory, a Pacific regal blue tang suffering from the short term memory loss in search of her parents she could barely remember.
What makes Finding Dory special, aside from the top-notch animation and quirky characters, is the message the movie conveys – it is okay to be different and it is okay to have a disability. You don’t need to be fixed to be happy. There are so many films out there that state otherwise – all the movies about miraculous healings and spectacular make-overs that try to fit everyone into the box defined by society. Finding Dory breaks those rules, resulting in one hell of an unforgettable experience.
I sincerely hope that Finding Hank will be next.
In the world of Pixar, the quality of the sequel usually matches the quality of the original movie. Hell, the Toy Story sequels made me love the franchise where the first one, despite its overall quality, couldn’t convince me. Yes, sue me, I didn’t like the first Toy Story when I was a kid. I had a visceral reaction to Woody’s behaviour towards Buzz that I just couldn’t get over for years. Fortunately, I did love Finding Nemo and once again, Pixar proved that when it gets it right, it gets it RIGHT.
If Finding Nemo took us across the Pacific Ocean and right to Australia, Finding Dory takes us for a tour of the North American west coast, as Dory, our favourite blue tang, searches for her long lost parents. I won’t spoil anything because I want you to run to the next theater and watch it, but it’s clever, funny as hell, and a little heartbreaking. And also heart-warming. Once again, Pixars aims right at our hearts with good story, great characters, and beautiful visuals.
If I had one little critique to make, I’d say that the climax was a bit too long. There’s a segment in there that felt like it was really just made to get another few laughs out of the kiddies, without adding anything to the story. I would have cut it out entirely. But that’s really a minor problem, because I can still only urge you to see the movie. It’s great to see a good movie about living with disability, and it just feels so good to see something fresh, colourful, and positive these days.
Also, write me down for a Finding Hank. That octopus is my soulmate.
In hindsight, I should’ve known that Finding Dory was going to tear my heart out of my chest and obliterate it. After what they did to me with Inside Out, I should’ve prepared myself for the feels trip I was going to embark on.
Dory was and still is one of Pixar’s most unique and loveable characters. What’s not to adore about a forgetful fish who is also voiced by one of the world’s most loveable people, Ellen DeGeneres? While she was mostly comic relief and a key plot driver in the first film, she becomes a fully-fledged character with a sincere backstory that I’m still crying over. Even though she’s been orphaned by circumstance and cursed with a bad memory, Dory’s search for her parents and where home is a beautiful example of perseverance and comfort from unlikely places.
What Pixar does so well, is that they use the bones of the Hero’s Journey narrative and craft some of the most intricately human stories ever told on film around it. What’s essentially a story about a character in search for her past, becomes so much more than just that. They were able to weave multiple realization-of-self stories without losing anyone in the scuffle, all to the backdrop of the topical concerns of the aquarium industry.
I loved it. It touched – no, rocketblasted – my soul and made me thoroughly appreciate the love a parent can have for their child, and how good friends and optimism and get you through almost anything. I think it’s safe to say that Finding Dory blew me out of the water (ha). Also, Ty Burrell as a sarcastic beluga made my entire life.