It has been 13 years since Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” hit theaters. Over the years it has remained as one of Pixar’s strongest efforts while being cherished as a children’s classic. However, most of the kids who saw it upon release are now adults. When a sequel is released over a decade after the original, it usually manages to disappoint while overly relying on nostalgia to keep the film afloat. Thankfully, that is not the case with “Finding Dory”. A lot of time and effort was put into bringing back these characters and their world. It certainly proves that long-awaited sequels can be satisfying when done properly.
The story picks up one year after the events of “Nemo”. With Dory living with Marlin and Nemo while struggling with her own life-long problem of short-term memory loss, she begins to remember her past. Once she discovers who her parents are, she decides to go on a journey through the open ocean to find them.
Unlike the original movie, this one follows the break-out supporting character, Dory, just as the title suggests. It brings a lot of wonderful development to a character that primarily provided laughs in the first one. Flashback sequences are perfectly blended into the narrative which provide a lot of insightful information that fleshes out this Dory origin story. Marlin and Nemo are very much pushed into supporting roles this time around. While some of the notable characters like Crush the turtle make welcomed appearances, wonderful new characters are thrown into the mix. The highlights include Hank the octopus who helps Dory navigate her way to her parents and the two sea lions, Fluke and Rudder, who bring much of the comedy.
Computer animation has drastically improved in the past 13 years and this film definitely shows it. The detail to these fish and their underwater environments is absolutely stunning. These characters are for more detailed and expressive as opposed to the groundbreaking animation done for the 2003 predecessor. But the best thing about this film would have to be Ellen DeGeneres who perfectly slips back into the forgetful blue fish. With the story revolving around her, she really manages to be the glue holding this entire film together. Albert Brooks also does a great job of reprising Marlin with a new child actor taking on Nemo. Watching Marlin and Dory banter with one another brought back the magic from over a decade ago.
Pixar managed to take on the challenge of devoting a film to the comedic supporting character and it pays off. The long wait for this follow-up is certainly worth it. The original audience has grown into millennials which makes the movie perfect for that demographic. That’s not to say parents and a new generation of children won’t enjoy this as well. With the success of this film, I am excited to see what Pixar does with their other long-gestured sequels set to be released. “Finding Dory” beautifully reprises these characters with a refreshing message without leaning too much on the success of the original. Be sure and stay through the credits for this one. “Finding Dory” is now in theaters everywhere.