Why is it that now days, when a movie is released in the theater, a sequel is already in the works? Personally, I think the best movie sequels are the ones that take their time, and don’t come out right away. The animated motion picture “Finding Nemo” came out in 2004, and its first sequel titled “Finding Dory” came out in 2016. That’s over 10 years, and at this point, a great film of this sort earns a sequel. My sister and I watched “Finding Nemo” all the time back when we were kids, so it felt like real treat after all these years to go back to that beautiful underwater Ocean world and reunite with so many familiar characters. Even if the movie wasn’t good, I’d have still been happy just with the novelty of a sequel to one of my favorite child hood films. As it turns out, “Finding Dory” was actually a very good sequel, maybe not as good as the first, but a worthy follow up.
Now the fish Dory was “Finding Nemo’s” big break out character that we all loved, a story dedicated to her could have flopped but I felt the writers put genuine care into this project, and more importantly into this characters journey. Dory is a fish who suffers from short term memory loss, and before the events of the first film, she was separated from her parents, and completely forgot about them. Now the story continues one year after the events of the first film, and some small memories of Dory’s family have started to resurface. Worried she may forget again, Dory follows her feelings and sets out on a journey to find them, with Nemo and Marlin joining her for the adventure. Through a series of events, the two find themselves picked up by humans and dropped in a massive aquarium. With the aid of an escaped octopus, the team venture through a maze of aquatic exhibits, meet some colorful characters, and unravel the secret of Dory’s missing family.
This is a case in which a sequel borrows some familiar plot elements from its predecessor, but dose something new and original with them. The character Dory has always been a magnificent hybrid of comedy and tragedy, as she’s lively, funny and upbeat, but has the undercurrents of a really tragic story, as well as emotionally troubling handicap. The tone of the movie seems to reflect this perfectly as it’s transitions from comedy adventure, to deep family morals are seamless. The new supporting characters are decent enough, but I think they lack that same magical spark of the original characters, some of most of which make some welcome appearances in the film. This includes the sea turtle crush, and even the tank gang from the first film have a very well placed cameo during the after credit scene. As far as the animation is concerned, the film once again looks gorges and the aquarium setting is actually a lot of fun to explore. There are a lot of standout dramatic moments that do a great job putting you in the characters perspective and paranoia, which are effective, but there’s more also than enough cheerful moments to help balance things out.
I’ll admit, nothing about this sequel knocked my socks off, and there are some cartoony antics that seem at odds with the films overall tone and theme, but overall it’s still a very good sequel. It further developed and highlighted one of the original films best characters, was a fitting continuation of its predecessor and one of the better Pixar sequels. Take your kids to see it, they’ll love it, and if you’re a fan of the original, it makes for a nostalgic return back to the sea.
I give “Finding Dory” 4 stars out of 5.