Photo Credits: @findingdory
In 2003, Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” swam its way into our hearts. Now, 13 years later, “Finding Dory”, the much anticipated sequel, manages to do the same.
Ellen DeGeneres reprises her role as Dory, the unforgettable blue tang who forgets a little too much, and Albert Brooks returns as Marlin, the wary but persistent clownfish who traversed the ocean for his missing son. The film also welcomes a slew of lovable new characters voiced by some of today’s biggest stars, such as Ed O’Neill and Ty Burrell (of the popular sitcom “Modern Family”), Kaitlin Olson, and Idris Elba.
In the film, Dory sets out on a perilous journey to reunite herself with her long lost (and forgotten) parents, Jenny and Charlie (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). Her search brings her to the Marine Life Institute in California where, with the help of a cantankerous old octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill), a visually impaired whale shark named Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), and a beluga whale with busted sonar named Baily (Ty Burrell), Dory rediscovers the place she once called home and learns that, while her short term memory loss is often a hindrance, it is in no way a weakness.
While “Finding Dory” manages to reproduce a lot of the beauty and heart of its predecessor, it is sorely lacking a lot of the wit and humor that made “Finding Nemo” such a hit. Dory’s iffy memory was previously a source of comedic relief; however, in the sequel, it comes off as quite tragic. Dory owned up to her impairment and never let it frighten or inhibit her; now, for the first time, she sees her disability as a burden to herself and others and her once peppy demeanor becomes vulnerable and sad. Dory’s drastic change in personality cuts the film’s funny factor in half. But for the little laughter that it produces, “Finding Dory” still manages to tug at the heartstrings and create an empowering message about the true power possessed by those with mild impairments or disabilities.
If Dory’s moving tale isn’t enough to bring the crowds flocking to the theaters, audiences will be positively delighted by “Piper”, Pixar’s latest traditional short film that precedes the main feature. The baby sandpiper with the big brown eyes and his quest for food has dominated the internet and has had patrons buzzing nonstop since he first flitted from his nest and onto the big screen. Also of note is a haunting rendition of Nat King Cole’s timeless hit “Unforgettable” performed by award winning artist Sia played during the end credits of “Finding Dory”.
Pixar’s nautical tale has changed drastically over the course of 13 years, much like it’s audience. While the charming humor of “Finding Nemo” appealed to the kids of 2003, the melancholy, but moving, message of “Finding Dory” speaks to that same generation now grown, earning it a four out of five. Pixar has many other projects on the way; the first is slated for summer 2017. Until then, just keep swimming.