For many, Finding Nemo was a childhood favourite, a tale about a frantic father desperately crossing the ocean to find his son. In this sequel, the team at Pixar decided to take a second look at Dory, the forgetful and funny little fish that accompanied Marlin.
There was always poignancy to Dory – that such a cheerful, optimistic soul forgets almost everything – and this is especially brought out as we get to see her as a kid. The flashbacks are touching, and they set out the second movie’s plot in motion – for Dory to find her parents.
Finding Dory is, as the title suggests, as much Dory looking for herself as she is for her parents. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks return to voice Dory and Marlin, and this, along with the familiar opening, grounds the movie and sets up a launch pad for the sometimes hectic story that follows.
This time around, the fish find themselves at a marine rescue centre and meet a host of characters who are all disabled in some way, just like Dory.
And as much as the movie is about Dory overcoming her disability, we have Hank the septimus (a seven legged octopus voiced by Ed O’Neill) losing his bitterness; Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a near-sighted whale shark who was Dory’s childhood friend breaking free despite not being able to see well; the hilarious beluga whale Bailey (Ty Burrell) healing after his head injury as well as a host of other characters who are charming and who make the movie feel fresh.
If there is one slight drawback to the movie, it’s the amount of close-calls it puts everyone through which can be exhausting after a while, but it more than makes up for, in the quiet scenes such as one terrific moment where Dory is heartbroken and alone – the animated cinematography as it pulls the audience into her vision is incredibly visceral.
If the movie ends more or less where it began, know that it only does so figuratively, for each character has undergone a journey of their own. There’s also a post credits scene that hints at what might have become of other Finding Nemo characters that didn’t make it into the film itself. Overall, Finding Dory keeps the magic of Finding Nemo, a worthy sequel for one of the best loved animated movies of all time. It has a positive message for kids, and many of all ages are sure to enjoy it.
It’s also worth noting the incredibly beautiful short movie that precedes it; ‘Piper’. It’s just six minutes long but tells a story about overcoming fear and being creative. It’s a lovely little treat, so watch out for it.