It’s been 13 years since Finding Nemo came out, and now that Pixar seems to be big on sequels we have Finding Dory. I got to go see Finding Dory during a special event hosted around the country called “Dory After Dark.” They showed Finding Nemo and Finding Dory back to back in 3D, and it started at 9pm. It was a late night, and because of this almost everyone in the audience was adults who clearly loved Disney, so it was a great group to watch the films with. And at $25 per person I didn’t think the cost was that bad, especially since we also got a small bag of swag. Slight spoilers ahead, but nothing major.
In many ways, Finding Dory is similar to Finding Nemo. It takes place one year after the first movie, and Dory decides she has to try and track down her parents because some vague memories of them have resurfaced. During their quest Dory gets separated from Marlin and Nemo, and they try to find her again. Along the way both Dory and Marlin/Nemo meet various sea creatures and animals who help or hinder them – and of course provide some comic relief!
Visually the movie is gorgeous. I’m glad I saw it in 3D because I think with all of the ocean life and the scenery it really brought that out a bit. I am by no means an expert on the animation and appearance of films, but I will just say that I was able to appreciate it, which means it stood out for me (in a good way).
I thought they did a nice job of balancing the old characters with new ones. We got quick glimpses of most of our favorite characters from Finding Nemo (including Crush, Bruce, and Mr. Ray), but spent most of our time with new characters. Hank the Octopus in particular was a wonderful new character – somewhat cynical in the beginning of Dory’s charms eventually wear him down to show that he has a heart underneath (or 3, as the case may be). We also met other friends including Destiny and Bailey (two whales), sea lions, and Becky the loon (not thrilled they named the loon after me, but oh well! I know my brother will tease me once he sees this movie).
I also found Finding Dory to be bigger on the comedy than Finding Nemo (not that Nemo wasn’t funny, but Dory is just moreso). I think that makes sense since we focus on Dory who is a pretty comedic figure. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments. The climax of the film was just so utterly ridiculous that I couldn’t stop laughing. That being said, there were certainly some tender moments as well. Just the concept that Dory can’t really remember her parents at all is heartbreaking. And (spoiler alert, but come on – you must know it would happen) when she is finally reunited with them I could not stop crying.
That’s not to say Finding Dory is a perfect film – because it follows such a similar formula to the original one, it doesn’t feel as unique and fresh as Nemo did. And I didn’t quite find it as emotionally moving as the first movie. Despite my tears at the one section, overall Marlin’s adventure seemed to resonate with me more and move me more. But honestly, I’m being really nitpicky at this point to say anything negative about the film, so that’s definitely a good thing.
The short beforehand, Piper, was absolutely adorable. It was sweet, had a nice little life lesson, but I have to say it’s definitely the cutest Pixar short I’ve seen. And the animation is so realistic looking, it’s really incredible.
Overall Finding Dory was a pretty good balance of lessons learned, meaningful moments, and lots of hilarity. As far as Pixar sequels go there’s no doubt in my mind that it is the strongest we’ve seen so far behind the Toy Storys. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and look forward to seeing it again!
Have you seen Finding Dory yet? What do you think of it?