For the longest time I have always commended Pixar Animation for their most endearing and original stories. Starting with Toy Story to the lovable emotions within Inside Out, Pixar has always given audiences a new look on the most innocent of subjects. Unfortunately along the way, Pixar has also fallen into the sequel trap. Of course some of those sequels were worth a look like Toy Story 2 & 3 and then there were some that we really didn’t need (*cough* Cars 2). So when I heard the news of a sequel to one of the most popular Pixar films, Finding Nemo, I didn’t know how to react. Now after watching this year’s Pixar film, Finding Dory, I’m still a little unsure.
One year after the events of Nemo, everyone’s favorite Blue Tang fish has a nagging feeling that she is forgetting something. Turns out that Dory (Ellen DeGeneres Ellen) was searching for her family on that fateful day she bumped heads with worrisome Marlin (Albert Brooks Concussion). With bits and pieces of memories cracking their way through her conscience, Dory enlists the help of Marlin and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence) to help her swim back across the Pacific Ocean to “The Jewel of Morro Bay California”, which happens to be a Marine Life Institute. When there, Dory encounters new characters and old friends in her quest to find her parents.
Like all Pixar films, the voice cast of this film is superb and right on point. DeGeneres, of course, is still very lovable as Dory and gives a very touching performance as the forgetful fish. I also really enjoyed Ed O’Neill’s (Modern Family) take on a very determined Octopus named Hank. I am always amazed on how Pixar is able to cast wonderful actors for these characters so perfectly. It just seems like these actors were born to play the characters they voice, they always seem like an impeccable match. The animation is top notch as well. The seascapes that these animators create are so lifelike. The sway of the kelp in the ocean, the movement of the fish is so realistic.
I’m sorry to do this to such an anticipated movie, but I could ignore some of these flaws. As much as I love the first film, parts of this film just seemed like recycled bits from Nemo. Taking aside the obvious (the plot itself), but stuff like the reintroduction of the Sea Turtles (which make a 3 minute appearance) and the replacement of the Sea Gulls with Sea Lions as the new possessive animal in the sea. Though other parts were very original, I just didn’t think that the writers needed to reutilize these elements. They could have used more energy separating this story from the original. Also, and most heartbreaking, is that most of these new characters are immediately forgettable. All of the characters from the original film have somehow become staples within the Pixar world, yet some of these new characters I feel will never have that lasting impression. Besides Hank, who helps Dory the most, are introduced and tossed aside just as quickly.
Holding her own movie very well, Dory gives us a growing love for the Blue Tang. DeGeneres and the writers give Dory a little more laughs and even more emotional moments. However, I hoped that the writers could have spent more time separating this film from the original. I was also hoping to fall in love with other creatures from the sea, but I didn’t get to spend much time with them. If you are a fan of the original and are not as picky as I am, I’m pretty positive that you’ll enjoy the film. I would have to say that it is on the better half of the Pixar sequels.
Finding Dory is in theaters.