Movie sequels have a tenuous reputation. The sequel is either a wonderful addition to the narrative of the original film or it can be a harsh reminder of why some sequels fail to capture the magic of the original film.
Thirteen years ago, Pixar and Disney released a little film called Finding Nemo. It was the story of a young clownfish named Nemo who is separated from his overprotective father, Marlin and the journey that is taken to recover Nemo. Within North America alone, the film grossed $337.9 million dollars.
While Nemo was the title character, the standout character was a blue tang fish named Dory. Voiced by comedienne and talk show host Ellen Degeneres, Dory was known for her chipper personality and her less than iron clad memory.
Last weekend, Disney and Pixar released the sequel to Finding Nemo with Dory as the main character, titled Finding Dory.
Taking place a year after Finding Nemo ended, Dory is still as chipper and forgetful as ever. Remembering bits and pieces of her childhood and her missing parents, Charlie and Jenny (Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton), Dory is on a quest to find her parents. With Marlin (again voiced by Albert Brooks) and Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) by her side, Dory is determined to reunite with her family.
Dory’s memories take her to an aquarium, where she is assisted by Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill), the curmudgeonly septopus, a partially blind whale shark named Destiny (voiced by Kaitlin Olson) and beluga named Bailey (Ty Burrell) who believes that he has lost his sonar abilities. Will Dory find her parents or will she return home empty handed?
This film is remarkable. It’s appeal is on two levels. One is to the kids in the audience; the other is the kids at heart. It’s difficult to create a film that appeals to both kids and adults at the same time, but Pixar and Disney have proved once more that it is possible - following on from their success with Inside Out.
At it’s heart, the message of the film is loud and clear: no matter what happens, stay positive, stay strong and whatever you are aiming for, always keep your eye on the target. Dory is just one of those characters that when an obstacle is placed in front of her, she finds a way to overcome it.
Dory could easily throw herself a pity party or let the negative opinions of the other sea creatures keep her from achieving her goals. But Dory does not let anything or anyone stop her from reaching her goals. That is a lesson we could all learn. As Dory says “just keep swimming”.
I recommend it.
Finding Dory is presently playing in theaters.