Pixar has demonstrated that they are masters in crafting compelling and interesting stories that are emotionally demanding while still being enjoyable and fun to watch. However, they haven't been quite as successful when it comes to their sequels. They've been having a rough time producing worthy follow-ups for their beloved movies. While 'Toy Story' has proven to be a strong franchise regarding their sequels, the same can't be said about 'Cars 2' and 'Monsters University.' With 'Finding Dory' they're trying once again to duplicate the success of it's predecessor, 'Finding Nemo,' but it appears that it's not such an easy task.
Looking For A Different Story To Tell
I must admit that I had some concerns considering the story. I thought it might be too similar to the original and while it still shares quite some elements with it, this feels like a different story. Mainly since it's all about Dory now, but also thanks to the inclusion of some new characters.
"I remember it like it was yesterday. Of course, I don't really remember yesterday all that well."
Pixar declared it is only making a sequel when the director has an interesting story to tell. Having Dory remember her parents is the story and trying to find them is definitely interesting, but I feel like they could have handled it slightly different in some parts. The ending for example, was a bit too far-fetched. I feel like that sequence didn't have to be in this movie, because it was slightly ridiculous and unrealistic, even for a movie about talking fish. That aside, this story still delivered a few quality moments that Pixar has become known for. You'll laugh a number of times and perhaps even shed a tear.
Animating The Underwater Life Once Again
The visuals for this movie were alright. They were quite the same as the original movie, only with some slight improvements in quality. The sea and its inhabitants all looked like how they did in the first movie. Hank, however, looked amazing. His movements were fluent and his disguises were fun. After seeing Piper, the short released before the movie, the sea in Finding Dory was less detailed and seemed more animation-like. Which is totally normal and the same as in the original, but when you get to see a beautifully animated see just before this, it's hard not to look at the differences.
The ocean is massive. There's so much to explore and so much to see. Yet again, we spend a large part of the movie above water. I would've liked to see more of that big underwater world and all of its glory. Sure, the Marine Life Institute was a fun and big building, but it doesn't come close to the ocean.
Bringing Friends And Finding New Ones
Where the original told the story of Nemo, this one puts its focus on Dory. It's nice to see Nemo and Marlin trying to help Dory find her parents, as she did the same thing for them. However, for me personally, they didn't really have to be in the movie. This movie was supposed to be all about Dory and constantly switching between her and the two clownfish wasn't really necessary. An advantage about them being in this movie is that we didn't have to listen to Dory trying to remember things or Dory forgetting things for ninety minutes straight.
Hank definitely stole the show for me. This octopus (or should I say septopus?) was a great addition to this movie. He delivered some great lines, which is also partly to be credited to Ed O'Neill who voiced the role. I feel like there's more to his story, for instance about why he only has seven tentacles. So I could definitely see some sort of short movie popping up in the future about how he lost it. Or even a feature film, Finding Hank anyone?
"It seems like a lot of trouble to find some more fish. If I had short-term memory loss, I would just swim off into the blue and forget everything."
Destiny and Bailey also worked quite fine and had a fun dynamic. Lastly there are Dory's parents, Jenny and Charlie, who were fine as well, but they didn't have that much to do in this movie. It seemed like they were only there to give this story a purpose, move the plot along and explain things that Dory suddenly remembered.
'Finding Dory' is a decent successor to 'Finding Nemo,' but it doesn't manage to surpass it. While it has an interesting story and fun characters, it could have done some things differently to fully show what Pixar has become known for.
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