Very rarely does a movie’s sequel live up to the original. You watch the first movie, fall in love, hear there’s going to be a sequel and whine, “there’s no way it can ever be better than the first. They should just give up.” Yet Pixar has managed to prove the crowd wrong this past summer, with a sequel that stands up to Pixar’s 2003 near-perfect “Finding Nemo.” This is an extreme accomplishment and one that needs to be acknowledged.
“Finding Dory” is nothing short of exceptional. It has everything, like a perfect package wrapped up as one. There’s humor, heart-wrenching emotion and colossal creativity. It is an adventure that seamlessly adds another chapter to its renowned tale, while also balancing heavier themes that were not present in “Finding Nemo.”
The most amazing thing about this sequel coming out 13 years later is the ability for “Finding Dory” to stand on its own. Not once does “Finding Dory” have to be referred to as the sequel to one of Pixar’s best.
The film is one that can be watched on its own and be great, which speaks volumes for Pixar’s creativity and innovation. In addition, another impressive feature, a common one for the film company, is the appeal to all ages. “Finding Dory” is a movie not limited to one audience. The “happily ever after” adventure is engaging enough for viewers of virtually any age, especially those of the “Finding Nemo” generation.
All of the elements adored in the original movie are brought back to life so many years later. Pixar does a great job of celebrating the best moments and memories from “Finding Nemo” with a new flare. The film is full of lovable characters new and old.
Ellen DeGeneres’ performance is one for the books as Dory’s silly manner and innocent forgetfulness are back in full swing. You can almost hear DeGeneres’ excitement through Dory’s speech in reprising her roll as everybody’s favorite blue tang fish.
Albert Brooks also revisits his old role as Marlin, the protective clown fish alongside a new, more assertive iteration of the iconic Nemo.
The audience is also introduced to Hank, the pessimistic yet charming octopus who surprises the audience with unexpected friendship, reliability and sharp wit. Ed O’Neill’s take on Hank is the perfect foil to the absent-minded and sometimes overly-optimistic Dory. In a sense, Marlin’s role as the overbearing pessimist is passed on to Hank, but despite characteristic similarities, Hank still has his own unique motives and morals that differ from Marlin.
Other integral new characters include Destiny the whale shark, who is credited with teaching Dory how to speak whale, a pair of sea lions who provide comic relief, paying homage to the unforgettable seagulls in “Finding Nemo” and the frazzled but reliable Becky, a loon who aids Marlin and Nemo on their quest to find Dory.
Overall, Finding Dory goes beyond being another adventure film from Pixar Studios. It capitalizes on the trials and tribulations that a disabled character must endure and surpass. Dory’s forgetfulness hinders her journey, but such a hinderance only made her more resilient by the film’s conclusion.
Although Dory’s adventure is less chaotic than Nemo’s, it’s sure to tug at the heartstrings. The film is chock full of emotional scenes that will make even the toughest of moviegoers cry. But while Pixar treads on darker waters towards the climax, Dory’s story is ultimately uplifting.
The movie emanates themes of teamwork, endurance, family and friendship all rolled into one without trying to be exactly like its predecessor, making “Finding Dory” everything a sequel should be.
Showings of recently released hit movies are available every weekend night in Reamer Auditorium. Film selection changes weekly and is noted on posters outside of the auditorium.