We had two original Pixar movies last year, which was a right treat, but I guess that means they were overdue for wandering back into sequel territory. Not that Pixar sequels (or prequels) are necessarily bad, there just seem to be more coming out than ever these days. The idea of this one wasn't entirely unappealing though, Finding Nemo is a fantastic movie that has aged well, and the underwater ecosystem theme was surely ripe for more storytelling. Besides, it's been 13 years since the first movie came out, I guess we're all ready for a bit more Nemo.
Finding Dory picks up a year after the events of Finding Nemo. All is well with Dory, Marlin and Nemo, but when Dory starts to get concrete flashbacks of her family that she lost as a child, she drags the other two on a trip across the ocean to find her parents. Cue the colourful cast of characters, such as camouflaging octopus Hank, and beluga whale Bailey, as Dory faces all the odds and just keeps swimming (see what I did there?)
I'll say it from the start, I didn't get the same sense of wonder with this movie as I did with the first. I guess that's somewhat understandable, it's a sequel, but I feel Finding Dory lacks a certain depth that seemed pretty firmly established in Finding Nemo. Everything seems a little bit rushed, and there seem to be a lot of characters being introduced left and right. Looking back, I guess the same could be said for Finding Nemo, but there seems to be more depth to everyone than in present here.
Not that there's no depth, no character development. It's still better than most animated films, it's just that up against the classic powerhouse that is Finding Nemo, Dory just isn't on the same level. There are still plenty of good things to be said about this movie. It looks absolutely fantastic, and the voice acting is pretty top notch. Sure, Nemo sounds a bit weird, but they wouldn't have been able to get the same voice if they called back the kid who voiced him 13 years ago, so I'll forgive that discrepancy. While the characters may not be especially deep, they are memorable. They've got some great interactions with Dory and each other, and Dory's journey to find her parents sees everyone popping in and out of the picture, delivering some sound dialogue and helping push the story further. Sure, the plot is a little more contrived than the original, but I guess the first one was already a fairly big leap of the imagination, they couldn't help but go more outrageous for the sequel.
Finding Dory is not a perfect movie, and it probably won't take its place on the top shelf of Pixar animated classics. But it's still good, a nice effort to bring back beloved characters that doesn't feel too forced, despite being a little rushed and over the top. I certainly have more hope for this one than for Cars 3...
My rating: 4/5