Ahh the much anticipated sequel to its 2003 predecessor. However, this movie is as much about finding someone who got lost as it is about Dory finding her way home, and finding herself (or at least memories about her childhood…or minnow-hood) in the process. Dory, along with Marlin and Nemo, venture this time to the Marine Life Institute in California. During the journey, we meet some new and diverse character from the MLI and learn some things about Dory’s backstory. In the end Dory’s free spirit and ability to improvise get the group out of a big jam.
The movie is really pretty slow to get started I thought and the beginning/middle stages of the plot just didn’t develop in a very exciting way. I honestly found it rather difficult to stay awake for a while in the early stages of the movie. I’m sure this is partly due to my rather hectic schedule working at Disney right now but regardless it is only the second time I have ever had to force myself awake during a Pixar movie (the other being Wall-e). Another thing that bothered me was how at times the MLI was made out to be the villain. Even though I agree that they are the only real opposing force in the film, institutes such as this tend to genuinely have the best interest of the marine life in mind and I hate that they are made out to be the bad guys. Also, going into the movie I thought that an underlying message throughout would be how pollution is really starting to become a serious problem to the prosperity of marine life. However, the issue of ocean pollution was really only pushed in the scene before Dory gets caught and taken to the MLI.
My first impression was at how stunning the animation is. I could immediately tell a huge difference in the nitty gritty details of the animation between Finding Dory and its predecessor. There were multiple scenes in the beginning, when nothing much was going on anyway, when I just stopped and looked around at the beautiful backdrop of each scene. You see detailed scales on a couple occasions and fur with the sea lions and otters. I loved all the new characters that were introduced in this film. Destiny the whale shark was fun and I am sure all the kids will love her and Hank the octopus (septopus actually). My personal favorite new character was Bailey the beluga whale because he is just really funny and lovable. Also, I thought it was really cool how Pixar portrayed what he sees when he uses echolocation. The three sea lions were basically irrelevant to plot development but did add some comedic elements and I am sure they will probably be fan favorites themselves. The best thing about the whole movie was the ending. It was fun, well thought out, cute, and quite comical. The end kind of saved the whole movie for me. I wasn’t super impressed throughout the majority of the film but the end had me leaving the theater on a good note.
This movie seems to be less focused on appealing to the adults as I thought that it would be, especially considering the people that loved Finding Nemo as kids are now in their 20s. Congratulations to the film and everyone involved with it for breaking opening weekend record for box office gross of an animated film. I believe the reason for this is mostly because of how successful Nemo was and how highly anticipated this sequel was. The kids will probably love it, but I personally thought it was lacking in the drama department.