Just Keep Swimming
Nostalgic reboots seem to have a curse of sorts. I’m not talking about meeting fan hype or even being committed to the original material, rather, I am talking about long awaited sequels/reboots retreading the exact same steps as the original in an attempt to recapture the magic. That does not necessarily mean that the sequel will be a poor film, but it does leave a great deal to be desired. Such is the case with films like The Force Awakens, Point Break, and unfortunately Finding Dory. Though the long awaited Pixar adventure is more than enjoyable, the over-familiar plot makes for a black mark on an otherwise beautiful piece of art.
Dory, Marlin, and Nemo have been living in the same reef for a year since the events of Finding Nemo. Dory has been trying to make herself useful despite constantly being hindered by her short term memory loss. After going on a small adventure Dory experiences a random flashback revealing a much more adorable version of herself with her long lost parents who she did not even remember existed. This sets Dory and friends on another cross ocean trip full of giant squids, old friends, and… Sigourney Weaver.
All the old faces are paired up with their old cast members, though the main focus lies with Ellen DeGeneres this time around who gives a pleasant, if not exactly novel, redux of her old blue scaled doppelganger. Also along for the ride is Albert Brooks (Marlin) and Hayden Rolance as Nemo (replacing original actor Alexander Gould). Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill comes along as Dory’s new septapus friend (an octopus with only seven tentacles) Hank. Each new face introduced into Dory’s tale is a marine animal with some sort of disability. A whale shark that is near sighted and a beluga who can’t use echolocation become Dory’s main accessories in navigating a complex aquarium to find her long lost folks. This these three plus Hank pull off what is majorly an escape heist film… much like Finding Nemo.
The similarities don’t end there. After starting out with a child separated from its parents, said child is captured by a well-being, albeit mysterious patron whom the other fish believe have kidnapped their friend inspiring a chase across the seven seas. Then after an emotional “we are all going to die scenario,” a moment of catharsis allows everyone to have a happy ending until what I’m guessing will be called Finding Marlin is released. The story is fine but entirely predictable and lacks the Pixar imagination that made Nemo so fun and quirky. That being said the film is not without merit. Despite being predictable, the jokes almost always hit the funny bone and cater to both kids and adults alike. The emotional beats are a little softer than usual but will still probably inspire a few tears in adults here and there. I am proud to say I stayed dry eyed so SUCK IT PIXAR.
Finding Dory is a good quality animated adventure that children and adults can enjoy alike. Unlike its predecessor, it lacks originality but makes up for it with great new characters and funny gags. The animation is on point and the lighting effects with the water make such a realistic effect that if weren’t for the adorable cartoon fish swimming around, you could almost think it was real. It speaks to the talent of Pixar and shows that they are not yet done impressing the world with their awesome features. RDR gives Finding Dory a 7.5 out of 10.