13 years later and Finding Nemo is still one of the most popular animated films of all time and still a huge favourite. So it seems odd that it’s taken so long to make a sequel when ‘Cars’, which is certainly one of their lesser films, is already prepping a third film.
With the first film tapping into the fear of a parents desperate search for their lost child, ’Finding Dory’ runs pretty much the same route inverting it with the almost amnesiac Dory, the blue tang fish who was a side kick in the first film now taking centre stage as she desperately looks for her own parents from whom she was separated as a child. This time it’s Nemo and his dad Marlin who tag along to try and help out as they head for a Sea World type aquarium to find Dory’s Mum & Dad. It all becomes a race against time as Dory is tagged too by the staff and is due to be shipped out to an aquarium miles inland thus ending any chance she has of finding her parents
One of Pixars’ many strengths apart from storytelling is its rich tapestry of supporting characters and here the stand out is Hank, a chameleon like octopus, wanting to get shipped out to a private aquarium where he can live alone in a tank undisturbed and helps out in exchange for a plastic tag attached to Dory and from here all the characters move around the aquarium in typically inventive style trying to discover what happened to Dory’s parents. The story is hardly original which for many will be the main criticism and is frequently punctuated by Dory’s flashbacks to being a child as she tries to remember what happened on the fateful day she was separated from Mum and Dad.
Director Andrew Stanton who has made a string of excellent Pixar films including the original as well as Wall-E (and for both he won Oscars), came to a crashing end in his live action debut, ‘John Carter’ which lost Disney a monumental amount of money and he has returned to a genre that he is perhaps more at home with. Here he’s been teamed with co-director Angus Maclane, one of Pixar’s in house writers who has written and directed some of their short films and here gets a shot at a feature length film.
With an underlying theme of the importance of family and a message of accepting people (or fish) for who they are this is typical Disney. Pixar’s films have included some heartrending moments,(the first ten minutes of ‘UP!’, the end of ‘Inside Out’) and this aims to tug the heart strings but without quite being able to coax a tear as successfully as those others and doesn’t quite have the emotional heft of the best in Pixar’s cannon. Nonetheless after the disappointment of last years, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ this is a return to form.
Here’s the trailer: