Hard to believe that it has been 13 years since Finding Nemo came out in theaters. And in a year where the movie going audience are seemingly suffering from sequel fatigue, Pixar shows us why they are never to be underestimated. Pixar itself had been suffering from some lackluster sequels and caused Pixar to lose a little luster off it's shiny mantle. Finding Dory does not feel lazy or like a rehash, it feels fresh and tells and continuing story with characters that we know and love and meet some great new characters to join the family. But before we get into Finding Dory, let's take a look at Piper, the animated short that starts our adventure.
Piper follows this little piper bird and his (maybe her) first outing to the waters of the sea. Easily one of the best Pixar animated shorts in a long time. Cute, amazingly photo-real and impossible not to love. I want a Piper plush!
And now for the main course, sorry no pun intended! We open with a little Dory and we meet her parents. We discover that Dory already suffers from short-term memory loss. Then we flash forward to the present day which is one year after the events of Finding Nemo.
After going on a field trip with Mr. Ray's class, Dory suddenly remembers her parents and she is off on an adventure to find them. Hot on Dory's trail are Marlin and Nemo.
Dory's trail takes the father and son to Morrow Bay, California and the Marine Life Institute. Think of this as sort of a Sea World-type park.
Here Dory meets an octopus named Hank, who seems very much annoyed by Dory, but she has something that he wants. He is one of many new characters we meet. Along with the sea lions, Hank is one of my favorite new characters. And don't worry we see pretty much all of the characters from the first movie as well! Stay until the very end of the movie!
We learn that Dory's cheery demure is her attempt to cover up her short-term memory loss and the fact that most become annoyed with her because of the way she is. In the end, Dory learns to find herself, to accept who she is. And like any great Pixar film, you will be moved to tears and then laughing, all within seconds apart from each emotion as Pixar shows they are still the master of powerful, emotional storytelling.
Finding Dory is a fantastic sequel in a year that has seen some very disappointing sequels. This is a movie that shows us that the ocean is a vast place and it is easy to feel lost and alone. More importantly, the film takes the time so that we feel what that is like. But when there are other creatures in the ocean that love you, that ocean becomes a smaller place. This smaller place then becomes to feel like home. What an important lesson for those of us on land.