Finding Dory is a Cute, Funny, and Heartfelt Sequel

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Finding Dory Disney Pixar

I have a love-hate relationship with Disney sequels. On the one hand, I love getting to spend more time with my favorite characters. On the other hand, I find most Disney sequels to be terrible. The big exceptions for me are the TOY STORY sequels, and the MONSTERS INC sequel, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, which is amazing and if you haven’t seen it, you totally need to. But if you go down the line of Disney sequels, most are direct to VHS/DVD – and for good reason. Nostalgia Chick sums it up better than me in this video:

So I was conflicted when I learned they were making a sequel to one of my favorite Pixar movies, FINDING NEMO. My confidence was shattered after they botched another favorite franchise with CARS 2, but I love Dory and friends, so I decided to give FINDING DORY a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised! In FINDING DORY, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), who suffers from short term memory loss, starts getting flashbacks of her parents and remembers she has a family who loves her out there somewhere. She recruits Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and together they set off on a quest across the ocean, to California’s Marine Life Institute, to find them. But when Marlin loses his temper at Dory, it results in the group getting separated, and Marlin and Nemo must find Dory while Dory enters the Institute seeking her parents.

Lots of old characters make appearances, including my favorite, Mr. Ray, and beloved sea turtles Crush and Squirt. There are some great new additions as well, including Hank the curmudgeonly octopus (“Septapus,” as he’s lovingly referred to by Dory, due to his missing tentacle), Bailey the beluga, and Destiny the whale.

The animation is top quality (specifically with water and feathers!) and while I saw it in 3D, I don’t believe the 3D is necessary to fully enjoy the film. The jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, not just for the kids in the audience but for the adults as well.

Fans of the original will enjoy throwbacks to the original score (Thomas Newman, the composer of the NEMO score, added his talents to the sequel as well). And going off that, there’s a great “Unforgettable” cover by Sia at the end.

I loved that Dory’s disability is accepted by her friends and family who love her, and cognitive and physical differences between fish are shown as strengths rather than weaknesses. There are many great disabled characters, including near-sighted Destiny, and Hank, who is missing a tentacle. There is also a great message of “found family,” and how people don’t need to be blood related to be family.  

I should also point out the wonderful and heartfelt short, PIPER, before the film, about a baby sea bird who is afraid of the ocean. Make sure to arrive to the theater on time to catch it!

While it wasn’t quite as magical as the original, FINDING DORY was a wonderful story full of humor and heart that kept me smiling for the whole hour and a half. I recommend it! Bonus – you find out where Dory got her “Just keep swimming” mantra! 

4.5 / 5.0