Finding Dory (2016)
When it was announced, I wasn’t entirely sure that Finding Nemo needed a sequel. It had an iconic quality to it, an aquatic Odyssey with a wonderful message about thriving despite personal issues like addiction or mental illness.
Thirteen years later, we got that sequel and I’ve got to say, it’s not bad. It sticks pretty true to the Pixar formula so it’s not necessarily blazing any new trails, but it has some great messages and offers up a lot of laughs.
The story: forgetful Dory is living on the reef with buddies Marlin and Nemo, but when she begins to get a profound sense that she’s forgetting something about her family, she tries following her heart instead of her memories and ends up retracing her steps back to where she thinks her family might have come from, meeting friends both old and new along the way.
It has a wonderful message about appreciating the value of spontaneity and playing to one’s personal strengths as opposed to playing things safe (which is an extension of Marlin’s personal journey from Finding Nemo).
I loved how well they portrayed what it’s like to be Dory, throwing out comedic gags for moments where we get to experience just how anxious she gets when going into unfamiliar situations (such as when helpful fish offer her directions and she has to remind them that she needs someone with her because directions are basically worthless to her) and having to constantly orient herself in her surroundings. It explores how Dory’s gregarious nature stems from her need to have others with her so they can help her remember, and how it causes many folks to avoid her.
The new characters are delightful, especially an enthusiastic whale shark, her self-doubting beluga neighbor, and an antisocial octopus (sorry, septupus).