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A direct sequel to Finding Nemo (2003), this new adventure from Pixar Animation Studios focuses on the breakout character of the original, Dory, a Pacific regal blue tang fish that has very short term memory. Taking place six months after the events of the first installment, Dory has a sudden recollection about her family, which sends her, Nemo and Marlin off on a mission to find them where they meet up with several new and colorful characters.
David: A sequel long in the making, the endearing story of the first film still resonates and is often considered one of the best films in the Pixar canon. Concentrating on the characters more than the adventure gave the film real heart. This was propelled by some truly inspired voice acting and writing, which left a lasting impression with both critics and audiences. While there were a number of memorable characters in the film, Dory became the hit, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, a lovable fish that always wanted to do right and was instrumental in helping Marlin find his son, even if she couldn’t remember how she did it. Audiences identified with her unbreakable spirit and determination, her encouraging disposition and clumsy way of making it all work out, so it makes sense that she would be the focus of the sequel. Now the hard part. I admit that I really enjoyed Finding Nemo and found Dory to be the real centerpiece (I was chanting, “Just keep swimming” along with everyone else). I was even excited about the idea of a sequel, but something about the trailer feels a little flat. Her character trait is short term memory loss, which in small bits made the first film funny and even a little hopeful. Now that it’s the main conceit, it seems like a hard thing to keep falling back on and have work. The short trailer relies on it for the entire running time and while it’s amusing, it’s also a bit worrisome that this will be the way it goes throughout. That said, it’s great to see these characters again (and the beautiful setting), and another adventure is sure to be fun. We know from the cast list that she does in fact meet her family (Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton play the parents) so there is sure to be some fun with this element. Pixar films are always a wonderful mix of emotions and with a built-in audience (some of whom surely grew up watching the original), this will no doubt be a huge box office success. Here’s hoping the writers have found a way to tweak (see below) the memory issue so it’s not overwhelming and create a fun story that holds true to the remarkable original.
Dan: It’s been a while since the Finding Nemo swam across our screens. It’s been so long, children who saw the original may have kids of their own, ready to see the sequel. Despite how long it has been, our memory is strong. No one forgot about this Pixar classic. Sorry, cheeky puns were intended. This time around, the scene stealing Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is given the starring role. Will this decision work well? For example, do we -really- want an Aladdin sequel starring the Genie? Sometimes, our favourite characters leave us wanting more. Regardless, the trailer gets us back in the mood with a familiar setting, familiar characters, and a few light (familiar) jokes. The adventure this time around is for Dory to remember. This is a refreshing story, as opposed the numerous save the word scenarios we’ve witnessed recently.
By the way, anyone else excited for some more Albert Brooks? After all, the surrounding characters are always some of the best parts of these family fun Pixar films.
David Says: It starts familiar, showing us the sea anemone where Marlin and Nemo live, but next door is an oval-shaped coral house for their friend Dory. This is a perfect way to re-introduce us to this world. I like how it feels as if we never left. After a bit where Dory “sleep swims” we end up in front of a group of old friends as she tries to explain to them about a memory she’s had. My Sneak Peek Moment comes when she suddenly exclaims, “My family” and starts swimming off at high speed straight at the camera with a rush of colorful coral whizzing past. It’s like watching a starship jump to lightspeed and is really effective. I like though how it really emphasizes how much Dory truly understands her memory issue and so tries to find them as fast as she can before they fade away in her mind. This is a very clever visual way to suggest that and could hint at how the makers intend to handle the short-term memory loss. Finger-crossed the charm and affection of the first film finds a way into this promising sequel.
Dan Says: There were a few good jokes in this short sneak preview. Ellen DeGeneres has a whip-cracking fast wit, able to run a long tangent and turn into something absurd without verging into utter stupidity. While most of the comedy is aimed at the younger crowd, a comedian like DeGeneres easily winks to the adults without any mature innuendoes. My Sneak Peek Moment is my favourite joke from Dory. She’s close to an epiphany. She can almost hold the answer in her fins. She’s trying to remember something important – important enough to spark a journey spanning across– Wait, where was that joke? Oh yeah. Dory says, “Is it like a picture, in your head, and you think, I’ve seen this before . . . I just used the word ‘Before’ which means I’m remembering!” Her friends stare back at Dory, expecting a revelation, but she can only respond with. “What was I talking about?” Whatever the adventure entails, we are sure to have a fun time along the way, especially when it’s filled with jokes like this.