Length: 97 minutes / 1.62 hours
As is the case with the rest of Hollywood right now, Pixar is cashing in on the nostalgia factor of their previous films. Just like Monsters University (2013) before it, Finding Dory (2016) brings together the same team of voice actors who brought their respective originals to life more than a decade ago. And while this sequel was more akin to the likes of Toy Story 2 (1999), the amount of time between the two films really gives Pixar the chance to show off how much the power of computers has advanced in that time.
Unfortunately, while the visual style has been drastically updated, the plot has not. In its purest essence, Finding Dory is just like Finding Nemo (2003): a fish separated from its parent tries to find their way back home while the parent does everything in their power to find their child. I would have liked a bit more originality from Pixar, but lately that hasn’t been the case (I’m more inclined to think Disney now holds this distinction). Now, while the plot seemed derivative, the undertones were much darker than before. Some segments are downright scary, but not just because of the creatures lurking in the deep.
I will applaud Pixar for bringing to light the struggles of mental illness to a generation of children (and adults) who might not understand the challenges of living with a mind that doesn’t quite work the way it should. Even if it was done in parody, I actually partially agree with The Onion’s review of this film, since it shows the amount of trouble Marlin (Albert Brooks) has to go through just to care for Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), who cannot really care for herself. The voice of this new generation of children is embodied in Nemo (Hayden Rolence), who preaches acceptance of Dory’s “differentness” instead of trying to get her to conform to the world around her. Fortunately, this heavy subject was punctuated with moments of levity and humor (also with disabilities as the butt of the joke) that made it less depressing than it could have been.
A visually stunning piece from Pixar that merely re-hashes the journey of the original, I give Finding Dory 3.5 stars out of 5.