Despite it seeming like another cash-in sequel, Finding Dory does a good job of mixing the trademark Pixar flair and humour with a social commentary about memory loss and finding out who you really are. It’s an interesting juxtaposition for sure and one that, for the most part, does well in driving the story and the characters forward. The animation is as good as it ever was and Dory’s journey is enough to sustain attention as we get whisked up in the journey.
Whereas the first film followed Marlin (Albert Brooks) as he desperately searches the ocean for his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence), the sequel switches focus to lovable fish Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) who suffers from short term memory loss. As she slowly starts to get some of her memories back, she searches the ocean for her family and to find out where she came from. The journey takes her across the ocean and beyond in increasingly creative scenarios to justify the characters being out of water.
It also seems like a deliberate choice to have the fish spend more time outside the water than inside and for the most part it does work. There’s one particular jarring scene that just pushes the logic a little too far and it comes in the film’s climax but I won’t spoil it here. Its not a deal breaker and its easy to overlook its absurdity as this charming animation zips along at a decent pace. Pixar have always had a knack for making awe-inspiring animations, full of gorgeous visuals and memorable characters which should be the main draw here. Ironically, the film is at its best when it dives into the social commentary and starts asking questions about memory loss and the implications that has on someone’s life. Its a bold choice and one that really does pay off.
Along with the usual flurry of colourful fish making an appearance from the first, we get a host of new characters join the fray. The most significant new arrival is octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill) who’s story is intriguing and doesn’t feel as one note as some of the others. Whilst the film certainly isn’t as groundbreaking as Inside Out or Toy Story, it never feels like a sequel made to cash in. The attention to detail and love given to these familiar characters is great to see and one that goes a long way to make Dory’s journey worth a watch a second time around, even if it doesn’t quite match the brilliance of the first.