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'Finding Dory' is a pleasant call upon a childhood favorite.



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A scene from "Finding Dory." (Disney/Pixar) MCT Campus / Common Sense Media Buy Photos

Grade: A-

The screen flashed white and a desk lamp hopped onto the screen, crushing the “I” in Pixar. 

I could almost hear an excitement rush through the audience as they muttered the well-known creaking sounds of that lamp that signals the beginning of Pixar magic.

Half the audience was made up of the generation that had first met the little blue tang fish named Dory when they were in third grade. The boy in the Kilroy’s shirt next to me whispered to his date he hadn’t seen that Pixar screen in a long time.

It was the long-anticipated sequel of arguably one of the greatest animation films ever created, “Finding Nemo."

Baby Dory opens “Finding Dory” with a cuteness overload, a character in of itself that breaks your heart and steals it all at the same time. We learn about her backstory or at least, as much as the older Dory voiced by Ellen DeGeneres can remember.

Following that, we get a slight recap showing just how Dory first found Marlin in “Finding Nemo." Flash forward a year later and we see Marlin, Dory and Nemo living out their fish lives when Dory suddenly remembers “the jewel of Morro Bay, California,” and we’re off on another cross-ocean adventure to find the long-lost parents she can’t remember.

All the best characters from the first movie including Crush the sea turtle make an appearance within the first 20 minutes. 

Once the fish reach the California bay area, we are met with all new characters voiced by Ed O’Neill, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy and Idris Elba. 

We're also treated to a strange, yet hilarious cameo from Sigourney Weaver whose voice-over at the marine-life institute in California becomes the voice of reason for the fish.

Weaver’s repeating voice-over was one of the best jokes throughout the movie and I guarantee you none of the kids in the audience could understand why it was so funny.

“Finding Dory” stands mostly on it’s own as a new Pixar classic, even with a couple of borrowed storylines and themes from “Finding Nemo." 

“Finding Nemo” focused on the disabilities of Nemo as a little fish with a “lucky fin.” 

“Finding Dory” took it much farther. Every character in the marine-life institute had some sort of disability but came together to use their strengths to help Dory find her home.

Even the final storyline is the same as “Finding Nemo” and I realized that while this movie was adorable and did everything I expected it to, it could not beat out “Finding Nemo”.

The movie was beautifully done, had clear messages and managed to appeal to audiences across generations. 

But I was a child when “Finding Nemo” first came out, and it will always hold a special place in my heart as an incredible movie. For a sequel, though, I am so glad we managed to find Dory.

barigold@umail.iu.edu | @bari_goldman

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