Once you’re lulled into Pixar bliss with their latest Short Film, Piper, that all too familiar lamp hops onto the screen, and it suddenly dawns on you, that you’re about to watch Finding Nemo 2! But are you? Technically Finding Dory is a mix of things, a prequel, a sequel but primarily it’s an extension to the Finding Nemo Cinematic Universe (FNCU). We just coined that term by the way, but feel free to use it and spread the word!
Anyway, Finding Dory is as good as Finding Nemo, but it isn’t better. Honestly not many expected it to be better, I mean, how can you superceed Finding Nemo? we all remember how adorable it was when Nemo said he was going to ‘touch the ‘butt”! Regardless, as critics we tend to be harsher when it comes to sequels, but I think if we look at Pixar’s latest feature as an extension to the FNCU, a bit like what Captain America is to Iron Man, we can make a fairer assessment.
Straight away we know this is Dory’s tale, and within minutes we are all too familiar with the emotional engagement that the first few minutes of any Pixar film can signify. How cute is baby Dory? How can you not be interested in the welfare of this adorable character? Plus, story is king here. There is an interesting story that leads up to the moment when Dory and Marlin first bump into each other, and that’s why we’re at the cinemas in the first place, right? To be told a good story!
To further expand the concept that Finding Dory might just be the beginning of the FDCU, the film doesn’t focus on where it necessarily left off. I mean, the key side characters that share the final screen time in Finding Nemo, don’t even get mentioned. It’s only until, SPOILER ALERT, the post-credit scene that we know of their fate. Instead we are graced with some new characters that truly help carry the film, and make it entertaining. Hank, the ‘septopus’ is a great addition, and what if we get a Finding Hank, to further expand the FNCU? Just putting it out there, there is a story behind that missing tentacle, and honestly, I’d love to see it!
Technically, aesthetically, this film is a marvel. The water looks like water, naturally occurring curves in fishes look great and Thomas Newman delivers, yet again, a stirring score, worthy of possibly a 14th Oscar Nomination! The comedy we find here isn’t just dialogue based, but very visual indeed. All these elements combined, along with one of the most touching FNCU moments, you know, that one where everybody cried, The Shells scene, no doubt elevate this instalment to classic status.
Some may argue that it follows an all to familiar pattern, and goes places the franchise has been before, but it does feel natural and not forced, the sprinkling of call backs are good seasoning, needed to garnish this already tasty scrumptious film offering. Also, it’s always entertaining for every Pixar fan out there, to find and pin point those iconic easter eggs. Did you see the A113 number plate on that truck heading over to Cleveland? Did you see the Planet Pizza truck? And did you know about the ultimate Pixar easter egg that is Hank? Finding Dory is thoroughly entertaining, and is a solid addition to the FNCU. Enjoy!