Written by Tammy Alysha Lui and Rachel Yeo
When Ellen Degeneres announced on her talkshow that Pixar was finally making the highly-anticipated sequel to “Finding Nemo” back in 2013, the world collectively rejoiced and thanked the heavens. The original 2003 Disney Pixar movie was an exciting, moving tale loved by all: kids loved the simple humour (fart jokes) and characters; parents loved the touching story about parenthood. Heck, when the official poster for Finding Dory was released a few days ago, copies were given to US President Barack Obama, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and even Pope Francis, who gave our favourite blue fish a blessing.
In this sequel, the spotlight is taken away from Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks), now focusing on Dory’s (Ellen Degeneres) sudden realisation that she too has a family to search for.
We got 2 of our biggest Pixar fans to watch the media preview and the results are lots of nostalgia, tears, laughter and “too much feels”.
Have you watched “Finding Nemo” prior to this?
TAMMY: Is that even a question? Loved it so much when it first came out in 2003 that we got tickets to watch it again immediately after seeing it for the first time. I also wasted too much money on Happy Meals trying to collect all the Finding Nemo toys.
RACHEL: Yes, probably at least 50 times since it was first released.
What are your favourite parts of the movie?
TAMMY: If my smudged eyeliner and tears were any indication, this movie certainly made me feel something.
Dory was my favourite character in the original Finding Nemo movie. I was really excited to see her again on the big screen, and to hear Ellen DeGeneres (a.k.a. Dory’s biggest fangirl) bring her to life. The other characters’ description of the blue character was pretty spot on: fun, lovable and carefree.
The same three adjectives can also be used to describe this movie. Agreed, sequels usually can’t trump the original, as per movie tradition and that adage can be applied to this movie. However, after 13 years of patience (and praying), I can safely say that Disney gave me the Dory movie that I wanted and needed.
The movie was very entertaining. I personally feel that the level of humour matured with the original target audience for Finding Nemo, who should be in adults in their twenties now (myself and Rachel included). I genuinely found the film to be quite funny: it surpasses its predecessor in its humour.
However, the tears that I shed were not just happy tears from all the jokes. The one thing that I really appreciated about “Finding Dory” was that it managed to show two sides of Dory. We’re used to the more lighthearted, witty, forgetful and adventurous Dory from “Finding Nemo”, with Nemo’s Marlin and Nemo being the ones who had most of the heavy, character growth. She’s light, with that exception of that one scene from the original movie. “Finding Nemo” fans, remember that scene in Finding Nemo where Dory’s trying to stop Marlin from giving up and leaving (“When I look at you, I’m home” *MY PATHETIC SOBBING*)?
Imagine that lost, insecure Dory, and then turn that entire scene’s emotions into a feature-length film. Though still maintaining her fun side from “Finding Nemo”, in this sequel we were able to see a broken, guilt-stricken Dory. Dory’s not only trying to find her family, but is also struggling to overcome what everyone says about her – that she is unable to take care of herself, and should just quit because she just cannot remember. I’m sure that the feeling of beating yourself up because someone kept telling you that you’re just incapable is relatable to us all, which is what made me connect to Dory even more.
When Dory comes out triumphant over all her insecurities and everyone’s ridicule, you feel great because you leave the cinema feeling like you’ve really journeyed with Dory, both in the literal and emotional sense.
Also, I suggest that everyone re-watch “Finding Nemo” before watching “Finding Dory”. There were a few fun Easter eggs in this movie that gave a nice nod to the original. I won’t tell you which ones, you’ll just have to be attentive and try to spot them out yourself.
RACHEL: I’ve always held this belief that sequels will never top the original, but Pixar never fails to surprise me with theirs.
Firstly, I loved the introduction of new characters like Destiny the Whale Shark and Hank the Octopus. Apart from Dory’s reckless choices to travel and find her parents, the new characters helped to make Dory’s quest much livelier and action-packed.
Plus the new characters are consistent from the plot of “Finding Nemo”. In the first series, fans heard Dory’s iconic “just keep swimming” tune as she attempted to encourage Marlin to carry on in his mission to find his son. 13 years later, we will learn that it was Dory’s parents who taught her that song.
In another instance, Dory could communicate in whale speak to release Marlin and herself when they were trapped in a whale’s mouth. The second movie finally shed light on why Dory could speak their language in the first place, and it was because Dory and Destiny used to childhood friends who spoke to each other in Whale. The dots just seem to connect seamlessly in this film.
The sequel also makes the effort to bring back older supporting characters to help the protagonists with their goals, which is a plus for ardent Finding Nemo fans reconnecting with childhood. For example, when Dory and Nemo question Marlin if he knew the way to get across the Pacific Ocean and get to California’s Marine Life Institute. Marlin reluctantly replies with “No… But I know someone who can”. Moments later, Crush and his sea of turtles appear and swiftly transport our protagonists to their destination. Also, the Tank Gang who helped Nemo find his way back to his father makes a brief appearance at the end (just don’t leave before the credits are done and you’ll see).
Compared to Finding Nemo though, the pace was much faster and there were hardly any time to catch a breather. Even the slower, emotional scenes – which there were not many of – made me burst into tears. But then again, Dory takes actions immediately whenever she remembers something, meaning lots of fast decisions and lots of swift movement when she travels from oceans to human-made aquariums: how very fitting and appropriate for Dory’s personality.
If you ask me, I think that Finding Dory actually defies the stereotype that sequels will never be better than the original.
Is there anything that you wish can be improved?
TAMMY: If I do have one thing to nitpick on, it would be the strange pacing in the first 15 minutes of the movie; everything just seemed to move too quickly at the start. Also, although I appreciate the few Easter eggs that popped up here and there, I wish there were more!
RACHEL: I’m quite disappointed how Bruce, Anchor, and Chum (the non-violent sharks from the first movie) didn’t make a reappearance. They played such integral roles in “Finding Nemo”, it would be nice even if they only appeared for one minute in “Finding Dory” to provide comic relief to the audiences. And we want to know what happened to their pledge to stay friends of fish!
Which supporting characters do you enjoy the most?
TAMMY: There are too many to choose from! I really enjoyed the hilarious banter and chemistry between the whale shark Destiny and beluga Bailey. I also loved the cuddle buddy otters which almost brought out another kind of crying – the squeal over cuteness. However, I wouldn’t say that these guys are my favourite.
Becky. I loved Becky the Loon and her undying loyalty.
RACHEL: Even though I think that his character is not as important in the movie’s main plot, Jerald the Seal provides a lot of comic relief to a rather heavy movie with his cheeky seal-toothed smile and quirky behaviour. Also, there was another particular scene where the protagonists approached a romp of otters to create a traffic jam with their adorableness, in order to stop a van which was carrying Dory and other sea creatures away from quarantine. THE OTTERS WILL MAKE YOUR HEART MELT WITH CUTENESS.
Would you recommend this movie?
TAMMY: Absolutely. I have yet to come across a Disney Pixar movie that isn’t just amazingly animated, but has a story with depth that surpasses so many blockbusters in cinema these days.
“Finding Dory” is great for young adults (or old children) like myself and Rachel to relive our bittersweet childhood (and complain about how old we are now), and for the much younger audiences to be introduced to these timeless Disney characters.
Of course, I’ll definitely still make sure my young cousins go watch the original though. It’s THE classic Disney of my generation.
Finding Nemo Trailer (2003):
RACHEL: To every single kid who grew up watching Pixar movies, you will experience a roller coaster of emotions, laughing one moment then crying at the next. Although “Finding Dory” focuses on a blue tang fish with a forgetful memory, this movie will be one that you will remember for a long while.
For those who want to prepare themselves for a whirlpool of emotions in the cinema, check out the Finding Dory trailer again to get a gist of what’s to come!
Finding Dory Trailer (2016):
And for those who’ve caught the movie, did you manage to find Dory, as well as all the Easter eggs? Let us know in the comments below!
“Finding Dory” comes out in cinemas today, 16 June 2016 (Thursday).