So, I have a young daughter. If not, I would probably have skipped this one. The Pixar films just exhaust me now. [Insert Cars joke here.] I did see, and mildly enjoy, Finding Nemo. I have to admit that the premise of this one is one of the better sequel ideas ever. Take a character with zero backstory (obviously, because she has memory problems) and use the sequel to dig into that history.
The flashbacks to Baby Dory as her loving parents attempt to build a life for their memory-challenged daughter are the very definition of cuteness, with just a pinch of heartbreak. It’s impossible not to care about Dory’s quest to find them after a freak accident triggers a key memory.
Following a completely pointless action sequence wherein Dory, Nemo and Marlin escape a giant squid, we arrive at The Jewel of Morrow Bay, California, a marine life institute where Dory was born. More characters are introduced: a wily octopus, a sweet whale shark, an insecure beluga whale. As all Pixar films must do, the obstacles thrown into the hero’s path are insurmountable…until they’re not. The protagonists hurt each others’ feelings…until they apologize. And the finale is big and exciting and over-the-top.
It’s hard to argue against the merits of the highest grossing animated film of all time. (It’s raked in over a billion dollars worldwide.) But I found the story strangely convenient. Many of the characters were sheer window dressing. (I’m looking at you, Nemo.) But it’s a touching tale about family lost and regained, and in that way, I still kind of like it.