Image via Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar’s back with their latest animated film ‘Finding Dory’ which happens to be a sequel to the 2003 blockbuster hit ‘Finding Nemo’. After Ellen DeGeneres constantly requesting another ‘Nemo’ movie for many years on her popular program ‘The Ellen Show’, the day after April 1st of 2013, she announces on show that ‘Finding Dory’ is on its way for the then release date of November 2015, which was pushed back for this summer. Is ‘Dory’ another slam-dunk from the acclaimed animation studio or does continue Pixar’s rough patch that was last year’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’. Let’s just keep swimming and explore the highly anticipated follow-up to 2003’s ‘Finding Nemo’.

The film takes place one year later, with Dory now living next door to her newly built friendship of Marlin and Nemo. However, during one of Mr. Ray’s class about his species way of going back home, called migration. This makes Dory remembering her parents and seeks out on an adventure to find her dearly missed parents. Grab shell for another adventure with everybody’s favourite fish.

There’s plenty to appreciate with this movie. It rarely misses among the humour department, offering some genuine laughs to constantly be entertained. However, while it will amuse, the film falters with its story.

The film doesn’t seem to be as big as the first film was. The first film is overly populated with many species of fish and creatures, such as sharks, turtles and some selfish birds that constantly say “Mine”. The sequel isn’t as expansive as the first film. Many characters fall to the overly cartoony side to get some laughs like the seals or the bird named Becky. However, there are some characters that are missing elements of story that I wish were featured more or were more developed. These two were Destiny, a whale shark who is partially blind, and Hank, a red octopus who can camouflage – especially the latter. The film’s writing mentions of a terrible and taunting past for Hank, yet never provide a reason, therefore leaves the motifs of the film’s third act questionable and while the character grows, his missing past is severely lacking for his character to really grow as a stand-out favourite, but among the new characters, he was one of the best. The film feels small, despite the first film being big, as the film takes place mostly during the Marine Life Institute. The film also features little adventure, being rather short to focus on the film’s aforementioned setting. While I did like the film’s heart by trying to connect Dory with her missing parents, it never seems to leave an impact that I felt when Marlin and Nemo were reunited. However, there was a line shared between Marlin and Nemo that made me feel emotional towards Dory, but is never further explored in the rest of the film.

‘Finding Dory’ can be a constant joy, with some constant witty lines and some heart present. However, it feels rather safe with potential that constantly holds this film back that could really shine and be among one of the greats from Pixar and finally have a sequel that’s worthy of being as great as its predecessor, like the ‘Toy Story’ sequels were. ‘Dory’ is occasionally enjoyable, but is safe than a spectacular follow-up.