Is Finding Dory Pixar's least original film?

Mike P Williams
22 April 2013

Some light was finally shed on the anticipated follow up to 'Finding Nemo' when Disney recently revealed that their sequel to the 2003 smash is to be named... drum roll please... 'Finding Dory'. Perhaps not the most exciting of titles, I'd agree, but this extension of the Oscar-winning first film will centre on Dory -- the sidekick to Nemo's dad, Marlin, in the first film. It's still rather hazy as to the plot specifics, but the outline shared by the studio is that it'll take place a year after 'Finding Nemo' and will focus on her, ahem, getting lost, making new friends whilst (re)connecting with old ones too.

Pixar's reputation for years has been built upon a combination of groundbreaking animation and inventive storylines. But it's not just these elements that have to appeal; the script has to have some interesting themes and layering within them, and even some poignancy to engage its audience. If 'Finding Dory' is poorly received, it could really damage their reputation.

[Related story: Can Finding Dory ever match up to Finding Nemo?]

[Related story: Are sequels the way forward for Pixar?]

Apparently this sequel will focus on Dory tracing her family and finding her way back home. It all feels thematically similar to 'Finding Nemo', so would require some real ingenuity to make it different enough to make it stand out. What's more, it needs to be able to thrive alone, rather than riding the existing wave of Nemo success, but I'm not sure it can. I believe it'll rely too heavily on the pre-existing greatness of the original, not to mention it'll solely rely on reconnecting with its audience whilst attempting to appeal to a newer, younger generation of Pixar fans too. I just hope it doesn't dumb down a la 'Cars', because 'Finding Nemo' was a witty and clever script that had me, an adult, laughing at the numerous quips that shot over the heads of preteen audiences. This transcendence of appeal is therefore crucial.

What Andrew Stanton, the film's confirmed director, revealed is that this sequel will address Dory's background. It'll focus on where she comes from and where her family are, and is something that the team at Pixar have wanted to explore since we first met Dory aimlessly swimming by herself in 'Finding Nemo'.

No doubt it has the potential to be good, even great, but whatever happened to Pixar producing stunningly unique ideas? Everything they've done has been different enough to warrant each of their film's existence, barring the 'Toy Story' and 'Cars' sequel, but even then the former spawned two fantastic sequels that were more than worthy. This is also only the second Pixar film to revolve around a female protagonist after 2012's Oscar-winning 'Brave', which is a positive deviation in itself, so long as the content can be inventive and as memorable as its predecessor.

Even though lead cast member Ellen DeGeneres has declared the script as 'brilliant', I still have reservations as to whether 'Finding Dory' will have the ingenuity to make it succeed and shine on its own. Obviously it gets no points for title or concept originality, but here's hoping it can pull an interesting and entertaining adventure out of the bag.

Are you excited about the possibilities of this film or disappointed with its lack of originality?

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