|By||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane|
|Genre||:||Animation, Adventure, Comedy|
|Duration||:||95 mins. (01:35:04)|
The famous friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish returns and reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns some things about the real meaning of family along the way.
“Finding Dory” is the long-expected sequel to Pixar’s 2003 animated feature “Finding Nemo”. Although more than a dozen years have passed here in the real world since Nemo set the kiddies hearts aflutter, the official Disney press release for the Finding Dory movie says the story will take place a scant one year after the events of its much-heralded predecessor. (I guess when you’re Disney you can pretty much play with the space-time continuum to your heart’s content.)
Finding Dory, which re-unites talk show host Ellen Degeneres with the little blue tang fish from the 2003 feature, will have some hefty saltwater shoes to fill as Nemo was nominated for numerous Academy Awards and won in the Best Animated Feature category. Finding Nemo also went on to be named one of the ten best animated films ever made by the American Film Institute and is currently among the highest grossing animated films ever. So Dory has her work cut out for her if she’s to crawl out from under the shadow of her ginormous predecessor.
It also remains to be seen if fans of the original will be of a mind to watch Finding Dory after having grown into adults while they waited for the sequel to slog its way through development. It could be the film will need to target an entirely new generation of viewers or it could be that we’ll discover Nemo’s fans are just as rabid and unwilling to let go as the 50-somethings who kept heading back to the multiplex this past holiday season to watch Star Wars: The Remake Awakens.Storyline
Although Disney is being coy with story details, a few have leaked and paint a picture of our favourite amnesiac Dory undertaking a quest to be reunited with her family. The coast of California will supply the setting for story. Executive Producer John Lasseter recently let slip during an interview at the Cannes Film Festival that Dory’s quest would take her to abandoned shipping containers on the ocean floor and through a kelp forest off the northern coast of California. She will apparently also have a frightening encounter with a giant squid and make some new friends along the way, including a shark named Destiny who thinks she’s a whale and an octopus named “Hank”.
Finding Dory will also see the return of Nemo himself (voiced this time around by Hayden Rolence in what will likely be little more than a glorified cameo if the casting hierarchy on IMDB is any indication), as well as Marlin (Albert Brooks) and the Tank Gang.Misc.
13 years ago Finding Nemo had a budget of $94 million and went on to gross nearly 10 times that amount worldwide. As of this writing I’ve been unable to find a budget for Finding Dory online but you can be fairly certain it will be juuuuust a tad higher. The fact that Dory the character has some 25 million likes on Facebook probably indicates the film won’t have much trouble making back its production budget no matter how large that actually turns out to be.
Finding Dory will no doubt be one of the tentpole animated experiences of the summer of ‘16. With an impeccable pedigree and years of pent up anticipation filling its sails, it’s possible that Dory will become only the 4th animated feature to navigate across the $1 billion mark worldwide (5th if Zootopia manages to find a final $50 million somewhere and sneak across the line in the meantime.)
Watch Finding Dory at a theatre near you beginning June 17th or watch the full movie here for free!
Besides Nemo vets DeGeneres and Brooks Finding Dory will feature a slew of high profile talent including Idris Elba (Thor), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, The Godfather), Dominic West (300) and Eugene Levy (Best in Show) among others.
Returning to the director’s seat is Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton, who has spent his entire formidable career in the house the mouse built. Stanton also wrote the story with help from TV vet Victoria Strouse and voice actor Bob Peterson.
Lindsey Collins (John Carter, WALL-E) leads the Finding Dory movie production team that includes the aforementioned John Lasseter and long-time production accountant and sometime producer Bob Roath.
While not exactly my personal cup of tea, “Finding Dory” is nonetheless likely to resonate with fans of Pixar’s clean, engaging, family friendly animation style. The timeless story of the search for self is one that will always find favour with a younger audience, while the opportunity to get reacquainted with some old friends is sure to pull a certain number of “Finding Nemo” fans off their couch and into the multiplex, even if it means spending two hours amidst a sea of kids playing video games on their smartphones or throwing up from too much caramel-coated popcorn and 3D.
My only question related to this particular piece of pop-culture pie is “What took you so long?” By allowing the property to languish in development hell for a decade and a half Disney has run a very real risk that their audience may have simply moved on. Sure, the movie is practically guaranteed to generate a handsome return but one can’t help but think that by dragging their feet on the sequel, the accounting department at Disney may have left more than a few ducats on the table.
In some ways Finding Dory reminds me of what’s been happening with the “Avatar” sequels. Every year James Cameron announces another sequel has been added to the queue and at the same time he announces the launch date for the first sequel has been pushed back another year. By the time he finally gets around to releasing one of the dozen or so sequels he now has in the pipeline, anyone who remembers what a mind-blowing event pic Avatar was will be more concerned with preparing for retirement than dragging their tired carcass out to the theatre (if theatres still exist by the time we see Avatar 2) to see the follow-up.
In the same manner, while the Finding Dory full movie will likely generate plenty of ka-ching at the box office, it won’t be anywhere near what it could have been (IMHO) if Pixar’s brain trust were a bit more focused on fan service and a little less focused on trying to generate an endless number of potential new sequel machines like the semi-successful “Brave”, the box office flop “The Good Dinosaur” and head scratchers like “Monsters University”.
But whether you intend to load the kids into the minivan and head to the multiplex or stream Finding Dory using an Internet service, chances are you’re going to get your money’s worth. The Pixar hit machine hasn’t misfired too many times and it seems unlikely with the pedigree of this property that they’ll be licking their wounds after a disappointing bow in mid-June.
From a box office perspective my Finding Dory expectations are as follows: Facing a weak slate of competitors I look for it to take the top spot on its debut weekend but then slip to perhaps a fairly distant second place on its second weekend as it’s overwhelmed by the humunguousness of Independence Day Resurgence; yet the latest example of a bigger, badder remake being marketed as a sequel