Friendly warning – here be spoilers!
If there’s one company that is hard to criticise, it’s Pixar. I mean these guys just come out with hit after hit. They’ve become well-known and loved for always delivering great films that the whole family can enjoy. I remember when Finding Nemo came out in 2003 I instantly fell in love with it. I wouldn’t even call it a guilty pleasure film, because I didn’t feel guilty about loving it. It was a masterfully crafted movie, that just worked perfectly. So you can imagine my excitement going into the cinema thirteen years later to see the long-awaited sequel from these master craftsmen… problem is, I wasn’t that impressed…
Now don’t get me wrong! This is still a great movie… but not Pixar levels of great. Before you come hunting me down with your torches and pitchforks, let me explain.
To me Finding Nemo was such a fantastic movie because everything about it just worked beautifully. The movie flowed effortlessly from scene to scene. Each and every time it looked like the characters were in danger, the danger felt real. From the angler fish, to the vegetarian shark turned blood lusting mindless killer, to the jellyfish, to being stuck in a whale. It all felt like they were in real danger.
Not only that but the characters sucked you in with their charm and individual struggles that you just couldn’t help but become attached to them and will them on to success. From Marlin learning to let his son be free to experience life, to Nemo understanding that his father is only trying to protect him not confine him, to Dory finding friends that will accept her even with her issues. Hell, even secondary characters like Gil made you feel some kind of attachment to them because you could see their struggle. Because of this, every time they looked like they were going to fail, you were completely focused on them to see how they would get out of the situation. Like I said, a masterfully crafted movie.
Now let’s look at Finding Dory. For me, from start to finish, this movie feels rushed. It doesn’t flow smoothly and it feels like they’re trying to throw too many characters at you than your brain can handle. Of course all the characters are enjoyable and unique in their own ways, but you just don’t have time to become attached to them because in a few minutes they’re going to throw another two or three at you. As for danger, well, there isn’t really any. They just don’t seem to ever be in a situation where their life is really in peril. The only time they came close to the same level of danger as Finding Nemo was almost right at the beginning with the squid, and even then it felt rushed.
But I could forgive all of this and just take it as another great Pixar movie if it wasn’t for one thing… Dory. Now Dory, as we all know by this point, suffers from short-term memory loss. But the problem is, I think somewhere between Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, Pixar forgot what that is.
Part of the reason why Pixar always create such masterful movies is that they do their research. They spend so much time learning about what it is that they are creating. Look at Dory in Finding Nemo and you’ll see it for yourself. Dory ticks all the boxes for a sufferer of short-term memory loss. She has trouble recalling things just told to her, she constantly forgets what she was doing, etc. It was a damn near perfect representation of short term memory loss.
In Finding Dory, however, she seems to be able to recall a shockingly large number of very, very detailed memories from her past. Things that quite simply would not be possible to remember. Now if she got her condition later on in life then this would be forgivable because she would still be able to remember things from before whatever caused her to have short-term memory loss. But in the movie whenever we see her as a child she already has the condition and so quite simply, she would not be able to remember any of this.
Now I know this sounds like I’m being nit picky but bear with me here folks because this is Pixar we’re talking about. Pixar knows not to make mistakes like this. The problem that seems to be in front of us is that they couldn’t find a way to make the story of Dory finding her parents work without her remembering things. But come on, surely after 13 years they could come up with a decent storyline where she wants to find her parents without compromising the key part of her character. Especially when she is the main protagonist of this story.
No, I’m sorry but this for me made me detached from the movie. For children, sure it’s fine. But as an adult that hold Pixar to high regard for their skill and craftsmanship, this bugged me throughout the entire movie. With that being said, I will not say that this was a bad movie. Far from it. But this feels like a rookie mistake that happened just to make sure the story progressed, and to see it from someone like Pixar, it makes me a little disappointed and will affect my final score (although not by too much!).