Aside from the magnificent Toy Story trilogy, Pixar doesn’t have a great track record with sequels.
Take Cars 2, which offered little more than an extended advert for action figures.
Finding Nemo is now the fourth Pixar franchise to receive the sequel treatment with Finding Dory.
Its title suggests that carbon copy story format favoured by 90s Disney but Finding Dory is much more than that, offering subtle messages about disability, identity and finding one’s self.
Dory is one of the most annoying characters in the Pixar pantheon, and an odd choice of hero, but writer-directors Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) and Angus MacLane first overcome this snag by introducing her as a baby. She’s one of the cutest Pixar characters ever to grace the big screen. Our sympathies are guaranteed.
Next, Stanton and MacLane turn Finding Nemo’s comedy gimmick - Dory’s short term memory loss - into their film’s heart and soul. The opening moments drag the audience right into Dory’s perspective, showing us just how scary memory loss is.
A host of new characters inject comedy and adventure too.
There’s never a dull moment in the company of octopus Hank whose chameleon-style escape attempts culminate in one of Pixar’s funniest and most creative action sequences. Meanwhile the film’s delicate Disney mantra that no matter what challenges you face, you can overcome them with enthusiasm, determination and hard work, adds up to the best Pixar sequel since Toy Story 3.