Thirteen years after the release of modern animation classic “Finding Nemo,” Pixar Animation Studios returns to the ocean depths of the Great Barrier Reef once again with “Finding Dory,” which hits theaters June 17. Bringing viewers back to the familiar world of Nemo, Marlin and Dory, the sequel resumes the tale one year after the epic adventure that concluded in Sydney. Everyone’s favorite blue tang, Dory — voiced by Ellen DeGeneres — is living happily with Marlin and Nemo, when she suddenly remembers a past with her family she thought she had forgotten. Dory then resolves to find her parents, eliciting the help of her old friends.
The trio’s adventure takes them to uncharted answers, leading them to the Californian coast and to the prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In her quest to find her parents, Dory meets a range of fabulously quirky characters, from Hank, an argumentative and elusive octopus, to Bailey, a beluga whale with faltering echolocation skills, to Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark.
In a conference call with The Hoya, director Andrew Stanton and producer Lindsey said the purpose of the film was to explore the previously untold story of one of the animation studio’s most popular characters.
“The story [of this film] is really about Dory finding herself in every way. … She’s compelling and vulnerable and has yet to recognize her own superpower,” Stanton said. “She has that natural desire to know who she is and where she comes from. … I always had ideas about Dory’s backstory, and we decided the time had come to explore that with her.”
In addition to new locations and developments in Dory’s character, audiences can look forward to meeting new characters and species in this film. Albert Brooks (“This is 40”), who returns as the clownfish Marlin, is joined by Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), who voices the “septopus” Hank, Kaitlin Olson (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), who voices the whale shark Destiny, and Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), who lends his voice to beluga whale Bailey. Portraying Dory’s parents Charlie and Jenny are screen legends Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) and Diane Keaton (“Love the Coopers”).
Collins said the filmmakers had a difficult time choosing which new species to feature in the movie.
“The ocean is a huge place. There’s so many other species [to consider]. There’s so many other locations it’s kind of almost infinite,” Collins said. “The hard part was kind of pairing it down to what would be our favorite types of species to have, but probably our main … [new addition] is Hank, the octopus, which is a kind of a creature that we could have never done in the first movie.”
Advancements in animation technology proved instrumental to the making of “Finding Dory,” as it allowed the story to reach new levels of depth. According to Stanton, audiences will be immersed in a “slightly fancier, more dynamic version of what we saw in the first movie.”
MacLane said the new technology allowed them to create a more realistic depiction of the underwater world.
“The kelp forest was incredibly complex to build in the computer — especially creating realistic water effects around the kelp. It would not have been possible in the ‘Finding Nemo’ days. But now, armed with new lighting and rendering tools, we were able to create more realistic lighting throughout the water that helped add to the forest’s believability as an environment,” MacLane said.