So here is my three word review of Finding Dory for y'all: I loved it. I loved sitting in the dark theater with the ocean all around again. I loved the continuity, I loved seeing all the characters again (I did not love that we had to wait 13 years for a sequel, but that's my only criticism). One of the best parts though? Picking up on all the little nods to Finding Nemo you can catch in Finding Dory. It's like playing a trivia game with yourself to see how much you really know about Nemo, Dory, Marlin and the gang. And remember, those of you who haven't seen the movie yet, SPOILERS FOR FINDING NEMO AHEAD!
Disney/Pixar has always been strong in the sly reference department, but they were at the top of their game in Finding Dory. There is a nice little time overlap, when both movies are happening at the same time. We get to see Dory just as she meets Marlin for the first time, after searching for her parents for years (and I'm just going to say, baby Dory is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life!). Filmmaker Andrew Stanton and his crew must have spent ages trying to whip up all of the little Finding Nemo "Easter eggs" in Finding Dory. So in deference to their hard work, let's see how many can be found.
Darla Is Back
If you pay close attention to Dory when she's swimming around in her tank at the Marine Life Institute in the new movie, a shady figure appears in the background. A little pigtailed menace in braces, carrying a (presumably dead) fish in a plastic bag. It's Darla. And just how the heck did she get from Australia to California?
Just Keep Swimming
Of course, in this movie fans find out the bittersweet origin of Dory's song, reminding herself to "just keep swimming." Dory's mother taught her that song when she was a little fish who suffered from short term memory loss.
In Finding Nemo, Dory insists that she can speak whale. Marlin doesn't believe her, and they nearly get swallowed by a whale in the process. But in Finding Dory, it turns out she can speak whale. Very well, in fact. That's right Marlin, you don't know everything
Becky & Nigel
In Finding Nemo, Nigel the pelican has to carry Marlin and Dory to the dentist office, where Nemo is living in an aquarium. In Finding Dory, Marlin and Nemo are carried in a pail by the slightly-less-worldly Becky to find Dory at (that's right) the aquarium. Becky also seems to be referencing the "Mine, mine, mine!" seagulls from Nemo, with her wordless ways and abrupt movements.
Obviously, the young actor who originally voiced Nemo is now a grown up. Alexander Gould, the original voice of Nemo, can actually be heard as one of the two aquarium truck drivers who gets hijacked by an octopus.
Nemo's Aquarium Friends
The tankgang is back... but fans had to hang around until the end of the movie to spot them. Ever wonder what happened to Nemo's friends at the dentist's office? Well, they reappear after the credits roll, and seem much happier now that they're getting out of their plastic bags.
I think I might have to go see Finding Dory again to make sure I didn't miss anything.