Finding Dory, the sequel to the modern day Pixar classic Finding Nemo, has just had its big premiere last week, and the animated delight will be hitting theaters all across the United States on June 17. The sequel to the 2003 family film does not disappoint. According to Cnet, Finding Dory managed to bring to life the underwater world that Finding Nemo provided a glimpse into, but in a much more awe-inspiring way this time around.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) June 13, 2016
Roger Ebert was so impressed with the 2003 film that he famously said that he wanted to sit in the front row and let the images wash out the edges of his field of vision. The impressive feat was accomplished using technology that was available 13 years ago, which is an eternity in the world of tech. Finding Dory manages to push the envelope above and beyond the benchmark that Pixar set for themselves. After more than a decade of technical advancements, the ocean is bluer than it could have been in 2003, with an underwater world that is as vibrant as the studio behind it. A new character, Hank the octopus, was apparently so difficult to animate that Pixar said it simply wouldn’t have been possible 13 years ago when Finding Nemo was released.
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John Halstead, the supervising technical director for the film, spoke about the technology behind Finding Dory.
“Computers have gotten a heck of a lot faster. Our algorithms are smarter, and also our pipeline has drastically changed. There is a lot of interest at the studio right now to see what might be capable. I personally am interested in investigating how that technology might be able to help tell a story like Finding Dory.”
The story of Finding Dory stars the title character, Dory, a blue tang with short-term memory loss, and follows her as she goes on a journey to find her family. The father and son clownfish duo from the first film, Marlin and Nemo, are back once again, and they aid her in her quest to find her family.
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Newcomers to Finding Dory include Hank the octopus, and Bailey the beluga whale. The director at the helm of the film is Andrew Stanton, who also directed the original Finding Nemo film and took home the 2004 Academy Award for the Best Animated Feature Film.
For the people at Pixar, experimentation with virtual reality (VR) is inevitable. They have been at the forefront of the new intersections of technology and entertainment since it began as a division of George Lucas’ very own Lucasfilm in 1979. With every tech giant obsessed with VR, like Google and Facebook are, it would make a lot of sense for Pixar to do the same with Finding Dory.
John Halstead spoke on integrating technology to storytelling and how it became a Pixar trait to do so.
“Our goal at Pixar is to tell fantastic stories. And so, a lot of us are kind of thinking, surely there’s a way that we can harness technology to tell fantastic stories.”
The Pixar team behind Finding Dory admits that the hardest thing about bringing the picture to life is to show due respect to the fans’ attachment to the original Finding Nemo. As the film has been considered a modern day classic, making an impact with the sequel was a tough challenge for them. They even admit to having to go back to familiar animating patterns for Finding Dory just because it felt more appropriate for the film.
Jeremie Talbot, the character supervisor for the film, spoke about animating the characters.
“Every time we thought we were maybe making something for the better or making it a little easier for animation, we always ended up ripping it out and going back to something that was similar to what was done before.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) June 11, 2016
Quite separate from the incredible technology that has gone into making Finding Dory a step above what was created in Finding Nemo, there has been a huge amount of interest and excitement in the voice of Dory herself. According to The Courier Mail, Ellen DeGeneres was criticized for using the plight of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to “flog” her Disney film and was urged to visit the reef herself to see what needs to be done to ensure its protection.
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[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney]