The July release date of Pixar's Finding Dory is creeping up on us, and we're started to receive more undercurrents of information about the Finding Nemo sequel. We've rounded up the best bits and brought you the essential facts.
1. It's going to be another emotional rollercoaster
In classic Pixar fashion, Finding Nemo jerked the heartstrings out of us on more than one occasion, beginning with the tragic loss of Marlin's (Albert Brooks) wife and the majority of his children. And let's not forget the tearful father-son reunion between Marlin and long-lost son Nemo (Alexander Gould) at the end.
Reportedly, Finding Dory will also be making us weepy. Gizmodo's report from an advance footage screening in California says that the opening 20 minutes of the movie fills us in on Dory's (Ellen DeGeneres) tragic background, as director Andrew Stanton explains.
"Around 2010 I was starting to think about Dory," he says. "I couldn’t stop thinking about how I didn’t believe she’d be able to get back if she got lost again. She didn’t have the ability to find her way home again now that she found this wonderful family. I knew she was a tragic figure when I created her and I couldn’t drop it. And that’s usually the kind of stuff, when it keeps coming back without me trying, you realize there’s something worth digging for."
2. It develops Dory's character
Also reported on Gizmodo are the difficulties the filmmakers had on elevating Dory from comic relief to star of her own movie. After all, it's one thing to make us laugh – but does she have the intriguing nuances needed to take us on a whole new underwater journey?
"She wasn’t built to be a main character," says Stanton. "She was built to support someone else and a main character is a very different role....She’s so wired to tee up everyone else and put the spotlight on them, and we kept falling into that trap. So it was hard."
With the plot of the new movie revolving around Dory's search for her long-lost family, we imagine that she'll prove more than the equal to the first film's Marlin. Stanton says the movie will build on what we know about her.
"For a long time we put Dory’s backstory completely in the beginning," Stanton says. "And that started to not work after awhile, because we told too much of it and we realized, 'Oh, we have to put flashbacks in this movie.'" However, they’re not technically flashbacks, because Dory is remembering them at the same time as the audience. When Stanton realized that, he was so excited. “Oh my gosh, it’s the complete inverse of the first movie,” he said. "It’s like they’re meant to be folded up in a little case together and they fit each other."
3. It features Pixar's most complex character to date
Not in terms of emotional depth mind; rather, in terms of animation difficulties. We're talking about many-limbed octopus Hank (voiced by Modern Family's Ed O'Neill) whose complex array of movements presented an array of difficulties for Pixar's genius animators.
"I've been at Pixar for eighteen years," character designer Jason Deamer tells Zap2it, "and I can honestly say that Hank has been the most interesting character to be a part of. Nature is far more interesting and creative than I could ever be ... a mimic octopus is not only capable of changing its hue, but also the texture of its skin."
4. There's a whole new setting
Well, kind of – it turns out that a great deal of Finding Dory will take place inside a place called the Marine Life Institute (based on the real-life Monterey Bay Aquarium), which is where Dory meets her eventual new sidekick Hank. It's from here that she needs to plot her escape – fingers crossed it'll be as brilliantly imaginative and funny as the nursery escape scene in Pixar's very own Toy Story 3.
5. Your old favourites return!
In addition the aforementioned Marlin and Nemo (this time voiced by newcomer Hayden Rolence), we're also going to be getting appearances from the likes of Mr Ray and lots more.
"There’s an attempt to get as many in there for the right reasons as we can," says Stanton.
Are we going to be getting a Finding Nemo underwater reunion? Here's hoping.