Disney Pixar released a brand new Finding Dory trailer this week on, appropriately enough, The Ellen Show. This is the first new animation we’ve seen since early November. That was a sort of quiet anticipatory intake of breath. This, though, is the smile on one’s face after cheering.
The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
This is definitely a sequel, okay. There are three migrating species in the trailer alone. We reprise the worlds apart banter between Marlin and Crush. And we meet a new character, Destiny, for whom Dory’s signature trait is a gift rather than a burden. Which is honestly fantastic. When we saw the first teaser I wrote:
Frozen explained agape. Cars articulated wisdom. And Finding Nemo demonstrated persistence. Emotional vocabulary stuff that’s stickier for younglings than Inside Out.
And I couldn’t be happier that beyond the theme of family driving the trailer, those struggles are foregrounded and celebrated. It’s one thing to impart your values to your children. It’s another entirely to see them reified and reinforced in their favorite fictions.
I’ve come around to the notion that the additional characters and broadened contexts of the Pixar sequels are almost always vast improvements. The first installments are often sweet and powerful, but the expansions wrap up more stuff in a more engaging story. It can look crass to adults, but for kids the take home is much more significant.