Disney has a lot to boast about these days, and its blockbuster prowess was on full display at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Theatrical executive Dave Hollis showed footage and trailers from the studio’s live-action fairy tales (Jungle Book), Marvel properties (Doctor Strange), Lucasfilm giants (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), in-house animation (Moana), and Pixar projects (Finding Dory).
A full screening of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War was scheduled to be the presentation’s entree, but Hollis added a nice surprise appetizer to the menu when he introduced Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton and producer Lindsey Collins, who then announced they would screen the first 27 minutes of Dory, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2003 hit Finding Nemo.
Stanton and Collins asked that we not spoil plot details, particularly concerning the film’s opening scene. We’ll abide by that request and pretend we got a bout of short-term memory loss.
We will say this though: The segment we saw was enchanting, hilarious, adorable, and heartfelt — and has moments that had this reporter welling up in the first five minutes, not unlike that tear-jerking sequence in Up a few years back.
Beyond the opening sequence that shall not be described, we find Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) going about their day-to-day routines one year after the events of Nemo. At one point, Dory hits her head on the top of a cavern, which helps trigger memories of her youth and long-lost family.
Soon afterwards, Dory has convinced Marlin and Nemo that they need to journey across the ocean to find her parents, and they catch a ride on the back of turtle dude Crush (Stanton). It can’t all be so simple though, and after being caught up in plastic six-pack ring (environmentalist message!), Dory finds herself in captivity.
The sequel adds some intriguing voice talent to the mix, and we meet a few of them in the first act. Kate McKinnon and Bill Hader make a brief cameo as a caring fish couple who will likely figure more prominently into the story later on; Ed O'Neill has the potential to be an instant fan favorite as an octopus desperate to get to Cleveland (what? Cleveland is beautiful); and former Wire costars Idris Elba and Dominic West deliver big laughs (and big barks) as British-accented sea lions. (Between Zootopia, Jungle Book and Dory, Elba is crushing the voice game right now.)
It was only 27 minutes, but it’s pretty clear Finding Nemo fans are going to be finding all kinds of feels in Finding Dory.
Finding Dory opens June 17.
Watch the ‘Finding Dory’ trailer:
Photo: AP Photo/Disney Pixar