Ellen DeGeneres voices the title character in "Finding Dory."

Ellen DeGeneres voices the title character in "Finding Dory." Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar

Dory’s problem in “Finding Nemo” was short-term memory. Pixar’s problem with “Finding Dory” may be long-term memory: It’s been 13 years since the first movie was released. When the sequel swims into theaters June 17, will it be fans of the first film queuing up to see it? Or their kids?

“Nemo,” the animated classic about a lost (fish) boy and his frantic (fish) father, had an irresistible, virtually mythic appeal for kids: No matter how lost you may be, it told them — no matter how vast the ocean — your father will find you, despite all the migrating sea turtles, blooming jellyfish and “vegetarian” sharks named Bruce. Stuck in a dentist’s office? Dad will extract you. The film won an Academy Award for best animated feature, was nominated for best original screenplay and won many fans of the adult variety.

One of them, naturally, was Ellen DeGeneres, who lobbied Pixar for years to produce a sequel, and will reprise her role voicing Dory in the upcoming film. “Dory” also features the vocal talents of the returning Albert Brooks as Marlin, the young Hayden Rolence as Nemo (who wasn’t even born when “Nemo” came out), Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy as Dory’s parents, Idris Elba as Fluke the Sea Lion and Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”) as a seven-legged octopus named Hank (aka “Septopus”). Also returning: director Andrew Stanton as Crush the daffy sea turtle and the film’s writer Bob Peterson as Mr. Ray, who was Nemo’s schoolteacher in the first film.

Whatever its merits, “Dory” is not how sequels are supposed to work. The movie industry’s insatiable appetite for follow-ups is about fanning the fresh flame of affection fans feel for the original — and exploiting the name recognition that means so much to a studio’s marketing department. “Dory” is not exactly hot on “Finding Nemo’s” heels. It’s too late to catch a wave. Nemo-mentum may have come and gone.

But Pixar has its own fan base and besides — “Dory” is set just a few months after the end of “Nemo.” Dory is beginning to recall facts about her past, setting her on a course to finding her parents. Accompanied by Marlin and Nemo — and visited by more and more returning memories — she heads for the coast of California and the Morro Bay Marine Life Institute, where she meets Bailey, a beluga whale (Ty Burrell), Destiny, a whale shark (Kaitlin Olsen) and the aforementioned Hank.

Stanton has said that “Dory” is the “inverse” of “Nemo” and that they fit together neatly: “Nemo” avoided flashbacks and involved a parent finding a child; “Dory” relies on a lot of flashbacks and involves a child seeking her parents. “Dory” is still a story about finding one’s family, of course, and as such may hold enormous appeal for the people who hold “Nemo” so close to their hearts.

Thirteen years — an eternity in movie-sequel land — has passed since “Finding Nemo” was released. Here’s a look at how life has changed since those Pixar fish last hit the screen:


2003: George W. Bush

2016: Barack Obama

Sexiest Man Alive

2003: Johnny Depp

2016: David Beckham

Gallon of gas

2003: $1.49

2016: $2.33

Trending on Twitter

2003: What’s Twitter?

2016: “Humans of NY”

Top nonsports TV show

2003: “American Idol”

2016: “NCIS”

Best picture winner

2003: “Chicago”

2016: “Spotlight”

Median (non-East End) LI home price

2003: $325,000

2016: $371,000


2003: SARS

2016: Zika

Fashion trend male

2003: Jason Mraz fedora

2016: Old Testament beard

Fashion trend female

2003: velour hoodies

2016: plaid

Same-sex marriage

2003: Legal in Belgium

2016: Legal in the United States

Notable celebrity death

2003: Johnny Cash

2016: Prince

Donald Trump phrase

2003 “You’re fired!”

2016: “You’re a sleaze”

Most popular baby names

2003: Emily and Jacob

2016: Emma and Liam


2003 : German for “beaver”

2016: Canadian for “OMG”

‘Tonight Show’ host

2003: Jay Leno

2016: Jimmy Fallon

‘Jeopardy!’ host

2003: Alex Trebek

2016: Alex Trebek

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