Every trailer, promo clip, TV spot (etc) has amazed me and every interview with filmmakers I've listened to has given me complete confidence in their ability to make an amazing sequel. However, while I've never admitted it, a part of me has always been irrationally worried about the possibility that Finding Dory won't live up to my expectations. I've actually been worried about this with every pixar film and I'm sure many of you have as well. It's hard not to when you love their films so much. We couldn't bare to watch them make a bad film and fall to their demise, could we?

Well, during Andrew Stanton's (director of both films) latest twitter Q&A someone addressed this very concern to him and asked him if the film will be "surprising". His honest and brilliant answer finally gave me peace of mind:

"Maybe you should get out more. They're just movies, dude. Everything will be fine."

I've never thought about it like that, But it's true. All Finding Dory signs point to brilliance. But if, in the absolute worst case scenario, we end up disappointed, the world will still be spinning. Pixar will be fine, they're more than capable of making up for a disappointing film or two. So let's not worry about what will happen if this movie doesn't live up to our expectations for 2 reasons:
  1. It will be amazing, guaranteed. Both artistically and at the box office.
  2. If it isn't, it won't be the end of the world and it definitely won't be the end of Pixar.
A bit of a random post I know, but I hope it calms some anxiety that I'm sure some of you have.
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Lol, Stanton's answer to that echoes my own sentiments! Movies are hobbies, or are meant to be, not your life. If you spend money to see a movie in theaters and find it bad or just meh, well, it's just entertainment. It won't ruin your life or change the face of the planet. I go to theaters for the company, for the experience, and as a small break. Most movies aren't life changing to me, but as long as they're entertaining, I don't care (I suspect Alice through the Looking Glass will be like this when I see it). I take a lot of enjoyment from Pixar's films, but I still have a life and goals outside of that, as does everyone. So when I just found the Good Dinosaur "meh," I just shrugged it off and moved on.

Finding Dory seems like it will be quite good, from what I've seen. I have no anxiety whatsoever about it. Not even about Cars 3, and though I question Toy Story 4, I don't have any motivation to worry about it. The first three will always be great to me no matter how that one is (like how I feel about the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy versus the fourth one), and I think they'll put their all into it regardless of what I think.
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I knew from the get go that this film is going to be amazing. I trust Stanton and the crew for treating these characters with love and giving them the story they deserve. I wouldn't trust anyone else but Dory's creator to tell her story. Which leads me to a bit of a tangent...

I recently got my hands on one of the Finding Nemo BOOM comics; the Losing Dory arc from 2010 (a review of which is somewhat overdue and may or may not be coming soon). Anyway, it's a fun comic, but Dory is horribly out of character in it, being completely oblivious to danger and acting straight up "dumb" at some points. I've always felt that Dory is much more than that, and I guess Stanton knows that, too. Finding Dory will give her a chance to shine and show her lesser known sides.

But back on topic. Yes, this film is going to mean a lot to me personally, but even if things don't work out, I'll still be happy that it even happened in the first place. I was a big fan of the original Happy Feet, and I was just as excited for the 2011 sequel as I am for Finding Dory now. Was Happy Feet Two perfect? No. But I still loved it nonetheless. Heck, I legitimately love Cars 2. We all know that film wasn't perfect, but it made me happy, and that's what matters to me. 

Even though "it's just a movie" when all is said and done, that doesn't mean you can't have a strong personal link to it. On that note, I just finished a writeup on my personal connections with Finding Nemo/Dory which you can read on my tumblr here. Let me know what you think!
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To be honest, Andrew Stanton's response doesn't really make me any less nervous, and in fact actually makes me a tad more nervous. I'm still worried Finding Dory will disappoint, probably along the lines of MU, but with Andrew Stanton, an veteran director, at the helm, the risk is obviously very low; however, as we've seen with Cars 2, Brave, MU and TGD, Pixar is not immune to disappointments.

And I'm not just talking about personal disappointment either; Pixar's reputation and long term success is on the line here. If Finding Dory is another Cars 2 or MU, then that will add to the long-term repercussions of Pixar's quality slump, which recently has resulted in Inside Out falling short at the Oscars, as well as their first financial flop in The Good Dinosaur. Pixar is still doing great of course, but they're on a slippery slope, and Finding Dory will play a crucial role in defining their future.

I think I may have mentioned this elsewhere before, but there is a difference between Pixar enthralling their audiences, versus simply satisfying them. Pixar movies are special; subjectively, it is my opinion that they are so, and objectively, this is shown through their sky-high ratings across Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic/IMDb, massive box office hauls and award sweeps; they're the company that always goes above and beyond in crafting the absolute best movies possible, and have thus spawned a dedicated following (there's a reason we're all here at Pixar Post, and not DreamWorks Post or Disney Post), in addition to a legendary reputation.

So if they only satisfy their audiences rather than meet the high bar they've set for themselves, then what's to distinguish Pixar from their competition? They lose their competitive edge — sheer quality — and become another ordinary animation studio. Sure, people will still like their movies and they'll still make money, but it'll be a very different Pixar than the one that redefined the industry with Toy Story, or the Pixar that dominated the market in the 2000s.

I am expecting, and a lot of people are hoping for, a sequel to Finding Nemo just as good if not better than the original. With Stanton's track record on Nemo and WALL-E, there is definitely not as much reason to fear a repeat of what happened with Cars 2, Brave, MU, and TGD, all of which suffered director switches and (Cars 2 aside) were helmed by first-time feature film directors. Sure, tempering my expectations will better prepare me emotionally in the case it does flop critically, and may help me be more impressed if I have low expectations, but I'd much prefer to be excited for Pixar releases, rather than apprehensive.

I get what you're coming at in regards to remaining optimistic and open-minded, but I think high standards are part of what makes Pixar great — for fans to be able to go into the theater with high expectations and yet still be blown away — that's truly something special, and something no ordinary company can pull off with as much consistency as Pixar. And part of what makes it work is Pixar's tenacious dedication to quality — let your guard down and take things less seriously, which Stanton may or may not be suggesting in that Tweet, and you no longer become the company that goes above and beyond, you become the company that simply meets expectations or satisfies merely adequately.
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