Pixar delivers an UNFORGETTABLE sequel to one of their greatest animated movies. Finding Dory is another reminder that Disney has clearly perfected the art of storytelling with a creative touch that appeals to all audiences.
BY ANGEL AMARAL
Not only are dozens of their narratives flawless, they have also elevated the medium of animation itself, tracking all the way back to its inception with Toy Story. The quality of their filmography since then has shown to improve or remain constant, even with their minor missteps here and there. The film, Finding Dory, is an intuitive continuation of Finding Nemo as it dives deep into powerful themes of memory, self-healing, and family.
The story begins one year after the events of Finding Nemo and follows Dory on a journey to find her parents. It’s difficult for Dory to find her parents as she suffers from short-term memory loss. I love that the filmmakers stay consistent with expressing her disability, while also highlighting her strengths of remembering details from decades ago. Baby Dory is freaking adorable! I love how they used the flashback sequences as references and clues to learn more about Dory along with getting her back home. She remembers how much she misses her parents and longs to reunite with them. It is truly heartbreaking when we see her swept away as a baby, yet so beautiful when she is motivated to find them across the ocean. As a result, her attachment to them creates a compelling impact as it depicts how powerful love is emotionally and mentally.
There is nothing wrong with Dory, nothing wrong with the path that she’s on, and nothing wrong with the choices she consciously or subconsciously makes. The attitude of the movie positions her as someone who will just “keep on swimming” to reach her destiny no matter the hardships or threats she faces and I absolutely adore that. The writers utilize her lack of memory for comedic interactions with other characters while also showcasing moments of loneliness, which is difficult to juggle simultaneously and capture that vulnerablity authentically, yet they nail it completely.
Furthermore, life isn’t easy and no one has all the answers, but we can definitely model ourselves after Dory regarding the mentality of flowing forward through life and making strong connections along the way to heal. A successful element to every amazing sequel that exists is memorable characters. Finding Dory continues the trend of appealing characters that include whales, otters, birds, and, most importantly, an octopus. This cool, flexible, and camouflaging octopus is effectively voiced by Ed O’Neill. All these characters have the ability to hook the audience and have a role in pushing the narrative forward. Hank the octopus is dedicated to escaping the rescue marine facility into Quarantine so he can live a life of solitude in Cleveland.
In contrast to Dory, Hank doesn’t want anyone to worry about in his life. He states, “no memories, no problems.” His stance on life and relationships makes for an interesting dynamic between the two characters, especially when he needs her help to achieve his goals.
In addition, previously established characters like Marlon and Nemo also have something to offer to the story. They emphasize the value in professing your appreciation for others. For example, it is because of Dory that Marlon did things in life that he never even dreamed of doing, such as making friends with sharks, jumping jellyfish, and finding his son across the entire ocean. Marlon never told her that she was responsible for pretty much changing his life and alleviating his anxiety of finding his son. She is also the reason why Nemo was able to overcome the trouble of swimming with his small fin. This revelation hits Marlon and Nemo hard. Respectively, they tell her that they appreciate her and that they will always be her family. Family can be more than just bloodline, which she understands clearly as she missed them as well.
Dory passes this newfound understanding of herself and life to Hank. We learn that the best things usually happen by chance. Did Dory plan to lose her parents? Did Dory plan to meet Marlon and Nemo? Did she plan to meet Hank? The answer to all these pivotal moments in her life are “no.” She did not plan for any of those moments to happen; they occurred by chance. Experiences that are created for us are all part of our destiny that we must accept, which is why Dory has the go with the flow attitude. Splashes of happiness and unhappiness are inevitable within our experiences. Once we learn to understand that is when we can we truly have a chance of attaining fulfillment one day.
If Dory didn’t get lost, she would have never have met Marlon. Without Dory, Marlon would have never have found his son Nemo. Dory then took control of her own destiny by choosing to stay with her friends for a year, until she subconsciously remembered her biological family. As a result, she chose to to go search for them. Without Nemo and Marlon, she might have never found her parents and, ultimately, find herself again. Moreover, it reiterates the message of appreciating every aspect of life and those surrounding you because somewhere in there, even if you feel completely lost, remember that you fit just perfectly in this world. It is okay to feel down, just remind yourself to keep swimming because that is what Dory would do and you’ll eventually get to your goal.
Lastly, when Dory has her resolution, the moment is honestly as powerful as a 100ft tidal wave and the tears I shed with my family could fill the ocean. The animation is gorgeous, the music is moving, and the setting created exciting conflict. Sigourney Weaver states repetitively throughout the film, “all it takes is three simple steps: rescue, rehabilitation, and release.” The key to self-healing does not just apply to these fictional fish, but directly to us as we can do whatever we put our minds to, don’t forget that.
Additional lessons I learned from Finding Dory: When something is too hard, know there’s always another way. Don’t ever give up even if you’re scared. An octopus has 3 hearts.
Grade: A+ (10) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️