When I first saw the same blue poster with random fishes swimming by the side and the huge words ‘Finding Dory’ plastered over in the same font used for ‘Finding Nemo’, I was immediately cynical. Pixar’s just milking it right? Were we going to be fishes tricked into thinking this franchise was our ocean of happiness…blindly loving this because of nostalgia? I for one, know for a fact that many people love Finding Nemo. For teens my age, it was the first cinematic escapade. Right there and then, 90’s kids lives were forever changed…we suddenly knew of a world of talking fishes. Personification. Life in the animated and the inanimated. It was a touching story that featured the one connection everyone first experienced- Unconditional love. But it didn’t really have any impact on me. It’s nice but wasn’t great by any means. I only have a slight memory of Nemo getting trapped in the net with turtles? And how is it that one can keep up the same story of lost-and-found? There were many things I had doubts about, I went in ready to be left empty-handed…I came out feeling satisfied.
The thing that surprised me about Finding Dory was how it made Dory’s past so inextricably linked to everything…from shaping her relationships with other marine creatures to her uniquely bubbly and innovative personality. Attempts made to foretell events during Finding Nemo creates a burden borne more heavily on us, since Dory can’t really remember enough to be even mildly depressed. But we do. We feel the pain that she doesn’t, and we bear the trouble of Dory’s forgotten past. Each passage of time becomes more emotional, each lost memory for Dory is an even greater source of pity and ache that compels us to root for our hero. Because despite the many contrived scenerios that lead our fishes from one point to the next, the emotions are not. There is a real sense of loss, of helplessness, and Dory’s inability to reconcile her nature from her guilt. I liked how the ‘real’ aspects of her journey to finding her parents weren’t embellished by it’s signature appeal to children. It was jaunty when it should have been, wacky as always and graphically beautiful in every way- And even more hard-hitting than its predecessor.
I don’t know about the rest of you but Finding Dory was a heck of a hilarious film. I was laughing throughout as waves (ocean pun intended) of funny jokes and situations. Kids would love this. Seriously. I heard so many hearty laughs and I had those same laughs myself! I think I enjoyed this more than when I was a kid and saw Finding Nemo, which says alot. Because this seqwhale 😉 isn’t just about literally finding Dory. There are two tracks that run alongside each other. In one epic oceanic journey, they ride a fast jetstream with turtles from one end of the sea to the other, meet old friends, and make daring decisions. Through it all, this is about a fish who finds herself.
But there’s a greater narrative at play; An ecological and conservation message. It is subtle at first but grows to be just as important as the enjoyment of the movie. Ultimately, if we can give voice to the fish in the film and build lasting stories that transcend the screen into emotions we all identify with and struggles we face all the same, then maybe it’s also time we face the truth in these pictures. So go ahead and enjoy this awesome movie but remember: You may forget your way back home but many animals do not even have one.
Coming back to Dory, I realize now that Dory’s the true star of the franchise. While she might be forgetful, I can only say Finding Dory is about to change your perception of how affecting Dory’s character really is. There is a depth to it that is yet unseen and an endearing nature that can only be intimately experienced in the watching. I won’t deny I shed tears during the film but hey, those tears were worth it. I’m really happy I watched the film 🙂