Pixar’s newest movie, “Finding Dory,” made a big splash this past weekend at the box office. The movie lived up to all of its hype, after millennials waited more than 13 years for it.
“Finding Nemo,” came out in 2003, and although the clown fish were the stars of the movie, Dory was the character who really stole the audience’s hearts, mine included.
Directed by Andrew Stanton, who worked on “Finding Nemo,” “Finding Dory” smashed the record for an animated film opening. Between excited children and enthusiastic twenty-something children-at-heart, the movie had a $136.2 million debut.
Within the first few minutes of the movie, baby Dory’s big purple eyes, much too big for her body, have you feeling all of the feels, hearing about how she has “short-term remember-y loss.”
The movie opens with Dory and her parents, Jenny and Charlie, at home. Dory has always had the habit of forgetting things, but her parents do what any good parents would do: They work hard to remind her that she’s special and do their best to keep her from getting lost or in trouble.
Flash forward one year later and the scene from “Finding Nemo” where Marlin and Dory fatefully crash into each other plays. This is when everything begins tying together.
Flash forward from that point and you’re now in present-day.
Dory lives next door to Marlin and Nemo in their trademark sea anemone. They head to the school, where all sorts of familiar characters like Mr. Ray and the sea turtles Squirt and Crush begin making their feelings-inducing cameos.
A couple of memory triggers remind Dory of what she’s been looking for since before she met Marlin and Nemo. As luck would have it, the newfound memory takes the trio on another trip across the ocean, this time to the Marine Life Institute on the Pacific Coast of California, dedicated to “Rescue, Rehabiitation and Release” of the animals.
It’s there that Dory meets new friends, as she does everywhere she goes. She partners up with an octopus named Fred, who reminds viewers of a cranky grandpa. The duo scale buildings, survive the dreaded touch tank and escape institution workers together in an effort to get Dory back into the open ocean.
Peppy whale shark Destiny, Bailey the beluga whale and a group of cuddly otters also lend a hand throughout Dory’s adventure.
“Finding Dory” follows relatively the same plot as “Finding Nemo” but with Dory’s vibrant personality and all of the fun new characters you meet along the way, that major detail can seemingly be overlooked.
Like everything Ellen DeGeneres does in life, she rocks out the role of Dory. Her festive, bright personality radiates through the character.
Throughout her journey, Dory actually finds more than she is originally seeking. Flashbacks caused by memory triggers teach Dory more about how she became the fish she is today.
She remembers where her motto, “just keep swimming,” comes from, how she learned to speak whale and rekindles old friendships.
Throughout the movie, the audience’s heart strings are tugged at constantly with emotional hooks and life lessons on things like family and friendship.
Some adult-oriented jokes (very few but they’re there) slide into the story, flying over children’s heads but creating more entertainment for older audience members. Pixar has always done a good job with this but Ellen DeGeneres’ voice just makes it that much better.
“Finding Dory” isn’t a must-see for everyone, especially those older than 10, but if you do decide to dive into it, you won’t regret it.
– Lana Ferguson