‘Finding Dory’ Swims Big in Theaters


Dory with her family in "Finding Dory". Photo courtesy of IMDB.

Maggie O'Donnell, Staff Reporter

“When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.”

This line is only one of the lessons a viewer can learn from the new movie “Finding Dory”. This family-packed film takes viewers on an adventure with Dory, Marlin and Nemo as they try to figure out Dory’s origins.

Their unforgettable journey starts with Dory suddenly remembering she has a family who may be out there looking for her, so the trio takes off on an adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rescue and rehabilitation center.

In order for Dory to find her mom and dad, she seeks help from the finest Marine Life Institute residents: Hank, a quarrelsome octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are fritz; and Destiny, a near-sighted whale shark.

Navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends uncover the beauty within their flaws, within friendships and within family.

This movie, directed and scripted by Andrew Stanton with the help of Angus MacLane, explores Dory’s mysterious background and uses Dory’s disability to her advantage rather than simply curing her short-term memory loss, which is significant to the movie’s message of how one’s flaws can be one’s superpowers. Plus, it’s fundamental to her personality.

The voice overs in this movie are spot on. Each voice fits perfectly with its character. Ellen DeGeneres as Dory is brilliant because she has such a distinct voice that is unforgettable and gives Dory that comedic vibe. In fact, many of the characters are voiced by comedic people, which gives the movie its fun feel.  For example, Bailey, who is voiced by Ty Burrell, and Hank, who is voiced by Ed O’Neill, are both actors on the sitcom “Modern Family”.

On the other hand, Hayden Rolence, who voices Nemo, has this innocent, sweet tone to his voice that illustrates to the audience that Nemo is young and caring. Albert Brooks, who voices Marlin, has a stern but caring tone that portrays Marlin as serious but friendly.

Besides the characters, the opening scene is also memorable– actually a favorite because it starts with baby Dory and her parents going over her short-term memory loss. This initial scene shows clearly what the movie is going to be about and continues to build on from there with comedy, adventure and even some tears.

While watching Dory and her friends go through the adventure of finding her parents, the viewer can learn some important lessons. Dory’s famous motto–just keep swimming–takes on a new meaning in “Finding Dory.” It tells viewers that no matter how difficult the situation gets, instead of panicking, people should just keep moving forward and keep their heads held high.

With “Finding Dory” being an offshoot of “Finding Nemo”, viewers have this hope that it will be just as good as “Finding Nemo”. Having “Finding Dory” come out thirteen years after “Finding Nemo” came out in 2003, all this suspense was built around what the film was going to be like, growing one’s expectations.

When going to see “Finding Dory”, I had high expectations regarding the plot line and what one could take away from the movie. Coming out of the theater and seeing not just kids but teenagers with these huge smiles on their faces, I was right there with them. It wasn’t the cuteness factor or the adventure they went on that made the movie great; it was how Dory and her friends overcame their disabilities and how they realize that family isn’t just blood but also the people one loves and holds close to one’s heart.

While this movie is no longer in theaters and only on DVD, it’s worth checking out, as it will be one viewers will want to watch again and again.