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Movie Review: Finding Dory

June 21, 2016

written by Erin Diaz

Finding Nemo: the beloved fish tale that left heart strings all over the world being tugged when it premiered in 2003. With a high volume of emotional twists and learned life lessons, Nemo is a motion picture that sticks with its viewers far beyond their initial movie experience. Out of all the occurrences and characters that made Finding Nemo important, there is one fish that stuck out to all: Dory, the fun, spunky blue tang. And this is why the fish now has her own movie: Finding Dory, released June 17.

Although Finding Dory is the sequential movie to Nemo, it did not seem to be a sequel at all - instead, the attention was taken off of Nemo and Marlin and focused on Dory and her past. Because of this shift in character attention, the films felt separate, illuminating each for its strengths. While Nemo focused more on a father's love for and protection over his son, Dory focuses more on overcoming obstacles and facing her infamous short-term memory loss head on in order to find out more about herself and where she came from. Instead of allowing Dory’s memory issue to make her feel alienated, Dory's parents and friends work with her in order for her to live her life as "normally" as possible. Alissa Wilkinson from Christianity Today writes, "Dory's short-term memory loss isn't the result of an accident: it's just something she's born with, and something her parents need to help her live with, while figuring out how to avoid being overprotective."

Tasha Robinson from The Verge seems to pinpoint the overarching theme of the film in her Dory review when she states, “disabilities aren’t the same as limitations.” Dory's parents and friends will work with her as much as they need to in order for her to feel safe and cared for despite any challenge she may face. An example of this lies in the fact that Dory's parents do not chase her when she leaves, but instead leave a trail for her to find her own way back home despite her memory struggles. Her parents trust her intuition enough to allow her to survive on her own although they wish so badly that they could take care of her.

When it comes to the plot as a whole, the movie is a bit predictable in a Pixar/Disney "everything will work out" sort of way. Yet, having this in the back of your mind does not mean that there is not excitement happening through the journey of Finding Dory. In the case of this movie, the means to the end is exciting even if the end is already foreseen. 

Finding Dory is not “better” than Finding Nemo, but it does a great job of being everything it needs to be: adventure-packed, fun-filled, and gently instructing to all ages. Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood writes that Finding Dory is "a sequel that proved you don’t have to stint on quality", while A. O. Scott from New York Times writes, "certainly the best non-Toy Story sequel the studio has produced."



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