In its opening weekend, “Finding Dory” managed to bring in over $130 million, making it the highest-grossing animated debut ever. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95%, it has also pleased film critics.
This sequel to the 2003 film “Finding Nemo” focuses on the likable tang fish Dory, played by Ellen DeGeneres, who has frequent and frustrating battles with short-term memory loss. After a recurring set of flashbacks and with the help of Marlin and Nemo, Dory sets off on a quest to find her parents she lost during childhood.
During this process, the three are separated, and Dory is left to figure out how to continue her journey all on her own. She then meets octopus Hank, played by Ed O’Neil and two whales Destiny and Bailey, played by Kaitlin Olson and Ty Burrell, respectively. They all play a large part in helping her get to her old home. However, the journey doesn’t stop there.
As soon as Dory finds her old home, she soon finds out that her parents had left years ago searching for her. She mistakenly thinks that her parents are dead until she unexpectedly finds them after wandering away from the other sea animals on a truck in route to a Cleveland aquarium. Along with Hank, she uses her inner strength and determination to save Marlin and Nemo, who were still inside the truck, and ultimately ends up saving the other sea animals as well.
Although there is clearly a lot that goes on in this film, it still doesn’t distract from the main points. It is important to note that the film’s opening, which involves a baby sea bird who is afraid of the deep ocean current, foreshadows what is yet to come in the film as well as the overall message.
The young bird finally overcomes its anxiety of the ocean, and doesn’t let fear stop it from going out there to get food with the other birds. This is reminiscent of the infamous line spoken by Dory’s mother, “Just keep swimming,” which means to keep going even when times are hard.
There many times in the film in which Dory could’ve given up on her search, encountering persistent frustrations that would discourage many. However, her setbacks don’t stop her from doing what she set out to do and they contribute to her heroism at the end of the film.
Although this isn’t the best animated film I’ve ever seen, it does include an important lesson that anyone of any age can take away and apply to their lives. “Finding Dory” explores the frightening task of confronting your inner struggles and highlights the importance of not letting setbacks keep you from reaching your goals.
Featured image by Ryan McGill
Edited by Taylor Owens