“Finding Dory” is a wonderfully-animated movie about Nemo’s friend Dory and how she got separated from her family. Dory, you may recall (although I didn’t) from “Finding Nemo”, is famously forgetful, or, as she repeats to anyone who will listen, “I have short-term memory loss”. She is a Blue Tang fish with big eyes and (when she’s grown up) the voice of Ellen DeGeneres. Her parents, Jenny and Charlie, are voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy.
The film starts out with Dory as a tiny fish being taught by her parents. They worry that her memory loss issues will be a danger to her. So they teach her a few tricks, most of which she forgets until much later in life. Now she is grown and living “clear across the ocean” with Nemo and his dad Marlin. They have become her family since Dory helped Marlin find Nemo in the previous film. They are quick to admit that Dory is good at figuring things out and finding ways to survive difficult situations.
Movie poster for ‘Finding Dory’.
As things start to trigger memories for Dory, she is determined to find her parents. Not that she remembers them all that well, but snippets of memories come back to her off and on. Marlin and Nemo end up helping her get to Morro Bay and the Marine Life Institute—a place that helps wounded marine creatures get well. Dory makes a new friend there in Hank (Ed O’Neill), a seven tentacled octopus she calls a “septopus”. She reunites with a childhood friend, Destiny, a near-sighted whale shark. Destiny and her friend Bailey, the Beluga Whale, get involved in helping Dory.
Other delightful characters helping along the way include Fluke and Rudder, two sea lions lazing on their rock outside the Institute, and Becky the loon. By the end of the film, even the cuddly otters are helping Dory, Marlin and Nemo. Dory sure knows how to make friends!
The script of this film is entertaining even for adults. (Did YOU know octopuses have three hearts?) Andrew Stanton wrote the original story, and serves as the screenwriter and director of this film. The fictional setting of the Marine Life Institute is based on several real places credited at the end of the film, including Monterrey Bay Aquarium, the Marine Mammal Institute (Marin County), and the California Academy of Science’s aquarium in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
A PG rating “for mild thematic elements” is meant to caution parents that kids getting lost from their parents could be a scary theme for little ones. Dory and her friends get into a lot of tight spots, so be advised. At the same time, nobody gets eaten by anybody else, so how bad can it be? The music and the animation are beautiful (the kelp beds look real!) and watching it in 3D is well worth the additional price for admission.