‘Dory’ lives up to sequel potential


Finding Dory

CJ Housh

Missouri Southern students lucked out with the first movie of the fall semester with Finding Dory, the sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. This family-friendly computer animated film is well worth the buzz it generated.

Dory, the comedic center of the last film, is in search of her family, of whom she only has spotty memories due to her constant short term memory loss. With her friend Marlin and his son Nemo, she ventures to the aquarium where she was born in search of her parents. She befriends a cantankerous octopus named Hank, a nearsighted whale shark named Destiny, and a concussed beluga named Bailey to help her reunite not only with her biological mother and father but also with the family she made in the last film.

First, let me say that sequels have a lot of potential, but they are more often than not a letdown. Finding Dory stacks up. It takes what was created in the first movie and uses it to build a new story. The idea of switching the lead character from Marlin to Dory gives us a new story and, best of all, a new visual mechanic: Dory’s illusive memories.

Dory hears phrases or sees objects that trigger long-lost memories, allowing her to piece together the puzzle of who her parents were and where she came from. Little quirks from the first movie like her mantra “Just keep swimming” become the stepping stones to finding the resolution to her adventure.

I was expecting a long ocean journey like the first movie, but the filmmakers realized they didn’t want to remake the first movie and so set most of the movie in a new locale: the California aquarium. Hank, the escape artist octopus, is a great device for exploring the aquarium.

Cinematography is expertly handled. One would assume that a vast blue ocean would be boring, and after a while, it would become disorienting to the viewer. The filmmakers not only make it interesting with the aquarium, but the different tanks and ocean sets are all unique and easy to identify. The lighting is stunning, setting tone and placing us in locations that tie together both mood and time.

The most interesting thing about Finding Dory is that it has a really good message. This film is about overcoming disabilities, taking place as it does in a sea life aquatic center that doubles as a fish hospital. Many of the characters have some disability to overcome, and they don’t overcome them by being magically fixed. Even Bailey, who can use his echo-location, doesn’t try due to an anxiety of failing.

Finding Dory is an exquisite film and I recommend you see it whether you have kids or not. All Southern students and staff are invited to see the film, free admission, in the Phelps Theatre in the downstairs of Billingsly Student Center this Friday at 6:30 p.m. as part of Campus Activity Board’s sponsored events.