On the surface Finding Dory could be seen as a simple remake of Finding Nemo, and if that was all it was, then it would still be a fairly solid family outing. But for those of us who’ve seen Nemo, it’s like diving deep into the backstory of one of our favorite Pixar films and discovering just how Dory lost her family.
There are plenty of similar scenes in Dory, but everything is done on a much wider scale. Instead of being captured and put in a small aquarium in a Dr’s office, Dory is captured and placed in the Marine Life Institute, a massive aquarium run by none other than Sigourney Weaver, where under the guise of protecting marine life, fish are put on public display or shipped off to another Aquarium depending on wants and needs.
So Dory is a similar story, but features a slightly older (and wiser) Nemo, and together Dory, Nemo and Marlin head back to California after the forgetful Dory has a memory flash back and remembers something that might help her find her parents.
Finding Dory is full of flashbacks to her back story, and we see the heartbreak of parents who find themselves with a child with special needs. A fish who unlike humans, doesn’t live in the constraints of a safely closed off building, and suffers from crippling, almost instant memory loss. As much as they try and teach Dory how to remember it’s crushingly obvious that nothing is being retained, except the love Dory has for her parents and her parents for her.
It’s this family dynamic that gives Dory’s tale a much bigger punch than Nemo’s, and helps drive the story of family – both the kind that you’re born into and the kind that you find in life – forward with a gripping intensity.
Dory’s intensity sometimes causes her to forget the family that has looked after her for years, and puts them all in danger, but Dory is a tale about not giving up, no matter the obstacles put in your way. It’s also a story about not forgetting that family comes in many forms.
It’s also delivered with some bloody good storytelling and easily becomes one of Pixar’s best stories since we first met Woody.