Finding Dory, Finding Family, Finding Self {Movie Review}


Movie Review / Sunday, June 26th, 2016

This weekend we surprised the kids with a day trip up to Kansas City for my husband and my great nephew’s baptism. (I can’t believe I am a great aunt!) We drove up early and watched Finding Dory at the Cinemark in the Kansas City Plaza.

Aside from the movie, I think the highlights for the kids were getting to go up escalators and crossing a skywalk to get from the ticket booth into the theatre. It’s the small things.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Disney Pixar Finding Dory sequeal to Finding Nemo. Nemo was such a great movie, I wondered if Pixar could make a sequel that was at least as good as Nemo. After seeing the terrible disastrous disappointment of a sequel that is Cars 2, I didn’t want to hold my hopes too high for this one.

I’m happy to say that I am very pleased with Finding Dory and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Finding Dory is a true family movie everyone can enjoy! It’s manageable and classic entertainment all ages can easily process and relate to. 

Side by side with the original, I would say this sequel side-story about Dory looking for her parents may not be as thrilling or complex of a plot, however, its milder temperature is overlapped with the humorous wit and absent-mind minded nature of Ellen DeGeneres’s Dory that everyone came to love in Finding Nemo.  I love Nemo and Marlin, but everyone knows Dory is the real star of Finding Nemo. It was fun watching a whole movie with Dory and a great mix of new characters everyone can relate to.

Parents with younger children who may not have been comfortable with the more intense scenes in Nemo (like the sharks) will enjoy the calmer flow of Finding Dory. Not to say there aren’t exciting moments, they are just less intense and resolve faster.

I was thankful Pixar paid attention to what families appreciated and liked with Finding Nemo and stuck with the same core values of family and friendship with a clean, tasteful, and fun presentation. I really liked that Dory has two parents that she has good memories of and the two parent characters, Jenny and Charlie, are good, loving, and strong mother and father characters.  Oh and the child Dory is too cute.

My husband says he appreciated how familiar the movie felt with the original Finding Nemo but it’s still different enough that it wasn’t just a boring repeat of the first marine adventure.  Unlike, Cars 2, they didn’t try and one-up all the adventure of Nemo with ridiculous intense action scenes.

For myself, the two themes I loved about Finding Dory are:

  • The Importance of Memory
  • Turning Disabilities into Strengths

First, Memory

Memory has been a huge part of my life this year, I’d say Memory is the word theme of my year so far.

Aside from being able to relate on a smaller scale to Dory’s short-term memory loss and absent-minded challenges….

Wait, what was I going to say?

Oh yeah…

I’ve always been fascinated with memory. What are memories, how do they work, what are they made of? Are memories only neurological reactions or do they come from somewhere deeper, outside of our physical bodies?

Where would we be without our memories? How would we function in this life? How would we find meaning without our memories? Who would we be without our memories?

All these thoughts about memory and how important memories are were already swimming around in my mind and heart before watching Finding Dory and the movie drug me down deeper into the current of those thoughts that I’ll hope to explore in later blog posts.

For now, I’ll say that I was very aware of the role all of Dory’s memories played in helping her find her family but most especially it was the painful memories that helped Dory the most in her search for her family and herself. 

Disabilities at Strengths

This is another huge theme I’ve been mulling over and wrestling with for some years now that has come to the forefront of my thinking and everyday living recently as I try to figure out how to look at my children’s perceived weaknesses or unique challenges as something good instead of something terrible that’s tearing them, me, and our family life apart.

All the characters in Finding Dory struggle with something, even Hank, the seemingly rough and tough “septopus”, has his own monsters he’s trying to hide from. Each character learns now to work through their own fears or disabilities while also learning how to work with others and their differences.

I can’t go into all the details but suffice to say that we’ve had special challenges with one child for a few years now and, now that school is out and the routines and structure are gone, it’s become very, very, very challenging at home.

I’m having to learn (and re-learn) how to look at this child’s challenges and struggles and see how I can turn them into strengths and gifts for himself and our family.

Like Marlin in Finding Dory, it’s soooo hard to comprehend and look at the world and various situations differently than what I would do. Like in Finding Nemo, Marlin again has to let go of his perceptions and way of solving problems and learn to trust Dory and see the world as she sees it and think like Dory.

“What would Dory do?,” may become my new mantra too, only replacing my child’s name for Dory’s.

This is a great movie for kids, but one might wonder if they really made this movie for parents. 😉  Make sure you bring some tissues when you watch it, Pixar knows exactly where the tear buttons are on mom’s hearts.

**This last part contains spoilers so that’s why I left it at the end if you want to finish here and come back after you’ve watched it.***

Since this is a movie for kids, here’s what our kids said they liked about Finding Dory when I asked.

12-year-old daughter: I liked how it showed Dory when she was little and her family together. It wasn’t just about Nemo and Marlin’ story, it was also about Dory and her background too.

Favorite scene: When the truck fell into the water with all the fish coming out.

13-year-old goddaughter (who is visiting with us): I just liked the part where it was talking about Dory’s past and how she felt when she was little and the story behind all that.

Favorite scene: The Becky bird – she’s kind of scary – but funny when she dropped the pail to go eat the popcorn. And when they have to bounce on the water fountains while saying, “What would Dory do?”.

9-year-old son: Dory’s past, I liked seeing when she was young. I like when the truck was falling and the fish were slow motion falling out of the truck into the water. I like that the octopus [Hank] could camouflage.  And, I liked Becky and when the seals were making all the noises on the rock.

6-year-old son: When the truck fell and then the fish ate the fish and then he barfed it out.

3 year old: Um, um….um…. about Dory’s mamma and dad! And….swimming. Because Dory is a fishy. Mamma, we watch-ed fishies at the place [the acquarium] we went to. [He remembered the aquarium in Tulsa we went to last year!]

As a side note, we looked it up and were AMAZED to learn that there are octopuses that really can camouflage like Hank! Check this out and be amazed at the wonder of Nature –

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4 Replies to “Finding Dory, Finding Family, Finding Self {Movie Review}”

  1. Joel here-I’ve been so busy with harvest I haven’t been able to comment on this yet, but this is an excellent review and makes me even more excited about our potential project. With a new baby, I think we’ll have to wait till this is out on video to see it, but it will definitely be on the Family Movie Night schedule for this year. And then I will come back and read what your kids thought! I love what you had to say about Memory and will offer up extra prayers for your challenging child this summer! Great review!

  2. Thanks for the review! Looking forward to taking my kids to see it. I heard that there was a small scene/background clip showing a same-sex wedding…is that a myth/true/not noticeable by kids…?

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