Being as big a fan of Pixar as I am, I can’t help feeling both completely elated and terrified walking into any of their films’ premieres. Because they know how to get us adults, and how to get us good. Behind those seemingly innocuous characters and plots are hidden incredibly mature situations, so no matter how chirpy that Randy Newman song plays during the closing credits, by then the damage is done. Toy Story 3 broke me for a week. And let’s not even start with the married life montage from Up.
That’s where their genius resides: Pixar makes films for adults that are suitable for children. And in the case of Finding Dory its message is both so striking and relevant that I urge to see it. And please bring your kids.
Finding Nemo was about overcoming challenges and even tragedy, and Dory’s message in it was to “Just Keep Swimming”. This time she’s back to show you just how hard is to do so, specially with a disability, a subject hardly even shown on family features.
The characters that inhabit the story suffer from limitations and wounds both visible and not. Destiny is a short sighted whale, Bailey is a beluga with sonar skills limitations. Hank is now a “Sept-opus” due to an incident from his past that left him with social anxiety issues. And then there’s Dory, whose short term memory loss separated her from her parents at a young age. And that’s not even the end of it.
The challenges that Dory has to overcome on a daily bases are as inspiring as they are heartbreaking. Directors Andrew Stanton and Angus Maclane don’t shy away from the difficulties and even narrowing fear of disability: from its sufferers to their families and friends. There was more humbling humanity in those scenes (specially the ones involving Dory’s parents) than in any solely adult film I’ve seen this year.
These messages are incredibly relevant in our sensibly challenged society. Earlier this year Disney’s Zootopia dealt with diversity issues. Tolerance has become more urgent subject over the years, specially to younger generations.
At the same time, in smartly balanced Pixar fashion, this film is incredibly funny. Also absolutely stunning to look at. You can tell 13 years have passed since the first installment: some scenes from the original are recreated and even enhanced with breathtaking beauty and sense of awe. I look forward repeated views just to get a glimpse of the immense amount of detail in almost every undersea sequence.
Finding Dory will leave you with a smile on your face and lots to think about. It made me question my own role in society when it comes to helping others. In several shots Dory asks for guidance to many creatures, some of them more willing than others, and it made the entire difference for her. Simple, yet on point. Sometimes a forgetful Blue fish can do wonders reminding us what it means to be human.
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