Keep Swimming with Finding Dory

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim. – Dory, Finding Nemo (2003)

When Finding Dory was announced for a 2015 release date, I could not have been happier.  I love Pixar; I love Disney; I love Finding Nemo.  Though not necessarily my favorite Pixar movie (that right will always belong to Toy Story), I did love that movie, and Dory is my favorite character.

Finding Nemo was released almost ten years ago on May 30, 2003 – the day after I turned twelve.  I asked to go for my birthday and I did; the next day, my mom and I stood in line to see it on the opening day.  It was crowded, but I would say it was worth it.

I had never been so excited to see a Pixar movie – none had ever come out so close to my birthday. So little twelve-year old me was sitting in the movie theater, bouncing up and down on my seat and pretending that the movie was made especially for me – a girl can dream, right? The lights dimmed, the previews started and then I was transported under the sea and into a beautiful world of Finding Nemo.

The story was one that everyone could enjoy (and still can).  A young clownfish, Nemo, wants to get out and explore the world, despite his injured fin.  Overprotective father, Marlin, does not want his son to go out in the world. Nemo, though, being like every kid – or teenager – wants to explore the world and on of first day of school, he does… only to be captured by a fisherman and put into a fish tank in a dentist’s office with a cast of characters.  (My favorite being Bubbles, a yellow tang fish, who would get over-excited every time a toy chest opened up and released tiny bubbles – Bubbles! Bubbles! My bubbles!”). Meanwhile, Martin has found that Nemo has been missing and he goes out to find him.  The clownfish meets Dory and with that, the adventures begin.  They met sharks, swam on a sea turtle’s back and even get swallowed by a whale.  They had the adventure that Marlin had been afraid to have, afraid to let Nemo have.

Of course, with all Pixar movies, it was a tear-jerker, especially in the beginning.  The sudden death of Nemo’s mom, along with all the unborn little fishies had made me cry.  But by the end, I had teared up as well.  They had the family reunion that was expected and much deserved. Both father and son clownfishes along with Dory had gotten their adventure.

I was struck by the story itself, even more so today than when I was twelve – and I wanted a fish.

Right after I had seen the movie, I begged my mom for a fish.  We were in the mall, it was the perfect opportunity – the pet store was right there, after all and they did sell some awesome fish.  Could I please, please, please get one?

I didn’t.

It wasn’t that my mom wouldn’t let me get one.  She was more than happy to go and see the fish, maybe get one when I picked out the one that I liked.

I had my own fishes when I was younger and had never been any good at keep them alive for more than a few months, but that was common from what I understood from my friends – none of them seemed to last longer than a few months as well.

But looking through that small pet store, I couldn’t find one that I wanted.  They had plain, boring fish – and that’s not what I wanted.  I wanted a fish from the movie. I didn’t want a clown fish like Marlin or Nemo.

No, I wanted a Pacific regal blue tang.

I wanted Dory.

Dory was the character that resonated with me the most – and still is.  She was optimistic and good-hearted, though she did have short term memory.  She was fluent in whale, had the time of her life swimming on the back of a sea turtle and wanted to help Marlin, despite not even knowing him.  She was hilarious (Ellen DeGeneres was perfect for the part) and in the end, I think she got the best thing possible: a place where she was expected.

Marlin needed Dory.  She was the one who could remember the address – “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney” – and she was the one who could get them out of countless situations (that she might have gotten them into sometimes).  Even though she couldn’t remember everything because of her short term memory, she remembered that address.

And with Marlin and Nemo, Dory had found a home.  A place where she was wanted.  A place she could remember things.  She had finally found a friend and she didn’t want to lose that.  Just like what everyone wants.  A place where they belong, a friend. It sounds cheesy, but that’s the secret of life: We all just want to belong somewhere.  We all just want a home.  Dory found hers; we can find ours.

It was because Dory that the father and son reunited.  It was she who found Nemo first and led him back to his father.  Dory caused the happy ending – at least in my opinion.

I never did get my Dory.  The closest thing I have is my roommate’s purple betta fish, Sophie, who I will stare at while she swims around her little bowl.  She’s not Dory, but she does fascinate me.

I’m excited for Finding Dory.  I have no idea what it’s about, though I have heard that people want it to be about Marlin and Nemo helping to find her memory.  I’m not sure if I want that.  Her short term memory is what makes Dory Dory.  The obvious story would be that Dory gets lost in the giant blue ocean, but who knows.  Pixar has yet to release any details besides the title.

I do know that regardless of what it’s about, I’ll be there at the midnight showing .  Maybe, I’ll find my own Dory afterwards.

Until then, I’ll just keep swimming.

Photography credited to Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios/Disney Enterprises. No copyright infringement intended. 

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