Story Theater Movie of the Week for July 15-17
Director Andrew Stanton is always on the lookout for a new story. His imagination has taken him under the sea and beyond the stars, but this time, a character from his past unexpectedly swam straight into his subconscious.
“I realized that I was worried about Dory,” he says of everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang. “The idea of her short-term memory loss and how it affected her was unresolved. What if she got lost again? Would she be OK?”
Adds producer Lindsey Collins, “Dory seems so happy, but she was never really grounded until she met Marlin. Their happenstance meeting and subsequent friendship marked the first time since she was a kid that she had a family.”
Family is a key theme in “Finding Dory” (rated PG for mild situations and action; and with a running time of 103 min., will be shown at the Story Theater this weekend, July 15, 16, 17 at 7 p.m. only). “We learn when we first meet Dory that she can’t remember where she’s from,” says Stanton. “But she must have a family. Her confusion got a laugh when she said in the first film, ‘Where are they?’— but there’s a sad truth to that. I knew there was a story worth telling.”
Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” finds Dory living happily in the reef with Marlin and Nemo about a year after their life-changing adventure. When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, she recruits Marlin and Nemo for a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute (MLI), a rehabilitation center and aquarium.
In the effort to find her mom and dad, Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank, a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey, a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark.
Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.
“It’s amazing to me that Dory has resonated with people so much,” says Ellen DeGeneres, who lends her voice to the funny fish whose motto “Just Keep Swimming” has inspired and motivated audiences worldwide. “Dory was such a big part of ‘Finding Nemo’ that it makes sense that people might wonder about her journey. We want to see how it worked out for her. Are Marlin and Nemo her family now? Does she have a family and will she ever remember them?”
Filmmakers were eager to answer questions about Dory’s past. “She has that natural desire to know who she is and where she comes from,” says Stanton. “I always had ideas about Dory’s back story, and we decided the time had come to explore that with her.”
“Dory’s short-term memory loss, while a source of comedy before, has very real consequences for her,” adds Collins. “She spent a lot of time alone before she met Marlin. She’s always upbeat and perky, but deep down she’s afraid of what might happen if she gets lost again. While she struggles to deal with her shortcomings, she has no problem accepting everyone she encounters. She doesn’t even realize that she’s surrounded by characters with their own hurdles to overcome.”
“The story is really about Dory finding herself—in every way,” says Stanton. “She’s compelling and vulnerable and has yet to recognize her own strengths.”
“Finding Dory” features an all-star voice cast, welcoming DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”) and Albert Brooks (“This is 40”) back to the sea as favorite fish Dory and Marlin. Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”) lends his voice to “septopus” Hank, Kaitlin Olson (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) voices whale shark Destiny, and Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) gives voice to beluga whale Bailey. Portraying Dory’s parents Charlie and Jenny are Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”) and Diane Keaton (“Love the Coopers”). And 12-year-old Hayden Rolence (“Beta Persei”) steps in to help bring Nemo to life.
—taken from the production notes of Finding Dory, courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures