Daily Thought #50: Finding Dory Review

So today I watched Finding Dory (I finally watched it months after the everyone else did). Honestly, I didn’t like it as much as the first one. As a writer who analyzes everything, I wasn’t just content with going away from the film without figuring out why this one was not as good as the previous one. Was it just because the novelty of the first one had warn off? I don’t think so. So, this post may be a bit longer than my usual dairy thoughts but I want to give a compressed review of this anticipated children’s movie.

Let’s start with the good (this part will be short). The unique, new characters were awesome. I loved the wacky bird Becky and the incredulous octopus Hank. The scenes, mishaps, and jokes were hilarious. However, that is as far as the good goes. Underneath, I saw things that made me less likely to ever let my children watch this movie.

First, there was the idea that, in order to fit in, you have to be fixed. It wasn’t fine that Dory had short term memory loss; she had to recover it to be happy. In the end, there is a scene where Dory goes to see the drop-off without getting lost. She gets there, seeming to recover her memory. While I’m happy for her, it was as if the filmmakers are saying that she was not happy or good until her memory issues had dissipated. I take issue with this. Because, as G.K. Chesterton say, “One must be loved in order to be loveable.” Why did she have to change and get better in order to be happy?

Similarly, there is a scene near the end where Dory is trying to convince Hank to go back to the ocean and every fish in the truck yells her chant or mantra to convince him. To some, it might seem like harmless encouragement, but to me it has a very Rousseau sense to it. If you don’t know anything about the French philosopher, one of the things he taught was that, if someone does not want to go along with the public opinion, they should be forced. This, for me, is something very disturbing. It takes away ones freedom to make their own choices. In a sense, Dory and the other fish are bullying Hank to do something he does not want to do. Who are they to know what is really best for him?

There is also a huge obsession with conservationism, which in itself I believe to be a worthy cause. However, to exaggerate their point, the filmmakers made certain things worse then in reality and certain things seem better. Like how octopus do not eat fish in this show and they do in real life. Another example is in the scene where Hank and Dory get stuck in the Touch Pool. It is shown to be a horrific scene in which children grab, squeeze, and take away fish. Perhaps it is to emphasize how horrible it is to keep fish in captivity. However, having been to many Touching Pools in my life, I have never seen a child do more than touch the top of a creature’s head gently. I am not saying a wild, rude child does not do something more, but it is not hundreds of children like this movie portrays.

I know what you are saying. “It is just a cute kids movie, why are you reading into it so much?” True, but if you know any young child or are a parent yourself, you know children absorb information like sponges. They may not consciously understand that there are deeper meaning to things, but subconsciously they often change their behavior by what they see (thus why so many teens are texting while driving: because they witnessed their parents texting while driving).

Perhaps you disagree with me. If so, I’d love to know what you thought of the movie. Do you think I’m overreacting? Why?

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