Western Animation / Finding Dory

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/findingdory.png

"What would Dory do?"

Finding Dory is Pixar's seventeenth film, released on June 17, 2016. The film is a sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo, and this time centers around everyone's favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, again voiced by Ellen DeGeneres.

Taking place one year after the events of the first movie, Dory starts to recall memories of her long-lost family. Going by her memories of "the jewel of Morro Bay, California", Dory sets off to exactly there, with Marlin and Nemo going along for the ride. However, Dory gets separated from Marlin and Nemo once they arrive, so Dory must explore the Marine Life Institute in search for her parents while Marlin and Nemo find where Dory was dropped off.

Soon after her separation, Dory meets Hank, a cranky septopus who dreams of spending his days alone in an aquarium in Cleveland. Together they navigate the Institute while meeting plenty of colorful creatures, including a nearsighted whale shark named Destiny and a sarcastic beluga named Bailey. Traversing from the sickly Quarantine holding zone to the Locomo- er, Open Ocean exhibit, Dory sets on a journey larger than herself, and perhaps discovering who she really is along the way.

Sigourney Weaver "appears" as the narrator of the Marine Life Institute.

It is the highest grossing animated film of all time in North America, surpassing the twelve-year old record of Shrek 2.


"Hello. I'm Sigourney Weaver. Welcome to the tropes for the film, Finding Dory":

  • Adult Fear: The film basically hits all the sore spots for any parent that has to care for a mentally disabled child, especially with having to carefully supervise them 24/7 and wondering if they could ever fit in with society or survive on their own.
  • Amusing Injuries: A Running Gag features Destiny repeatedly bumping into the walls of her enclosure because of her poor vision.
  • An Aesop: Similar to the first film, the overall message of the movie is that sometimes we just have to take chances and do something that we never thought we would be able to do. Also, just because someone has a disability doesn't mean they are a liability, and we should give them a chance and support them in their attempts to overcome their obstacles, not holding them back from doing so.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Hank lost a tentacle in the sink, which doesn't regenerate during the course of the movie's events.
  • Artistic License Biology: While Pixar as usual went to great lengths to get their science right for this film, some liberties were taken to advance the plot, as follows:
    • The fish are seen hopping between pools or cups or buckets of water, some of which is freshwater. Saltwater fish like Marlin and Dory would not survive long in freshwater.
    • Hank the octopus can, like many octopi, survive for a short time outside of water, so long as he remains moist, but not for the extended periods shown in the film.
    • Tropical fish like Dory and Marlin would not be able to survive the cold waters of the California coast.
    • Becky the loon is shown walking on land in a similar manner to a duck. In reality, loons are terrible at walking on land because their legs are placed so far back on their bodies.
    • Destiny the whale shark seems to be considered a type of whale, when she actually is a shark.
      • Additionally, Dory falls into a bucket labeled "Destiny" (implying it's her food) and it is full of fish. Whale sharks will eat fish if they have to but mostly eat plankton, shrimp, and krill in the wild. Bait fish commonly take their chances swimming beside whale sharks to shield themselves from more dedicated predators and even in captivity people try to feed them shrimp and krill.
    • Bailey the beluga is seen at the end back on the reef with the other institute creatures. Belugas live in the chilly Arctic waters, not coral reefs near the tropics.
    • The Tank Gang from the previous film made it across the Pacific all the way from Sydney Harbor to the coast of Morro Bay in California in the same plastic bags they were put in. Not only it is impossible for the water-filled plastic bags to travel across the ocean for a whole year without puncturing (it takes years for plastic to decompose, but long-term exposure to saltwater can break down plastic polymers), the limited supply of oxygen from the water in the plastic bags, would have certainly killed them even before the managed to make it into the open seas. To say nothing of the buildup of their own filth.
  • Ascended Extra: Although she only shows up once in the whole film, the "Chicken Fish" (aka. the "OH MY GOSH! NEMO'S SWIMMING OUT TO SEA!!" fish) is a lot more vocal than she was back in the first film.
  • As Herself: Sigourney Weaver, in a Pixar first, plays herself. She narrates the Marine Life Institute's exhibits. However, the credits do not list her "As herself"; they say "Sigourney Weaver: Sigourney Weaver."
  • Bookends: The film ends on the ocean drop-off at the edge of the reef formation, similar to Finding Nemo's opening. No barracuda to ruin the day this time, though. Also, The Stinger of both movies deal with the Tank Gang.
  • Brick Joke: A joke that was set up from the first movie. See The Stinger below.
  • Broken Aesop: While many have praised the movie for its message regarding the differently abled and their potential to function independently in society (as Dory does), some of those same people have noted that two characters from the film, Gerald the sea lion and Becky the loon, are similarly implied to be mentally challenged in some ways and serve largely as joke characters while largely being seen as annoyances by other people in the film. That said, Marlin soon learns that his doubt of Becky's ability was unfounded, followed by relying on her rescue during the climax, and Gerald out-wits the other sea lions in The Stinger, giving them agency to their own competence.
  • California Doubling: A rare animated example. The Marine Life Institute seems to be a mishmash of various aquariums. The presence of Destiny and Bailey strongly suggest Georgia Aquarium, the heavy kelp forest and sea lion presence just off the shore is indicative of Monterey Bay, and the streets mentioned during the finalenote  are the three freeway exits that pass by Emeryville, home to Pixar Studios. This is especially odd because the film is supposed to be set in Morro Bay, which is a real life location in California.
  • The Cameo:
    • Crush and Squirt take the gang on a current that leads to California, saving them a lot of time on their journey.
    • The "Mine!" seagulls appear near the end of the movie.
    • Alexander Gould (Nemo's original voice actor) provides the voice of the truck driver.
    • The entire Tank Gang show up in the movie's post-credits scene.
    • The same photo of Darla that can be seen in the dentist's office in the first movie is visible in the background of the quarantine room.
  • Cargo Cult: Of a sort. The "Sigourney Weaver" who appears in the film is merely a recorded voice who narrates the various attractions of the Marine Life Institute. But the other characters treat her as an actual "person" and almost revere her.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Dory's memory problems are not a Running Gag here. In fact, it's revealed she can't even remember her own parents on command. It puts the throwaway line "Itnote  runs in my family... Where are they?" from the first movie into a completely different context when you realize that Dory forgot about her goal to reunite with her family for an entire year of her life.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In a flashback scene, young Dory's parents encourage her to find and carry shells along the sea bed. When she's alone outside the Marine Institute, she absently finds herself following a trail of shells, which leads to a small underwater cave that has several lines of shells leading toward it, and when Dory turns around she sees her long lost parents. Her parents had taught her to search for shells so she could follow the shell trails to lead her home.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • As Dory begins to remember her parents, she asks Marlin if he knows what it's like to deeply miss someone he loves. As Dory asks him, Marlin takes a long, long look at Nemo.
    Marlin: Yes.
    • Marlin exclaims "Not again!" when Dory is snatched by the humans in a boat.
    • Destiny the whale shark recognized Dory because of Dory's ability to speak whale. In fact, speaking with Destiny is how she learned to speak whale in the first place.
    • Dory can read because she grew up in an aquarium.
  • Creative Closing Credits: It begins with scenes of Hank messing around with his camouflage ability. Once that's done, the scene switches to the ocean, with the camera slowly panning up from the seafloor to the surface through the kelp forest.
  • Cuddle Bug: The otters.
  • Cuteness Overload: Weaponized by the otters in order to stop the truck to Cleveland.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Dory, to Hank.
  • Darkest Hour: Like the first, this film has its own moment where it looks like all hope is lost. It happens when Dory visits the Quarantine, only to be told that her parents are "no longer there", which she interprets as them dying. Then Hank is unable to pull Marlin and Nemo up, leaving them stuck at the aquarium set for Cleveland, then Hank loses his grip on Dory, causing her to fall through the sewers and ultimately the kelp forest outside the Institute all alone.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Dory takes over Marlin's role as the protagonist, relegating him into a supporting role. Nemo himself is also relegated to a supporting role from being the title character of the previous movie.
    • Not that they had especially large roles in the first movie to begin with, but Nemo's classmates Tad, Pearl, and Sheldon are really just background characters during the school scenes here. The Chicken Fish actually has more lines than them!
  • Dinky Drivers: A variation is performed by Dory and Hank when they hijack the Marine Institute's delivery truck. Since Hank operates the controls with his tentacles, the coordination issues of this trope are averted; instead, problems arise because Dory is, well, Dory...
  • Disabled Means Helpless: Part of the conflict is that Marlin assumes Dory's disability (her memory loss) is this, which audiences will recall was his problem with Nemo in the previous movie. Nemo convinces him that it's just another way of experiencing the world. For Dory's part, her memory loss is portrayed as genuinely impairing, but she's quite capable of taking care of herself.
  • Double Meaning Title: Finding Dory both refers to Marlin and Nemo's efforts to find and rescue Dory when they got separated at the Marine Life Institute, and Dory's own Quest for Identity to find her own origin and family.
  • The Dreaded:
    • When Marlin, Dory and Nemo arrive at the wreck, they find that the crabs all around it keep hiding and shushing them, making Marlin apprehensive that there's something they're hiding from. Shortly thereafter they find the Giant Squid the crabs are hiding from.
    • At the Kid Zone, the animals live in constant fear of the kids who come to poke at them.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: One of the main characters is Hank the octopus, although, being a good guy, he is portrayed benignly. The Giant Squid who lives in the waters near the Marine Life Institute, on the other hand...
  • Fake-Out Opening: The opening scene is framed to be as similar to the opening scene from Finding Nemo as possible, with Dory and her parents living an idyllic life in a coral reef, but doing their best to warn Dory away from the "undertow" just outside their home. This helps postpone The Reveal that the "coral reef" is an aquarium, and the "undertow" is the pipe system.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The Tank Gang's names and voice actors appear in the credits, spoiling their appearance on the stinger.
  • Flanderization:
    • In Nemo, Dory said "I suffer from short-term memory loss" exactly once. This film treats it as something of a Catch Phrase, one that her parents deeply ingrained into her. Justified as being the protagonist puts Dory in a lot more positions where she needs to explain it.
    • In Nemo, Nemo's manta ray teacher Mr. Ray had a memorable scene that involved him singing an educational song about marine life to the kids while taking them on a tour through the coral reef. In this movie, a love of singing seems to be a defining characteristic of manta rays; when we see a school of them traveling on their migratory journey, they're all singing a baritone opera song in perfect harmony.
  • Flashback: Occurs when Dory remembers her parents.
  • Funny Background Event: During the touch tank scene, as the kids are running away in a panic after one accidentally makes Hank "ink", you can see a kid unrelated to the incident falling off a ride-able playground animal in the background during the ensuing commotion.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: When Becky leaves the bucket containing Marlin and Nemo on a tree branch to eat popcorn, Marlin loses patience and ends up catapulting himself and Nemo into a gift shop aquarium. A few seconds later, Becky takes the empty bucket up to the roof of the quarantine building, which Nemo snarkly points out.
  • Genki Girl: Destiny is a cheerful whale shark who gets very enthusiastic when she meets her long-lost friend.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Dory starts to give Mr. Ray's class The Talk before quickly being cut off.
    • Hank at one point exclaims, "Holy carp!" and separately, "Suck it, bipeds!"
  • The Ghost: Sigourney Weaver is mentioned often, but is only heard and not seen. Justified, considering that she's simply the park's narrator.
  • Green Aesop: Downplayed- despite the humans' impact on the ocean is seen somewhat in the form of trash (Dory even gets stuck in a can-ring at one point), it remains a minor background theme.
  • Handicapped Badass: Hank is missing a tentacle and is somewhat freaked out about being touched by others, but he's still able traverse the park using the tentacles he has, his camouflage abilities, and driving a truck.
  • Here We Go Again: In the stinger the Tank Gang, who managed to escape their fish tank at the dentist, are captured and brought into the Marine Life Institute.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Dory suffers one when she's told that her parents aren't in the institute anymore. She blames herself and believes that she doesn't have a family while the other blue tangs and Nemo try to console her.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Zigzagged. At one point, Dory and Hank are thrown into the "Touch Area", where kids are sprawling through the aquarium picking all kinds of marine life, which is treated like it's the end of the world. However, the humans are otherwise played un-monstrously, and two of them even have their day ruined when Dory and Hank hijack their truck.
    Driver #2: We are SO fired!
  • Ironic Echo: Marlin is angry at Dory for nearly getting Nemo killed and angrily tells her to "go over there and forget! That's what you do best!" Nemo is more quick to forgive Dory, so he sometimes repeats this line in a snarky way to let his dad know that he messed up.
  • It's All My Fault: Marlin eventually comes to believe that it was his fault that he and Dory were separated, while Dory is convinced that everything that happened to her and her parents is her fault for having memory loss.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hank can be very rude, impatient and forceful as he tries to take Dory's quarantine tag away from her, but he still helps her find her parents.
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite the PG rating in comparison of the first film's G. If the original movie was The Odyssey, then this film is The Iliad. Unlike its predecessor, this movie isn't about a perilous journey fraught with the horrors of the ocean (as the actual journey is resolved in the first act and is generally glossed over in favor of everything that happens at the Marine Life Institute), nor is it a drama about fatherhood wrapped inside of a comedy (though a little drama is sprinkled throughout the film), but a story of self-discovery and reunion. Frightening sequences are few and far between in the movie, unlike some of the encounters in the first film.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Hank offers Dory a way out from the Quarantine in exchange for the tag, he cautions that the plan is crazy, but Dory replies that she's "fine with crazy things". Much later, Dory and Hank are cornered by the police inside a truck and Dory suggests doing a free fall into the sea, though she considers the plan crazy. Guess what answer Hank replies?
    • When Marlin and Nemo are lost in the tank in the Gift Shop, Nemo asks, "What would Dory do?" to get them both out of there. When they reunite with Dory later, Marlin assures her that it was she who encouraged Marlin to find Nemo all those months ago and that the philosophy "what would Dory do?" helped them overcome obstacles. Finally, during her Darkest Hour, Dory repeats this phrase to herself to try to make her remember anything and get her as back on track as she can. It eventually helps find her parents at last.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Played with. The film's opening is about Dory's past when she was still a baby living with her parents at the Open Ocean, before transitioning to the present timeline. However, since this film focuses on Dory's rediscovery of her family, her past at the Open Ocean keeps coming back at certain points in the movie.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: A few examples:
    • By the end of the film Bailey moves to the Great Barrier Reef along with Hank and Destiny, which is thousands of miles away from the Arctic circle of the beluga whale and is in a completely different hemisphere.
    • Jenny and Charlie managed to survive in the kelp forests of the Californian coast. Blue Tangs have a large range around the Indo-Pacific, but it doesn't reach the American continents.
  • Never Say "Die": Subverted. When the blue tangs try to tell Dory that her parents have disappeared years ago and never came back, they say that they're "no longer around", and that they're "gone". Then Dory forlornly asked if they're dead. They aren't.
  • Never My Fault: Marlin is initially unwilling to admit that Dory being taken into the Marine Institute is his fault (seeing as how his blowing his stack at Dory after the incident with the giant squid is what lead to it). Nemo is quick to call him out on this.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One trailer for the movie depicted Dory sleepswimming out of her house, subconsciously trying to go back to her parents. This scene did not appear in the movie.
  • No Antagonist: The conflict is purely character-driven and not obstructed by a Big Bad. The closest thing to an antagonist is a giant squid that the gang runs into, but it barely factors into the story.
  • One Steve Limit: The Gonk-ish, voiceless sea lion that the other sea lions don't like is named Gerald, which was also the name of the first film's ugly, voiceless pelican that the other pelicans didn't like.
  • Overprotective Dad: You haven't changed a bit, Marlin.
  • Parents as People: Dory's parents are loving and kind, but even they have doubts that their daughter will succeed on her own.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Dory and Marlin have grown up to be this since the previous film. Other than living together for a year after the first film, the two are shown to be inseparable from each other; Marlin considers Dory his family, while Dory can't settle at one place without being guided by someone like Marlin.
  • Potty Failure: Hank inks himself after he is touched by a young girl in the touch tank at an exhibit at the Marine life Institute. This plays a very important role in how he and Dory escape the tank and get to her parents.
  • The Promised Land: Hank considers Cleveland as this, since at there, he can finally get the isolation that he doesn't have in the Marine Life Institute. He ultimately chooses not to go there though.
  • Quest for Identity: Dory goes on a journey to find out where she came from and who her family is.
  • Refuge in Audacity: An Octopus. Driving a stolen truck. With Dory telling him which way to steer. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • The baby sea otters. Dory exploits this by setting them to cuddle in the middle of the streets to stop the Marine Institute truck.
    • Baby Dory.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: After the release of Blackfish, the writers rewrote the story to explore the theme of animals in captivity.
  • Rocky Roll Call: Marlin, Nemo, Jenny and Charlie go through one briefly when they run into each other for the first time.
  • Same Plot Sequel: This film has many of the same story beats as Finding Nemo. In both films the title character gets captured and put in an aquarium, while two other characters try to find them. There's an opening flashback, a school field trip where things go wrong, a scene set on a shipwreck, a glow-in-the-dark predator, some predators who are friendly to the protagonists, a goofy bird, a gruff character who tries repeatedly to escape the aquarium, a reunion with lost parents, and a climax in which dozens of fish perform an unlikely escape.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Unavoidable due to the large number of characters that Dory interacts with. Fluke, Rudder, Gerald, and Becky don't appear until the final trailer.
  • Seeking the Missing, Finding the Dead: Subverted. Dory is told by the other blue tangs that her parents went to Quarantine to look for her, and that fish who don't come back from Quarantine have been euthanized. Dory's parents actually made it out of Quarantine and to the ocean.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: A whale shark and an Ocean Sunfish are among some of the animals that Dory encounters on her journey.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Marlin has shades of this: he claims it was four sharks, not three, that he encountered, and tries to say it wasn't his fault that Dory wandered off in the kelp forest, only for Nemo to call him out.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Thankfully Averted. After all that trouble to find her parents, Dory is informed by the other blue tang fishes that her parents are 'gone', due to them having gone off to find Dory in the quarantine zone but never returned. During the heartbreaking confusion that followed, Dory is knocked back into the ocean. She then spend quite a big while in a Heroic B.S.O.D. state until she finds a line of seashells on the sea floor, then follows it to a small enclave where several lines of seashells have been placed leading to it. Here, she finally reunites with her parents at long last, who reveal that they escaped the aquarium into the open ocean to find Dory, and have been placing long lines of sea shells in each direction in hopes that one day, Dory will follow them back to where they are.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bailey's echolocation abilities are depicted identically to the motion trackers from Alien.
    • The touch pool scene seems reminiscent to the caterpillar room scene at Sunnyside Daycare in Toy Story 3, where little kids unknowingly make smaller creatures' lives living hells.
    • Also, the scene where Hank and Dory hijack the aquatic animal transport truck in the finale is like the Up to Eleven version of the Pizza Planet Truck scene in Toy Story 2.
    • In one shot in the Quarantine lab, the camera stays on a pipe labeled "TM-59" for five seconds. This is a reference to the Submarine Voyages ride at Disneyland, California. Opening in 1959, the Submarine Voyages attraction is located in Tomorrowland, and currently has been adapted into a ride themed on Finding Nemo. Hence, TM (Tomorrowland) 59 (1959).
    • When Dory first enters the touch pool, another fish cries "HANDS!" as a warning. Dory mishears this, and replies, "I'm not looking for Hans, I'm looking for Hank."
  • Shown Their Work: Hank, who is an octopus, can change his skin to either disguise as an object or turn invisible. Real-life octopi are actually known to change their color of their skin to camouflage with their environment. The same applies to the three hearts thing, something that Hank himself didn't know.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Actually subverted with Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World", a song known for being used cynically in dark and violent contexts to contrast with its hopeful lyrics. While the initial situation it appears in (a truck flying off of a freeway and landing into the ocean) is certainly calamitous, the progression of events (all the Cleveland-bound marine life being freed and Dory reuniting with her family) complement the meaning of the song.
  • The Stinger: The Tank Gang, still in their bags which have become very dirty in the past year, have somehow made it to the Marine Life Institute and are rescued by the personnel there, and will presumably be cleaned and released back into the ocean.
  • Sleepwalking: Dory sleepswims in a Missing Trailer Scene.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Inverted with Hank, who can stay outside of water for an unusually long time. He hydrates himself precisely once on screen.
  • Super Senses: Bailey the beluga whale has echolocation, which allows him to "see" through walls and track locations from far distances... although it takes him a while to figure out how to actually do this.
  • Survival Mantra: "Just keep swimming" is revealed to be this for Dory, taught to her by her parents so she wouldn't panic if she ever forgot where to go.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Still a staple for Dory.
  • The Unreveal: It's never revealed what happens to fish when they're shipped off to Cleveland, apart from not being able to go back to the ocean.
  • Weirdness Censor: Apparently nobody would have seen fish doing rather un-fishlike behaviour like jumping out of tanks or loons carrying pails of water.
  • Wham Line:
    • The first thing we hear from Dory while she's talking in her sleep.
    Dory: Don't cry, mommy. Don't cry.
    • "But Dory, that was years ago. Fishes who don't leave the Quarantine usually... they're no longer around, Dory." Sure, Dory's parents turn out to be alive and well, but that line causes a massive Heroic B.S.O.D. on her.
  • Wham Shot: In one of the flashbacks, when the camera pulls out and establishes that Dory and her parents lived in—and were presumably born in—the Marine Life Institute.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Both averted and played straight in regards to the Tank Gang. It turns out they're still okay but still trapped in their plastic bags when they're "rescued" by the Institute. Now it's left unclear whether they'll be released or sent to Cleveland.
  • What Would X Do?: At one point, while stuck in a fish tank at the aquarium gift shop and needing to get into the institute's plumbing network to find Dory, Nemo encourages Marlin to think, "What would Dory do?" Marlin proceeds to talk about thinking carefully and weighing up a lot of options, until Nemo points out that that's closer to "What would Marlin do?" They then hit upon the idea of using a row of splash pad fountains to bounce from the tank to a small pool not too far away.
    Nemo: Dory would do it.


"Hello. I'm Sigourney Weaver. Thank you for visiting the Tropes Page for the film, Finding Dory. Have a nice day."


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/FindingDory