“Just Keep Swimming”

The hottest movie of the summer is not what most people are expecting, but it definitely is making a splash. Finding Dory, the sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, is the Summer 2016 box office hit. Not only is this animated children’s film doing well, it is breaking records. Finding Dory has broken the record for top animated opening weekend of all time in North American theatres.

Previously, this title belonged to Shrek the Third, released in 2007. However, in its opening weekend, Finding Dory brought in about $135.1 million. This surpassed Shrek the Third by about $14 million. Ranked second that week was Central Intelligence, but that was only at $35.5 million in comparison. It’s safe to say that Finding Dory blew the other movies out of the water. 

Even after a second passing weekend, Finding Dory still remains #1 in the box office. Additionally, it is the fastest animated movie to make over $300 million domestically in just 12 days. It is now nearing the $400 million mark, and will likely exceed that at the end of the weekend.

All in all, Finding Dory sets itself apart from other animated film sequels. Many were expecting the movie to tell a similar story to the original, only transitioning the focus to a different character. Instead, director Andrew Stanton was able to create a film that would be able to stand alone and be successful. Although, it does make references to the original film, making them much more significant. “Just keep swimming” was a fun mantra sung by Dory in Finding Nemo. In Finding Dory, it became Dory’s motivation to find her family and various other tasks throughout the film. Bob Hoose of Plugged In says that “Dory’s determination to return home, then, becomes a series of teachable moments about loss, parental nurturing, friendship, dealing with handicaps and loving others.”

Despite its intense focus on family, Finding Dory is also said to have a message about those living with a disability. Jordan Hoffman from The Guardian says that “Ellen DeGeneres excels in Pixar’s Finding Nemo sequel, and the cartoon universe gains a new eight-legged superhero – but a heavy-handed approach threatens to drown the film’s disability message.” The film is packed with so much of Dory’s personal struggles, it takes away from other characters’ disabilities. Hank is an octopus with seven legs, Destiny is a whale shark who can’t see and swim well, and Bailey is a beluga whale who can’t use his sonar skills. Every other character has some fault to them that the film tries to embrace. Unfortunately, some characters overshadow others resulting in an unclear theme for some. And from where its gone so far, Finding Dory will “just keep swimming” and break more and more records as the summer progresses. 

Even with the loss of some of this message, the overall film has proven to be well received by critics, given a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and 77% on Metacritic. A.O. Scott of the New York Times states that “[Finding Dory] argues, with lovely ingenuity and understatement, that what appear to be impairments might better be understood as strengths. The inclusiveness of the film’s vision is remarkable partly because it feels so natural, something that no adult will really need to explain.”

The film is great for audiences of all ages and will continue to be even on smaller screens.  With the combination of meaningful messages and themes with unforgettable characters, and an adorable baby Dory, this film will be talked about for a while. Will it rise to the same fame as Frozen? Did you understand all of the messages from the film? And do you think that the sequel was worth the 10 year wait? Comment what you think below.

6 Comments on “Just Keep Swimming”

  1. The long awaited sequel to Finding Nemo finally came out and it’s no surprise that it broke box office numbers. Pixar does an amazing job with animated children’s movies and Finding Dory definitely lived up to the hype but at the same time, had it’s disappointing moments too. I really like how you talked about themes in the movie and focused on disabilities. Adding new characters was a great idea but as you mentioned, even though the movie was about Dory, I think she did overshadow some of her new aquatic friends. I think the movie had a long buildup before it finally seemed to make sense and be able to put 1 and 1 together about Dory’s family. The ending was cute and enjoyable but I’m not sure the 10 year wait was necessary.

  2. I have not yet seen Finding Dory, but now I can’t wait to see it. It is great to hear that there are some meaningful hidden messages throughout the story. I love Finding Nemo, along with basically everyone my age, and I was so excited to find out they were making a sequel. I really like how you used background music with your podcast. Great post.

  3. Finding Dory was definitely worth the wait in my opinion! It was a cute movie and I think Disney focused on the disabilities in a unique way, like you said. I love how you highlighted that in your post as well as how you incorporated quotes from outside sources. Your podcast was informative and to the point, and the soft music in the background was a nice touch! It fits well with the movie!

  4. This was such a great post, I love the picture you used. I’ve heard about this movie for the past 3 weeks and it’s been nothing but good things from it. This post definitely makes me want to see it. It’s crazy that it made $300 million in the first in 12 days. How incredible? I like the way you implemented Scott from New York Times quote. Great post, keep up the good work.

  5. I just saw Finding Dory this weekend and loved it! I can see how it made so many millions of dollars in such a short period of time – Find Nemo was incredibly popular, so people of all ages who loved that movie were probably ecstatic when they heard about the sequel. I have a feeling a lot of movies this summer are going to struggle to beat its revenue.

  6. I love Finding Dory! I love that you addressed that Finding Dory is more than just a children’s movie and addresses the struggle of those with disabilities. I love the title of your blog post as well. I thought “Just keep swimming” was just a funny little thing Dory used to say but with this movie, I realized that it was more of a survival tag line for her. Good job!

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