Before I introduce the main event (Finding Dory), I must first honour the creative and artistic geniuses behind the Pixar animated short, “Piper”. This delightful vignette tells the story of a hungry sandpiper hatchling who must venture out of the nest for the first time to dig for her own food along the shoreline. Her timing is a bit off and she gets buffeted about by the water’s frothy edge before triumphantly enjoying her first catch.
The animation is so incredibly realistic, I wasn’t even sure if I was watching an animated film for a moment. I thought surely it must be live action. Add a delightfully little plucky bird who triumphs and you couldn’t help but join in at the end when the entire theatre let out a collective ‘awwww’.
But that’s not what all those parents and kids gathered to see on a gloomy Sunday afternoon… they were there to see their old friends Dory, Nemo, and Marlin on a new adventure. In case you missed the prequel, Finding Nemo, it told the story of a young and naive, but capable Nemo, who was captured from the ocean and taken to a fish tank in a dentist’s office in Sydney, Australia. Marlin (Nemo’s dad) and Dory (the absent minded sidekick) were an unlikely duo who overcame many obstacles (including many a scary sea creature and their own limiting beliefs) to ultimately be joyfully reunited with Nemo.
This time around, Dory is the source of the adventure. Despite suffering from relentless memory loss, she starts to have memories of her parents, and is called to resume her long-forgotten search to find them after being separated in her youth.
The plot is a bit more complex and the adventure takes them not only across the ocean, but across a broader canvas of giant display tanks and exhibits at a marine life sanctuary, the gift shop, splash pad and a nearby highway. You’ll have to see it to believe how a movie with a cast full of aquatic animals can end in a highway chase!
Overall, Pixar knocks it out of the park. Once again they manage to find the perfect combination of delightful characters, heartwarming plot, and artistic excellence.
My favourite part in the movie could have been easily missed. It was near the 3/4 mark when Dory, Marlin, and Nemo were separated suddenly just after being reunited, and without yet finding Dory’s parents. Dory’s anxiety and memory loss start to get the best of her when she pauses, takes a deep breath, and taps into her intuition. She starts to notice her surroundings. She notices one direction has a kelp bed, and the other has open ocean. She pauses and listens to her intuition and goes to the kelp bed. Once there, she notices one direction has a rock and one has some sand. Once again, she intuitively goes to the sand. Staying present in each moment, she assesses her options and goes with what her gut tells her. And suddenly, she is reunited with her parents.
Within each and every moment we each have opportunities presented to us and choices to make. And, just like Dory, we all have the same, innate ability to tap into our intuition to guide us and navigate those opportunities. The trick is to slow down, to quiet the voices in our heads that are trying to psych us out, and to listen to the signals our body is sending us.
Dory found her family. Who knows what we can achieve if we slow down for a moment and listen to what our intuition is telling us?
Amy Kellestine is an educator, engineer, Arati life coach and entrepreneur living in Edmonton, Alberta. She spends her free time camping, gardening, and volunteering for causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and nature conservation. She is a devoted mother, who is passionate about helping others and writing.