screenplay by Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse
directed by Andrew Stanton
by Walter Chaw Credit is due Pixar and writer-director Andrew Stanton (co-directing here with Angus MacLane) for wanting to right what I don't know anybody really perceived as a wrong. I remember thinking when I first saw Finding Nemo that Dory's inability to retain short-term memories was a product of her species. In the new Finding Dory, it's revealed to indeed be a mental disability, one that her parents (voiced by Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton) worry over a great deal in a series of flashbacks. They create coping mechanisms for their daughter. They devise a literal shell game so that when Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) inevitably gets lost, she can find her way back home. It's an interesting tactic to take, this mild scolding that what was funny at first is in fact a debilitating, dangerous disorder. And a good portion of the film looks for ways to valorize Dory's condition, to avoid making her the butt of jokes or an object of pity. For the most part, it does this by surrounding her with characters who also have a disability: Hank (Ed O'Neill), an octopus that's lost an arm ("Septipus!" says Dory, "I can't remember, but I can count!"); and Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a hopelessly myopic whale shark. Lest we forget, Nemo (Hayden Rolence, taking over from Alexander Gould) has a deformed fin, something he flaps at dad Marlin (Albert Brooks) after Marlin says something disparaging about Dory's memory issue.