In addition to the final poster for Finding Dory (June 17, 2016), Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios have provided us with a first round of official character descriptions as well as details for locations in the film. Note that the information only includes what has been officially released so far, so we will have to wait for additional information on characters such as Becky the loon; sea lions Rudder, Fluke and Gerald; Baby Dory; the Otters; etc. Also worth noting is that the details confirm what we recently reported regarding the film taking place one year after Finding Nemo, not six months, as reported elsewhere.
Dory is a bright blue tang with a sunny personality. She suffers from short-term memory loss, which normally doesn’t upset her upbeat attitude — until she realizes she’s forgotten something big: her family. She’s found a new family in Marlin and Nemo, but she’s haunted by the belief that someone out there is looking for her. Dory may have trouble recalling exactly what — or who — she’s searching for, but she won’t give up until she uncovers her past and discovers something else along the way: self-acceptance.
Marlin may have traveled across the ocean once, but that doesn’t mean he wants to do it again. So he doesn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to accompany Dory on a mission to the California coast to track down her family. Marlin, of course, knows how it feels to lose family, and it was Dory who helped him find Nemo not so long ago. The clownfish may not be funny, but he’s loyal — he realizes he has no choice but to pack up his nervous energy and skepticism and embark on yet another adventure, this time to help his friend.
One year after his big overseas adventure, Nemo is back to being a normal kid: going to school and living on the coral reef with his dad and their blue tang neighbor, Dory. His harrowing adventure abroad doesn’t seem to have sapped his spirit. In fact, when Dory remembers pieces of her past and longs to take off on an ambitious ocean trek to find her family, Nemo is the first to offer his help. He may be a young clownfish with a lucky fin, but Nemo wholeheartedly believes in Dory. After all, he understands what it’s like to be different.
Hank is an octopus. Actually, he’s a ‘septopus:’ he lost a tentacle — along with his sense of humor — somewhere along the way. But Hank is just as competent as his eight-armed peers. An accomplished escape artist with camouflaging capabilities to boot, Hank is the first to greet Dory when she finds herself in the Marine Life Institute. But make no mistake: he’s not looking for a friend. Hank is after one thing — a ticket on a transport truck to a cozy Cleveland facility where he’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful life of solitude.
Destiny may be a clumsy swimmer, but she has a big heart. She has a big everything, actually — whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea. Destiny resides in the Marine Life Institute, where one day an oddly familiar blue tang named Dory falls into her pool. Destiny is admittedly embarrassed by her obvious lack of grace, a product of poor eyesight, but Dory thinks she swims beautifully. And Dory is delighted to learn that her supersized friend speaks whale, too.
Bailey is the Marine Life Institute’s resident beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz. The good news — or bad news, depending on who you ask — is that doctors at the MLI can’t seem to find anything wrong with him. Bailey’s flair for the dramatic never ceases to push his neighbor’s buttons: whale shark Destiny can’t seem to get through to him, no matter how hard she tries. Maybe he’ll listen to new friend Dory, who seems to be full of crazy ideas.
Jenny and Charlie would do anything for their only child, Dory. They celebrate and protect her, striving to arm her with the skills she’ll need to navigate the world with a faulty memory. Jenny may appear cheerful and a little flighty — but she’s a protective mother and a smart role model. Charlie likes to joke around, but nothing is more important to him than teaching his memory-challenged daughter how to survive.
Finding Dory returns to the rich undersea environment introduced to audiences in 2003’s Finding Nemo. According to director Andrew Stanton, filmmakers faced a curious challenge. ‘Our technology advances so much over time,’ he says. ‘But we’re beholden to the production design, look and feel of the original movie. So we had to sneak in the improvements. Our lighting is more complex. The flora and fauna have more detail.’
While Finding Dory kicks off in the familiar coral reef home of Marlin and Nemo, it ventures all the way to the California coastline and into the heart of the Marine Life Institute. So while filmmakers maintained the feel of the world established more than a decade ago, they created bold new locales audiences have yet to experience.
The Reef celebrates fun, family and the comforts of home. Vibrantly colored coral and seaweed provide cover for Marlin, Nemo and the newest member of their family, Dory — at least until their new adventure kicks off. ‘The coral reef is a slightly fancier, more dynamic version of what we saw in the first movie,’ says Stanton, ‘but we’re not there for long.’
Kelp Forest is located just outside the Marine Life Institute. It’s murky, but magical, with rays of sunshine intermingling with the tall kelp stalks. Co-director Angus MacLane reports, ‘The kelp forest was incredibly complex to build in the computer — especially creating realistic water effects around the kelp — it would not have been possible in the Finding Nemo days. But now, armed with new lighting and rendering tools, we were able to create more realistic lighting throughout the water that helped add to the forest’s believability as an environment.’
Marine Life Institute is a rescue and rehabilitation center and premiere aquarium. The MLI is vast with an array of pools and educational exhibits. ‘It’s really progressive and dedicated to conservation,’ says Stanton. ‘They want to educate the world about sea life and how it’s integrated into our existence on the planet.’
But achieving the look of the MLI wasn’t easy, adds the director. ‘When you are in a glass box with water in it, the reflections are warped in a really weird way. It breaks the image. We’re all familiar with the resulting look — audiences expect it — but don’t consciously think about it. Fortunately, we were able to use technology available to us today to do refraction and reflections in a believable way.’
Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his echolocation skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex innerworkings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.
Directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Lindsey Collins, the film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton. Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17, 2016.