Article | “Finding Nemo”, “Finding Dory” and Pixar’s constant search for the lost identity



There is something unique about Pixar animation that makes an aesthetic and emotional appeal to audiences like no other animated empire.

Although it was acquired by Walt Disney Studios, the company has always stuck to the aesthetic presented since ‘Toy Story’, 1995, betting on original stories that opened a new chapter in the mainstream scene – after all. , who would think of creating an adventure in which toys come to life?

Over the years, the need to deepen the reflections on life, relationships and friendships that we have gathered over time has become a hallmark of the studio – not with anecdotes, but with metaphors built with it. prudence and with an acting game for a young and adult audience. From ‘Vida de Insecto’ and its messages of overcoming and class struggle to the recent ‘Soul’, which is the pinnacle of celebrating what makes us feel good, there are several titles that could be discussed with explorations. metaphysics and symbolic boundaries – but let’s focus this simple article on two specific titles: “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory”.

The mini-franchise, which debuted in 2003 and created one of Pixar’s most important masterpieces, was directed by Andrew Stanton and initially focused on a clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks ) who crossed the ocean to find the lost son, Nemo (voiced in Alexander Gould’s first film and Hayden Rolence’s second). Meeting optimist Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) halfway – who even rose to prominence in the next production – Marlin faced impossible hardships to save the only family he had left after a tragic accident years ago which claimed the life of his partner, Choir (Elizabeth Perkins).

Far beyond a maritime adventure, the two feature films are imbued with dense and unexpected themes, which dialogue with the multiple layers of the existing in a society as complex as ours. Aside from the characters, ranging from the monumental mass of sharks to the vibrant colors of other marine animals, it is this depth of intrigue that catches our attention, bringing elements so precise and, at the same time, subtle to captivate the public. There is, of course, some repetition of Stanton’s formula used from the first through the second film, but the visual beauty still remains – aside from the spectacular chemistry of the cast and the lovable characters we accompany.

Breaking down “Finding Nemo” we have the typical “Greek tragedy” that moves the protagonists, especially in the explosive conflict of generations and personalities between Marlin and Nemo. Once a fish in love with the vastness of the ocean, Marlin watched helplessly as Coral and her hundreds of children were devoured by a barracuda, increasingly afraid of even emerging from their own anemone. With Nemo as the sole survivor, he becomes an extremely overprotective father who doesn’t even want to take his son to school, wanting to protect him at all costs from the evils that stalk the reef. Frustrated at being imprisoned because of someone else’s trauma, Nemo breaks the rules imposed by the world he knows and suffers the consequences when removed – and that’s when all the configuration presented is completely transformed.

In the book ‘The Hero’s Journey’, by Joseph Campbell, the narrative construction is based on immutable principles which give rise to the prototypical myth, like Ulysses, Frodo, Harry Potter and so many other characters of the universal culture. One is the crossing of the threshold between the known world and the unknown world – something that materializes with palpable solidity in animation. As soon as Nemo crosses the line that protects him, he becomes the target of unknown forces that can be malicious (like the divers who take him away) or beneficial (like the aquarium fish he encounters upon arrival in Sydney). The performance also takes place in ‘Finding Dory’, in which DeGeneres’ character leaves a warm and colorful home to the vastness of the sea and, as if that weren’t enough, deals with a recent memory loss syndrome that prevents him from tracking your way home.

But Dory settles down as Campbell’s heroine, unlike Nemo. In the original film, Marlin is the one who must embark on a dangerous mission, restore the natural order of things and reappear as the carefree fish he once was, freeing himself from the overwhelming ghosts of the distant past and focusing on what matters. It is not for any reason that your child has such a special name: Nemo, in Latin, means person. Marlin sets out to find no one, as he needs to find himself first – and the clever lexical choice is just the icing on a delicious cake baked by Stanton and all the wonderful members behind Pixar.

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Suddenly, things change and even fall back a little on stylistic truisms: Dory must find herself and her family; however, being guilty of losing her parents and martyring herself for the problem she was born with, she sees herself as a burden – and, in a vicious cycle, ends up making similar mistakes with Marlin and Nemo. (who are now joining forces to save him). The problem is, while the search for identity for “Nemo” is infused into each of the plots and sub-texts that accompany the protagonists, “Dory” breaks down into the melancholy of loneliness in a visual context, trampling on a story. poetic which is based more on scenic constructions than on the symbology itself.

Honors aside, the works dialogue with each other changing only the main perspective – and even the rehearsals have a clear and very welcome purpose when analyzing Pixar’s spectra: a constant journey of self-discovery.

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