Pixar changes ending of Finding Dory, refuses to promote captivity
As a solid demonstration that art sometimes does, indeed, imitate life, the makers of the upcoming sequel in the Finding Nemo franchise have rewritten the ending of the screenplay, which originally had all the sea creatures winding up at a marine-based theme park, such as SeaWorld.
According to news reports, it was the controversial new documentary Blackfish, which excoriates SeaWorld for its captive orca program, that convinced the film’s writers and producers to change course.
The sequel, Finding Dory, comes on the heels of the 2003 box office hit Finding Nemo, and is being made by Disney’s animation studio, Pixar. According to the Los Angeles Times, Pixar executives attended a private screening of Blackfish last April, with the film’s director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
According to the Times: “Louie Psihoyos, who directed the Oscar-winning dolphin slaughter documentary ‘The Cove,’ Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter and ‘Dory’ director Andrew Stanton sat down with ‘Blackfish’ director Gabriela Cowperthwaite in April after seeing her movie.”
After watching the film, which “raises sharp questions about the health of whales in captivity,” the Times reported, “the studio decided to make substantial changes to the Dory script.
Psihoyos told the paper that, in the early script, a number of marine mammals are dispatched to an “aquatic park/rehab facility—a SeaWorld-type environment.” The script has been altered so that the animals “now have the choice to leave that marine park,” he said. “They told Gabriela they didn’t want to look back on this film in 50 years and have it be their ‘Song of the South,’ ” the 1946 Disney musical widely considered to be racist.
There has been no comment from the captive marine mammal display industry, and none are expected. But one has to wonder what the top brass are thinking right now at places like Pixar’s parent company, Disney, which holds captive dolphins at Epcot Center, and of course, at SeaWorld. After all, SeaWorld executives are stewards of a huge entertainment conglomerate, one that relies on the goodwill and respect of the public in order to keep turnstiles spinning and stockholders happy.
Which begs the question, if Pixar executives don’t want to be looked back upon with shame and scorn 50 years from now for celebrating captivity (What a happy ending!), then what is going on inside the minds of people who make money from using intelligent, sentient animals—real ones, not cartoons—as a form of human entertainment?
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