Now that Finding Dory is on your to-do list this summer, it's pretty normal to wonder if the animal stuff is all legit. From Bailey's echolocation, to figuring out whether octopuses can really walk on land, to wondering if Destiny, like other whale sharks, has bad eyesight, all the questions running through your head are ones that you'll want to be able to answer while driving five kids back from the movie theater. These are all legitimate questions.
Here are the facts: Although sharks seem super scary to just about everyone, Destiny is cute and just so happens to be one of the 1 percent of sharks with bad vision. According to Sea World, sharks "have two major blind spots, which are right in front of the snout and right behind the head, and because sharks can only see about 50 feet (15 meters) ahead, the sense of sight is really only important to a shark once it has closed in on its prey."
In real life, Destiny likely would have been happy as a clam hanging out in the observation center of the Marine Life Institute, given her disability. But even if she was one of the small percentage of sharks that can't see much of the time, swimming around the open ocean, she still probably would have been okay. In fact, many sharks are able to gauge how far away objects are with a fancy eyeball (much like cats) called the the tapetum lucidum, located behind the retina, which is made up of mirrored crystals, and bounces light around.
Turns out Destiny is a pretty lucky marine animal, capable of living in and out of captivity, despite her sight impediment — and to top it off, she's lovable to boot. Kaitlin Olson, who is best known for her role in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, said that voicing Destiny was the best. “I’m a lot nicer in this movie than I am in my television show,” Olson told Entertainment Tonight. “You don’t really see Sweet Dee being sweet, ever. This character is. It was a lot of fun to play that and be vulnerable."
Olson's co-star Ty Burrell, who plays Phil Dunphy on Modern Family and voices Bailey the beluga whale in Finding Dory, too made sure to play up his struggling character with depth (no pun intended). "There’s always a deeper message with Pixar," he told Entertainment Tonight. "These characters are trying to find faith in themselves. They’re trying to overcome their insecurities in order to help somebody in need.”
Animated films are always a good way for stars to show off their softer sides and Finding Dory is no different. Destiny's bad vision — matching that of the small percentage of nearly-blind whales swimming around the open ocean — only serves to create a more complex, lovable, and realistic character who's working to overcome her obstacles. And for that, all movie-goers can be grateful.