‘Finding Dory’ – Film Review

It’s essentially just a slick remix of Finding Nemo, but Finding Dory’s emotional moments will definitely hook you in

Given that 2003’s Finding Nemo remains one of Pixar’s most beloved movies (and its second most successful at the box office after Toy Story 3), it’s surprising the Disney-owned computer animation pioneers have taken 13 years to come up with a sequel. It’s pretty safe to presume casting wasn’t an issue; Ellen DeGeneres, who voices this film’s title character, has mentioned that she was waiting for their call over 20 times on her chat show.

Despite the long gap between the two films, Finding Dory is actually set just 12 months after the events of Finding Nemo. The plot follows DeGeneres’s impishly charming fish, a regal blue tang with a serious amnesia problem, as she swims across the ocean in pursuit of Jenny and Charlie (Diane Keaton and American Pie’s Eugene Levy), the long-lost parents she can barely remember. Along the way, she becomes separated from her old clownfish pals Marlin (The Simpsons’ Albert Brooks) and Nemo (child actor Hayden Rolence), and makes a pact with a crotchety octopus called Hank (Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill) whom she meets at the public aquarium in California where she believes her parents are living.

Although the story is essentially just a slick remix of Finding Nemo, Finding Dory transcends its rather obvious plotting to become a sequel that does justice to the original. Pixar’s computer animation is typically lush and immersive as the story builds to a spectacular climax that recalls, albeit in a more family-friendly way, the iconic ending of Thelma & Louise.

But like the best Pixar movies, Finding Dory also succeeds because of its heart and laughs. A clever running joke involving Sigourney Weaver will tickle grown-ups; The Wire’s Idris Elba and Dominic West team up again to play territorial sea lions who steal scenes by yelping “Off! Off! Off!” at anyone who wants to join them on their lounging rock.

Dory’s quest to find her parents is as sentimental as you’d expect, but that doesn’t prevent it from being affecting. Whatever your age, this film’s emotional moments will reel you in hook, line and sinker.