Movie Review: Finding Dory

When they first announced the sequel to "Finding Nemo," I was a little wary. First, "Finding Nemo" is one of my favorite Pixar films which, I felt, had a finite ending. But, as we've seen, Pixar's track record for sequels has been spotty, more recently leaning to the mundane and less inspired side. But, I have to admit that "Finding Dory" is a lot of fun.

Before I start, there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

The story is rather simple. Instead of trying to find Nemo, this film has Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) trying to find Dory's parents and where she originally came from. It turns out she comes from an Aquarium in Morro Bay, California and, with the aid of Crush (Andrew Stanton) and Squirt (Bennett Dammann), the trio are transported there via the California Currrent. Dory manages to get separated from Marlin and Nemo and finds herself in quarantine at the Aquarium where she meets Hank (Ed O'Neill), the "septopus" since he has seven legs. Hank wants her tag which will allow him to stay in the Aquarium rather than being released into the ocean. Dory agrees to give it to him if he will help her navigate the Aquarium to get to her parents. During this journey, she meets (or gets reacquainted with) Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a near sighted Whale Shark, and Bailey (Ty Burrell), a sonar challenged Beluga Whale. In the meantime, Marlin and Nemo try to break in and find help in friendly California Sea Lions Fluke (Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West) who enlist the help of a loon Becky who flies them in via bucket. Madness ensues and all the animals end up free with Dory reunited with her parents.

The movie borrows heavily in plot from the original in terms of an adventure from home to another place (although, this tends to be the plot for most Pixar films). And, what is it with friendly predators who have accents. Ironically, the fact that the California Sea Lions had British accents made no sense at all, but...hey, I love Idris Elba and Dominic West. So I was able to let it go. But, there was also enough of a difference. Instead of taking place in the sea, we get to see a fish eye's view (pun intended) of what it's like to be in an Aquarium. One of the funniest moments is when Dory and Hank end up in the touch pool where kids are allowed to hold the sea life. I have actually wondered what the starfish and sea cucumbers that usually end up in these pools feel. And, so, it was quite entertaining to watch and, I have to admit, will make me think twice when I touch the animals. Another hilarious gag was Dory's thinking she was being guided by Sigourney Weaver, who provides the narration for the Aquarium.  I loved the new characters, particularly Hank who's slow and cooler personality contrasts well with Dory's high energy frenetic personality.

All the voice actors were great, but a big part of the success of the movie is Ellen DeGeneres as Dory who brings her scatter brained antics to the character and keeps us laughing throughout.

Is "Finding Dory" a groundbreaking film? No. But, I was thoroughly entertained throughout and would watch it again. It's one I would own on Blu-Ray and/or Digital HD. Be sure to stay through the credits for a fun little scene.


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