Finding Dory is the long awaited continuation of Finding Nemo (2003). Fans of the film have been waiting with bated breath for years since its official announcement in early 2013.

In Finding Dory, the protagonist torch is passed from the ever cautious Marlin (Albert Brooksc) to the perpetually forgetful Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). The film starts with Dory being swept up by an undertow while assisting a school field trip. This experience sparks a similar childhood memory that includes her parents. This recollection of her family and their potential whereabouts prompts her to enlist the help of Marlin and Nemo and travel across the Pacific to a costal aquarium in California. Upon arriving well intentioned humans quickly separate Dory from her clownfish friends. It’s here that the film’s title comes into play in multiple ways. Not only is Marlin frantically trying to find Dory, Dory is on a mission to reunite with her family in an effort to find herself

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When our characters leave the ocean for the aquarium, it can’t help but lose the some of the transportive wonder that the first film had. The vast ocean scenery of Finding Nemo was breathtaking and magical and this new setting just doesn’t possess the grandeur to match. That being said, what Finding Dory lacks in spectacle it supplements with humor and exciting new characters

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The voice acting across the board is outstanding. DeGeneres is even more charming than before.  Supporting characters like Idris Elba as a territorial Sea Lion and Ty Burrell as a self-conscious beluga are a few of the many delightful aquatic additions.  Ed O’Neill’s abrasive but progressively sweet octopus is a perfect counterpart to Dory’s trusting and light hearted demeanor.

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When it comes to the ranking of Pixar sequels, Finding Dory doesn’t shine as brightly as its predecessor in the way Toy Story two did. That being said, it is far from the train wreck that Cars 2 is. The story holds up with Dory as its central character. Thankfully, the writers separate Dory from Marlin and Nemo for the majority of the film which prevents the story from rehashing the same jokes and situations of the prior film (a very common pitfall of sequels). This allows Finding Dory to truly venture into new territory and allow these beloved characters to grow.

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A missing Dory doesn’t yield as grand or emotional of a journey. The tone is light and frothy with a very warm core. This film is much friendlier to younger audiences as there are no tragic deaths at any point (let alone the first 10 minutes, geez).  Those who loved Finding Nemo will easily find room in their hearts for Finding Dory. It’s bursting with imaginative fun and excitement that everyone can appreciate. I can’t help but rank it with “lesser” Pixar films but even then, that’s still pretty great.

Finding Dory
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