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By Tim Estiloz
It’s been a long 13-year wait for Pixar to finally deliver a sequel to it’s hugely successful hit film “Finding Nemo”. While better late than never, the sequel “Finding Dory” delivers a fairly satisfying return to the lovably bewildered character ( voiced by Ellen DeGeneres ) who repeatedly reminds us throughout the film that she suffers from “Short Term Memory Loss”.
The plot vaguely echoes that of it’s predecessor in that Dory finds herself embarking on a cross oceanic journey to find her parents, from whom she was separated as an innocently inquisitive young little fish; the result of a mishap from her own inner forgetfulness.
Key characters from the first film, notably little Nemo and his father Marlin join in to help Dory on her mission to reunite with her family. Dory’s frequent flashback glimpses of her past and parents are the driving force that propel her on her journey to her former home at the Marine Life Institute in California to hopefully reunite with her family.
Along the way, new characters such as a chameleon-like octopus named Hank ( voiced by “Modern Family’s” Ed O’Neill ) and a pair of British accented sea lions ( Dominic West and Idris Elba ) provide plenty of comic relief. However, the centerpiece of “Finding Dory” is DeGeneres’ vocal performance as Dory; as well as the always stunning Pixar animation.
DeGeneres infuses a delightful combination of innocent whimsy, bewilderment and frenetic energy into Dory that makes her journey alternately filled with wonderful humor and heart-rending pathos. The undersea panorama of colors. and vast oceanic murkiness at times, gives “Finding Dory” a beautifully animated seascape for Dory, and the audience, to marvel at throughout her quest to find her family.
There are also plenty of thrills in the film, particularly in the film’s final act, involving a frantic land and sea chase to rescue Dory and Hank from permanent separation from their friends. The sequence pushes the envelope of credibility with it’s outrageous literal twists and turns. Nevertheless, the frantic pace keeps the audience throughly engaged and entertained.
“Finding Dory” may not completely take it’s place equally in the memories of those who love the first film, “Finding Nemo”. However, this sequel serves up enough familiarity and original fun to certainly stand on it’s own as an entertaining treat for young kids, their parents and the young at heart.