MOVIE REVIEW: Finding Dory

written by David Steffen

Finding Dory is a 2016 Pixel animated children’s adventure film sequel to the popular 2003 film Finding Nemo.  I don’t think that you necessarily need to have seen the original film to be able to watch this one and understand it, though some tie-in scenes between the two as well as established character relationships may make more sense if you are familiar with the previous one.

The characters are all fish, and the story starts in the ocean with the main characters from the previous film: the clownfish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), his young son Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence), and their friend a blue tang fish Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres).  As Dory will tell anyone she meets, probably repeatedly, she suffers from short-term memory loss.  She tends to forget what she’s doing, who people are, what’s happening, frequently and completely, though she is capable of remembering some things sometimes, such as recognizing and trusting Marlin and Nemo.

As the movie starts she has a flashback to her childhood, and she remembers being raised by her parents and them trying to help her with her condition.  Terrified at the sudden realization that she has lost her parents, she dashes off in a panic, and her friends follow her. She is determined to find her parents and she convinces her friends to accompany her.  Along the way she is captured and taken to a California public aquiarum, and put into the tank there.  With increased flashbacks, she realizes that she has she has been here before.  She soon makes a new friend, an octopus named Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill) who makes a deal with her to become an officially tagged member of the aquarium.  Marlin and Nemo set out to find and rescue her.

If you liked Finding Nemo, I think you’ll probably like Finding Dory as well.  Both are fun, and funny, with characters you can care about, plenty of action, and plots that are not so much plotted as random motion from beginning to end that happen across necessary steps to make it all work out in the end (which is fun as long as you don’t try to pick that apart too much).  I liked the new characters, especially Hank the octopus, both in terms of his character and his abilities–using the amazing camoflauge capabilities of octopus to maneuver around the aquarium unnoticed.  Pixar rarely has a miss, so it’s not too surprising that this is another one worth watching.