HOLLYWOOD—Can you believe it has been nearly 13 years since audiences were first introduced to a precocious little fish name Nemo in “Finding Nemo?” Well, after years of waiting the sequel to that box-office hit, “Finding Dory” has arrived in multiplexes.
This time around instead of Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) reuniting Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence) with his family, she is on a quest to locate her parents, Jenny (voice of Diane Keaton) and Charlie (voice of Eugene Levy), with the help of Marlin (voice Albert Brooks) and Nemo. So Dory, Marlin and Nemo set sail to reunite Dory with her parents and along the way they encounter some new friends, run into a few enemies and make memories and learn life lessons that will last forever.
For those wondering if this sequel trumps the original, you have been warned: it absolutely does! Why? It’s the narrative of the script which is helmed once again by Andrew Stanton, who also tackles directorial duties for this animated feature. Stanton ensures to put strong development on fleshing out Dory’s character. She was already well-developed in the previous flick, but the audience gets an even bigger slice of Dory’s past which makes her mission to find her parents just as important to the audience.
Along the way, Dory finds herself in a situation where her quest could be hampered if she becomes a permanent resident at the aquarium in Cleveland, but she has Hank (voice of Ed O’Neil) who agrees to help Dory escape and find her parents before its too late. What is so charming about “Finding Dory” is its ability to capture that same nostalgic feeling and familiarity that was evident in “Finding Nemo”: family is important.
This movie highlights that theme with every possible opportunity that it has. Not just from the perspective of the child, but from the perspective of the parent. They worry just as much as the kids do, and the kids worry just as much as the parents do. It’s a great message to deliver to kids, and it doesn’t hurt to have that message reiterated for adults who can sometimes forget that while blood is indeed thicker than water, those who may not be linked by blood are just like family as well. The love that Dory receives from all angles just gives the spectator a warm feeling inside.
“Finding Dory” delivers plenty of laughs, plenty of heart, unique characters that audiences can identify with and a fun look at the animals of the sea that many of us misunderstand or have little to no knowledge about. This movie is proof that sometimes the wait for a quality sequel is worth it, especially when the writers, the director and the characters all align with the stars.