“Finding Dory”


            The original, “Finding Nemo,” is one of the all-time classic animation movies.  And making the sequel to a classic is always frought with peril.  Nonetheless, “Finding Dory,” though not quite as original as the original (how could it be?), still has charm of its own.

            Dory (the voice of Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss.  As in she can't remember what happened 10 seconds ago.  But there are a few things hard-wired in her memory, that she has parents, and they live somewhere in California, and she has to find them.

            That's not much to go on, but the clown fish Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and his Dad, Marlin (Albert Brooks), owe Dory a huge debt:  she helped Marlin find Nemo when he was separated from his Dad.  So off they all go, on the great ocean adventure, featuring lots of difficulties along the way.  But they get by with a little help from their friends, both old and new.  And Dory discovers a resourcefulness that helps her overcome her difficulties remembering anything.

            Yes, it's a story about utilizing what abilities you have to compensate for the ones you don't have.  But it's also about finding fast friendships that are just as important as family.  We like Dory because she's almost always in a good humor, and though frustrated with her lack of memory, she's easy to be with, because she's so companionable, and literally lives in the moment better than anyone.

It was an inspiration to cast Ellen Degeneres in the original role, and she's perfect once again in conveying all the complex emotions of the blue tang fish we've all come to know and love. 

            The animation is spectacular, but the story is solid, also.  Here's an entertainment option that engages the whole family in a wholesome way.  And that in itself is enough to celebrate.


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association