“Finding Dory”

The first fifteen minutes of “Finding Dory” were a drag until a funny thing happened – it tied into the beginning of “Finding Nemo.”

“Finding Dory” takes place a year after “Finding Nemo,” and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) now lives with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). Marlin still struggles to tolerate Dory while Nemo looks up to her. When Dory begins to wonder where her parents are, she goes on a quest to find them, dragging Marlin and Nemo along. And like in its predecessor, they meet new friends, encounter perilous situations, and learn the meaning of family.

“Finding Dory” is a faster-paced film compared to “Nemo,” and we barely get a moment to breathe. I rarely consider animated movies intense, but I’ll make an exception in this case. I attribute this to the film being focused on Dory, our lovable fast-talking amnesiac fish.

Dory has a lot of depth in this one and we get an insightful study of short-term memory loss and its struggles. She also has a great moment where she monologues about not having a plan (no, not like “The Dark Knight”), and it makes her stand out more.

Marlin is along for the ride in “Finding Nemo,” and it’s a rehash of him overcoming his neurotic behavior. However, Ed O’Neil’s voice work as grumpy octopus Hank is fantastic. He’s a polar opposite of Dory, helping her on her adventure, despite trying hard to stay emotionally distant.

“Finding Dory” is an unnecessary sequel, and could have been boring, but between the beautiful animation, narrative tie-ins to “Nemo,” the origin of Dory’s whale-speaking, and the voice acting, it’s a solid sequel and better than “Cars 2,” and “Monster’s University.”

Grade: B+

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