“The Secret Life of Pets” claims to answer the age…
“What would Dory do?” It’s a question Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) asks herself when she loses her way. As a blue tang fish with short-term memory loss, Dory often loses her way.
Disney Pixar brings Dory back to the screen after her scene-stealing adventures as a comic sidekick in 2003’s “Finding Nemo.” As sequels go, “Finding Dory” is every bit as much fun as “Finding Nemo” and Dory makes a worthy main character.
“Finding Dory” begins with young Dory and her parents Charlie (Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Diane Keaton) addressing Dory’s memory troubles and providing a backstory we didn’t previously need to appreciate Dory’s charms.
In no time the film flashes forward to one year after Nemo was found. We join Dory with Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) as Dory begins to have recollections of her parents and the lessons they taught her to compensate for her memory issues. As the film progresses, Dory’s memory conveniently improves. She recalls a place in California and is certain it will lead to finding her family.
A trip across the ocean is once again aided by a totally awesome sea turtle named Crush. Dory and friends land in Morro Bay at a facility called the Marine Life Institute. It’s here that Dory meets a cadre of new friends to help her retrace her steps and locate her parents. The most influential is Hank (Ed O’Neill), an octopus who is actually a “septupus” due to a missing arm. Cranky Hank helps Dory navigate the institute and find her way through its various exhibits in search of her parents.
Rudder and Fluke are comic sea lions voiced by Dominic West and Idris Elba (who previously worked together on “The Wire.”) Dory’s long lost friend Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) is a near-sighted whale shark and her sidekick is Bailey-the-beluga-whale (Ty Burrell) who is sonar-impaired.
The institute specializes in the rehabilitation of impaired sea animals, so the film zeroes in on the topic of overcoming disability. With help from Marlin, Dory learns to accommodate and even appreciate her memory loss and the unique methods she uses to find her way through life.
As far as sequels go, Pixar did well with “Finding Dory.” It doesn’t ever reach the emotional heights that “Finding Nemo” did, but it offers all the thrills and glorious animation that one would expect from Pixar. The storytelling is solid thanks to a script by Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse. Co-Directors Stanton and Angus MacLane are careful to keep the film true to “Finding Nemo” while allowing Dory some latitude to be herself.
For some reason “Finding Dory” is rated-PG, versus Nemo’s G-rating. I can’t see why there’s a difference. Kids of all ages will enjoy “Finding Dory” and there is little to be cautious about, except the dark and sad scenes where Dory is alone and lost in the ocean.
Run time: 103-minutes
Photo credit: Disney/Pixar
This review also appears on GaysWithKids.com