finding_dory_ver8#JustKeepSwimming I don’t know why I’m suddenly obsessed with that Dory-inspired hashtag, but it’s my new favorite motto. Finding Dory is a worthy sequel to the 2003 Academy-Award winning animation blockbuster, Finding Nemo, about a neurotic clownfish named Marlin who traveled across the ocean to find his son Nemo, who’d gotten trapped in a dentist’s fish tank. In case you didn’t know – all’s well that ended well, with Marlin and Nemo reuniting, with the help of a host of creatures including a blue tang named Dory who suffers from short-term memory loss. Fast-forward a year (in movie time), and Dory, Nemo and Marlin are like family – living comfortably in their underwater corner of the world, respecting the boundaries of the open ocean to avoid becoming fish bait. It’s all going swimmingly until Dory suddenly remembers that she has a biological family – a mother and father, and a home that she’d forgotten about, but now must find. And so another cross-ocean adventure begins.

The voice talent is excellent, with Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks reprising their roles as Dory and Marlin, and Ed O’Neill joining the supporting cast as Hank, an ornery octopus with seven legs who can blend into any background. There’s also a very funny running gag with the voice of Sigourney Weaver – as the voice of Sigourney Weaver. Overall, Finding Dory is cute and sweet. Would I say it’s better than Finding Nemo? No, not really. But it definitely holds its own. Parents should be forewarned that it’s a tad darker. It’s PG (as opposed to the G-rated Nemo) and does have a few tense sequences that little kids could find disturbing (or simply not understand). But rest assured, like Nemo, Dory will find her happy ending. Finding Dory is a visual treat. It’s in 3D, but if you don’t particularly like 3D movies, then a big screen in 2D will be just fine. Also, take note, the movie is preceded by a Pixar animated short, Piper, about a cute little sandpiper venturing out of her nest for the first time. The animation is impressive, but little kids waiting for the “real movie” to start may find the six-minute short to be way too long.

But wait, there’s more! If you stick around til the very, very end of the end credits, you’ll be treated to a bonus scene. The pay-off is minimal for most, but hardcore Nemo fans will likely get a kick out of it.

Finding Dory is certainly the top family-friendly movie of the week, and I put it on par with Zootopia for best animated movie(s) of the year so far. It’s funny and moving, and has a nice message about family, friends, fish, wildlife preservation, hope, faith, and the importance of waiting to make a sequel until the story – and the Dory- is sufficiently seaworthy. #JustKeepSwimming

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