GRANGER ON MOVIES: “Finding Dory”
After the endearingly forgetful blue tang won our hearts in “Finding Nemo” (2003), Dory deserved a feature film of her own.
“Hi, I’m Dory. I suffer from short-term memory loss” is the way she sweetly introduces herself.
Years ago, Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) became separated from her parents (voiced by Diane Keaton & Eugene Levy), but she suddenly remembers something about Monterey, California.
“I can’t find them on my own. I’ll forget,” Dory says, sorrowfully.
So Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) and his dad Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) join Dory and journey from Australia across the Pacific Ocean to an aquatic rehab center, the Marine Life Institute in California.
While “Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release” is MLI’s mission, much of the film’s comedy comes from its cranky seven-legged octopus Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill), who is determined to get to the Cleveland Aquarium.
Since she can read and speak whale, amnesiac Dory also has amusing encounters with her near-sighted white shark pal Destiny (voiced by Kaitlin Olson) and brain-addled beluga buddy Bailey (voiced by Ty Burrell), while Nemo and Marlin befriend gruff, Cockney sea lions (voiced by Idris Elba & Dominic West). Even the sea turtle Crush (voiced by Andrew Stanton) re-appears.
Written by Andrew Stanton who co-directs with Angus MacLane, it’s basically the same episodic story with a Pacific regal blue tang replacing the orange clownfish. With its watery refraction and reflection, the naturalistic animation is dazzling.
The ending was revised after Pixar executives viewed the cautionary documentary “Blackfish” (2013) about keeping orcas in captivity; now, MLI’s underwater inhabitants have the option to leave when they’re ready - and Sigourney Weaver does a vocal cameo.
FYI: While many fish stores have stocked up on exotic, expensive blue tangs, parents should know that they’re fragile and require a very specific tank set up and care.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Finding Dory” is an emotionally engaging 8, offering splashy family fun.