This sequel to the beloved "Finding Nemo", once again written and directed by Andrew Stanton (along with help from Angus MacLane, Victoria Strause and Bob Peterson), is another winning addition to the Pixar family.
The central plot revolves around Dory (Vocals once again by Ellen DeGeneres), the little blue Tang with short term memory loss, who begins to remember her past and decides to seek out her parents with the help of Nemo and his father, Marlin. Their search takes them pretty quickly across the ocean to Morro Bay California and the Marine Institute, Dory seems to remember in bits and pieces. Hayden Rolence is the voice of Nemo this time out but Albert Brooks returns as the voice of the nervous Clownfish, Marlin. Mr. Brooks and Ms. DeGeneres have wonderful chemistry together that is evident even through their animated characters.
The story has many flashbacks to when Dory was a child with her parents (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and how she eventually got separated from them. Little Dory is absolutely adorable as is pretty much the entire film. It is a warm, funny, bittersweet, exciting and emotional film. Just what we've come to expect from the minds at Pixar.
Most of the story takes place at the Marine Institute where we meet new characters including Hank, a cranky Octopus (with seven tentacles) voiced perfectly by Ed O'Neill, Destiny, a near sighted Whale Shark voiced by Kaitlin Olson, and Bailey, a Beluga Whale with a hearing problem, voiced by Ty Burrell. There is also a "Wire" reunion of sorts as Idris Elba and Dominic West voice two silly sea lions. The vocal casting is exceptional as the actors match their characters perfectly.
The animation as usual is excellent, in particular, Hank the Octopus who has amazing fluidity. The poignant story will affect a viewer of any age and there are plenty of visual gags and verbal jokes aimed at adults in the audience. Take a child or not, the film has universal charm and appeal and is that rare thing, a sequel that really works.