The success of Finding Nemo, the story of a clownfish, Nemo, and Dory, a regal blue tang with short-term memory loss, 13 years ago opened the door for Pixar to develop Finding Dory. The gorgeous depths of the aquatic world, however, don’t throw up any new wonders in this sequel. We have seen the coral, stingrays and colourful fish of the Great Barrier Reef. We have followed the journey of a fish that’s lost and then found. We see something similar in Finding Dory.

Directors Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane eventually steer their underwater adventure into a marine life institute, which, in a hilarious touch, has Sigourney Weaver as its brand ambassador. Her voice resonates throughout the complex as she speaks of the institute’s three-step approach to marine life: rescue, rehabilitate, release. Except, several species are not released into their natural habitat—they are transported to aquariums across the country.

The ecological message is just a small element. Mostly, this is the emotional story of Dory’s (Ellen DeGeneres’) search for her family and the painfulness of her affliction. There’s a touching scene of Dory lost in the dark maze of a subterranean network of pipes, unable to recall the directions for the way out, as Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) try to find their missing friend. The film also highlights the importance of faith, trust and an acceptance of one’s destiny.

Finding Dory succeeds in transporting us to a wonderful underwater world while enhancing the franchise’s emotional core. A few of the old favourites, like the sea turtles, make a comeback and other quirky new species are introduced, such as the British-accented sea lions (voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West), a fabulous shape-shifting octopus, Hank (voiced by Ed O’Neill), and Bailey the beluga whale (voiced by Ty Burrell).

As always, a 6-minute short from Pixar animation precedes the main event. Piper is a cute film about the rites of passage of an adorable newborn sandpiper. “Finding Piper" next please, Pixar?

Finding Dory releases in theatres on Friday.

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