Compared to the original Nemo and the class act that was the Toy Story trilogy, this may suffer from sporadic short-term memory loss – but still has enough heartfelt warmth to make this solid Disney/Pixar family entertainment fare.
It might not reach the depths of the first film – in terms of storyline, support characters and ingenuity – but there’s still no doubting this sequel is still one to catch with its poignant delivery beneath the beautifully animated waves.
The premise is extremely simple. Instead of forgetful blue tang fish Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) being lost like clownfish Nemo (Hayden Rolence) was last time out, the ‘finding’ part is related to her ‘finding herself’ after getting some intermittent recollection of her childhood – and her parents Charlie (American Pie’s Eugene Levy) and Jenny (Diane Keaton) – which leads to a Californian marine park.
So Nemo, and his over protective father Marlin (Albert Brooks), join the ride and – with a helping hand (albeit briefly) from chilled-out current-surfing turtles Crush (director Andrew Stanton) and son Squirt – the trio get propelled to the Pacific Coast to literally look for the proverbial small fish in a very big pond.
But there’s no doubting when they finally reach their destination that this is Dory’s movie, as they get separated – with Nemo/Marlin getting somewhat sidelined – and the Marine Life Institute turns into her playground.
Along the way she meets obnoxious seven-legged octopus Hank (Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill), clumsy whale shark Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and anxious beluga whale Bailey (Ty Burrell), who all contribute to her adventure – while on the periphery the father/son clownfish duo befriend sea lion Fluke (Idris Elba) and pals.
Despite far too much insistence on Dory’s forgetful flashbacks and unnecessary repetitiveness, this sequel easily coasts through on its mixture of heartwarming charm and consistent family-friendly humour .
Despite this playing out a league below the original, you’ll still find this the most satisfying animation of the summer.
Review by Gavin Miller