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Finding Dory, the long-awaited sequel to the classic Pixar film Finding Nemo is out today, and I am happy to report that it is a wonderfully entertaining piece of filmmaking that will appeal to, as they used to say, kids of all ages. It also is, as befits the film's locale, remarkably deep and perceptive in its view of the human condition.

Finding Nemo, you may remember, was about how a clownfish named Marlin searches the ocean for his son, Nemo, who has been abducted by scuba divers and taken to Sydney, Australia, where he lives in a dentist's aquarium. Marlin is accompanied in his quest by a blue tang named Dory, who suffers from short term memory loss but displays a consistent and persistent optimism. The movie was an instant classic, and the vocal interplay between Albert Brooks voicing Marlin and Ellen DeGeneres as Dory was wonderful.

It has taken more than a dozen years to come up with a sequel, but it was worth the wait. Dory is at the center of the action this time, and the movie starts with her beginnings, as her parents (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) try to help her get along despite her memory disability. But when she is separated from her parents, she ends up forgetting them, and she forges an entirely separate life in a different part of the ocean.

For reasons too complicated to explain, Dory starts to recover some of her memories, and she sets off in search of her parents, accompanied by Marlin and Nemo ... and the movie veers effortlessly from emotionally touching to outright slapstick, with tons of heart and lots of laughs. (The ongoing joke about Sigourney Weaver made me giggle every time it was used. And there is a subtle adult joke involving octopus ink that made me laugh out loud.)

If anything, Finding Dory may be even more visually arresting than its predecessor - the ocean has never looked so deep and vast and beautiful. And its message - which in the end, is about the acceptance of people who are different from us - is deep and vast as well. Nemo, you may remember, has a deformed fin ... but he is accepted as an equal by other fish. And while Dory clearly has special needs because of her memory issues, her way of looking at the world - seizing the moment without worrying about the legacy issues that hold so many of us back - eventually is seen as an advantage, not a handicap.

Finding Dory is a terrific movie, not just a wonderful animated film. Find a kid and take him or her to it. And if there is no kid available, go see it anyway.




That's it for this week.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Slàinte!
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