While Finding Dory has all the class and sincerity you'd expect from a Pixar film, an argument could be made that the studio should resist the seduction of producing sequels. Unlike the Toy Story franchise (which became a well crafted trilogy), this one feels like, well, a sequel. It's infinitely better than the sequel to Cars; I liked it very much, but I didn't love it.
The structure of the plot is fundamentally the same as Finding Nemo: The principal character is adorable and needs to get home while temporarily thwarted by conflict and celebrity-voiced-fish along the way. For all intents and purposes, it's the same movie only not quite as ... everything. It's still a first rate effort but not quite as pretty, funny, or unique as the first installment.
And, speaking of celebrity voice talent, half of the reason Dory is as successful as it is can be attributed to how wonderfully Ellen DeGeneres brings the title fish to life. The character has a lot of heart, which sustains your engagement through a pretty formulaic screenplay.
This may seem oddly petty, BUT I think it's weird that, within the context in which these characters live, they can ... READ. ENGLISH. And, not only do these fish do a lot of reading, but it's an essential element of the story. It's a device that seems contrary and out of step with the boundaries set for the rest of the "collective reality," and it bugged me.
Note to Pixar: Don't be afraid of songs in your movies. They make kind of a half-hearted attempt at singing "Just Keep Swimming" (written for a stage version) at one point where a full-on unapologetic production number would have been fun. If fish can read, then they certainly can learn choreography. Didn't Ariel and her friends teach us this in The Little Mermaid? Sheesh!
I still highly recommended this movie for kids and Pixar fans -- just go in with a properly adjusted expectation.
Loudinni specializes in movie reviews under 500 words, sans spoilers.