Finding Dory, the sequel to Pixar’s 2003 smash animated hit Finding Nemo, is hitting theaters this weekend to glowing reviews.

Finding Dory, set six months after the last installment, features the memory-lacking Blue Tang – voiced by Ellen DeGeneres – heading off on a mission with her clown fish friend Nemo and the rest of the motley crew of marine life somewhere along the California coast.

Finding Dory Reviews

While Pixar and other major studios have taken some heat lately for their dependence on sequels, Finding Dory has won critics over. DeGeneres, especially, has received high praise for her voice acting as Dory, which threatened to steal the show in the original picture. According to reviews, Finding Dory doesn’t lack imagination, and perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t lack the heart that Pixar’s animated features have become known for.

“If there has ever been a better voice performance in an animated film than Ellen DeGeneres’ in Pixar’s wonderful sequel “Finding Dory,” I sure can’t think of it. Her tour de force even surpasses Robin Williams in “Aladdin.” Reprising the role of Dory — the irrepressible bright blue tang with short-term memory loss whom DeGeneres played mostly as a comic-relief sidekick in “Finding Nemo” 13 years ago — the actress not only deploys sharp comic timing but executes a deep, poignant dive into issues of loss that will bring tears to your eyes.” – Lou Lemenick, New York Post

“Much of the plot is outrageously, if also cheerfully, implausible — except that, in a context of talking fish, what qualifies as implausible? The important thing is how everything rings true emotionally. The real genius of Pixar isn’t the studio’s animation wizardry — and wizardry it is. […] No, what makes Pixar the miracle it is is the human element — and that’s no less true when the humans are fish.” – Mark Feeney, Boston Globe

“Finding Dory,” the latest film from Pixar, isn’t as imaginative as last year’s “Inside Out” or as offbeat as “Ratatouille” (2007). But this sequel to “Finding Nemo” (2003) is an enchanting animated adventure that makes terrific use of its vocal talent — particularly DeGeneres, who lends poignancy to Dory’s exploits. […] There’s plenty of goofy, kid-friendly action — even if some of it is wildly improbable by the standards of animated films. But the film also addresses such serious themes as what it means to be a family. Audiences should find “Dory” one of Pixar’s most charming achievements.” – Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

As always with Pixar, much of the fun is in the details: an imposing chorus of singing sting rays; a particularly garrulous clam; a charmingly nearsighted whale shark; a perfect voice cameo from Sigourney Weaver; an explanation for why sea lions always seem to be saying “Off! Off! Off!” And the animation, with its rich underwater colors and expressive faces, is a richly textured joy; even the 3D is subtly effective. […] But for all the witty voices and great escapes (maybe one too many of the latter), “Finding Dory” is ultimately a character story, and DeGeneres’ lovable, brave Dory swims right into our hearts. Over the end credits, Sia croons “Unforgettable.” Spot-on? Maybe. Adorable? You bet.” – Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times