FINDING DORY (U, 103 mins)

How can you remember you have a family if you have short-term memory loss?

That question is the wind beneath the water wings of Pixar's joyous computer-animated sequel, which revisits the colourful characters 13 years after worrywart clownfish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) was reunited with his beloved son, Nemo.

Their forgetful pal, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the uproarious comic relief of the first film, is promoted to head of the school for directors Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane's journey of self-fishcovery that once again abandons the safety of the reef for perilous waters.

In almost every aspect, Finding Dory is the emotional and comical equal of its predecessor, dazzling the senses with stunningly realistic visuals and Thomas Newman's buoyant orchestral score.

The script effortlessly tugs heartstrings in between cute verbal and sight gags, including a running joke about the voice of an A-list Hollywood actress, whose dulcet tones become a shimmering beacon of hope in the film's darkest moments.

An adorable animated short entitled Piper precedes and complements the main feature, chronicling the fortunes of a sandpiper hatchling as it learns to forage for food at the water's edge.

The main animation centres on Dory's attempts to be reunited with her parents and aided by an array of colour characters she sets out on an epic quest to California to reunite the forgetful daughter with her loved ones.

Set pieces including a frenetic chase involving a fearsome predator of the sea are nimbly executed and DeGeneres' vocal performance exudes warmth and innocence, compelling us to root for her through a couple of the film's outlandish narrative detours.