Plot: Although her father loves her dearly, Izzie has always felt like an outsider thanks to some discolored scales on her face. The other young fish pick on her because of it, which bothers her deeply. She just wants to fit in and be part of the group, but instead she is made fun of or told to hide herself. The aquarium might be sizable, but she can’t seem to find a part of it where she belongs, so she dreams of the freedom of the open ocean. But when she winds up out of the tank and in that open ocean, she discovers things aren’t as ideal as she imagined. But with the help of some new friends, who also feel like outsiders, she tries to swim her way back to her father, while he does the same, but can they find each other again in such a massive ocean?

Entertainment Value: As you can likely tell from the synopsis, Izzie’s Way Home borrows a lot from Finding Nemo, but it is a cute movie and marks the first animated release from The Asylum. And of course, if you are familiar with The Asylum, then you’ll think little of the borrowed concept elements. No one will mistake this for a Pixar film and it can’t compete with Nemo, but for an independent animated feature, I think this turns out well. The narrative puts a little new paint on to make things feel a little fresh, while the humor is consistent, if not always on the mark. This is aimed at younger viewers, so the jokes might make parents groan, but kids should appreciate much of the humor here. The pace is also brisk, with little blatant exposition and no dull stretches, not to mention a short run time. You can tell this was a low budget production, but I think there’s real potential with The Asylum’s work here and I look forward to more animated projects from the studio down the line.

The animation here isn’t that polished or refined, so even kids will notice it doesn’t have the gorgeous visuals of big studio animation. At the same time, the movie tries to compensate with colorful, cute designs and that approach works, as the various fish are adorable. A wide scope of interesting, very cute characters populate the movie, while backgrounds aren’t super detailed, but look fine. I appreciated how rich and vivid the visuals are here, even if the animation is a little jank at times. The cast also reflects the limited resources, with the most well known names being Tori Spelling and Joey Fatone, so not much star power. I do think most of the supporting character voice work is quite good, even better than the leads, to be honest. So perhaps not much marquee name value, but some rock solid performances. I can see some viewers dismissing this as a Nemo knock-off and that is true to an extent, but it is a competent animated feature and for kids, a brisk, colorful new adventure to embark on.

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