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Dolphin Tale 2

2014-10-03 15:01
What's it about:

It’s been several years since young Sawyer Nelson and the dedicated team at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett, rescued Winter. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life. Yet, their fight is not over. Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin, Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only poolmate she has ever known. However, the loss of Panama may have even greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone, as dolphins’ social behavior requires them to be paired with other dolphins. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.

What we thought:

Growing up, there was a range of films where an animal is the main protagonist, but over the years those movies have died out or been relocated to crappy TV sequels and made-for-DVD releases. Dolphin Tale 2 may be another sequel, but it does not fall into too much soppy sentimentalism as it follows the true story of the famous tailless Winter, sprinkled with some Hollywood story-telling.

Several years after Winter was rescued and fitted with her prosthetic tail, the aquarium has become a big hit with Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), now a teenager, leading the way. Unfortunately, Winter’s companion dies and they have to find another one as law states big marine animals are not allowed to be in isolation. As they rescue other dolphins, they have to wait and see if any can pair with Winter, as well as adhering to the motto of “Rescue. Rehab. Release.”

This films comes out an interesting time when public scrutiny has turned against the use of big marine animals in shows like at Seaworld. The facility where Winter lives is more an animal hospital than a sea circus, and they emphasise this point in excess throughout the film, especially when it comes to releasing all animals that are able to fend for themselves in the wild.

Although the film was averagely good and well-suited to a family audience, I am surprised that it has a cinematic release instead of going straight to TV, especially for a sequel. Value-based films like these have a hard time in the market of superhero franchises, quirky comedies and Oscar-geared dramas, even if you have a Morgan Freeman cameo.

But it must be doing well in the animal-lovers audience, as there are already talks of developing Dolphin Tale 3, based on the story of other rescued dolphins. Director and writer Charles Martin Smith is clearly very invested in this film, and his passion does shine through. If it had a director not as passionate about animals, the films would have sunk to the bottom.

As for the acting quality, names like Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman will definitely draw some crowds, despite the fact that their roles are very tiny. The leads would be of course Winter herself and the boy and girl (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) who helped save her in the first film, now grown into teenagers. They are budding actors and definitely worth looking out for in the future, although Zuehlsdorff’s performances were very forced and unnatural at times, with Gamble having a more adult method of acting. The plot keeps hinting at a love blooming between the two, but the writers never followed through with it. Although it is super cliché, people generally want a resolution to such things and leaving it hanging is quite annoying.

A great film to take your kinfolk to, especially if there is a sea-enthusiast in the family, but those who balk at morally value-laden feel-good films, steer well clear. Your cynicism might get a bit of a beating by Winter’s awesome looking tale.

Read more on:    movies

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