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Dolphin Tale: Movie Review

By October 04, 2011 , , , , , , ,

Thanks to Warner Bros. for the invite to the special advance screening last Monday, October 3.

From the title itself and the poster, we can directly expect it to be a family movie. Heart warming is the word.

The movie is 'inspired' by a true story of a dolphin named 'winter' who was injured by crab nets and drifted off to shore. and not based on a true story, just clearing it our before somebody gets the wrong impression at the end. Anyways, Sawyer Nelson, played by Nathan Gamble, was the boy who found him on the shore and that was the start of everything.

Sawyer found himself visiting winter everyday and even skipped a week summer school because he's too busy with his new found interest. Sawyer's mother Lorraine Nelson played by Ashley Judd wasn't happy with the whole skipping the school thing. But when she saw how lit up and excited her son is, she gave in.
Harry Connick Jr. played as Dr. Clay Haskett with a daughter named Hazel Haskett played by Cozi Zuehlsdorff and his father Reed Haskett played by Kris Kristofferson. They are the ones who takes care of the marine life in Florida's Gulf coastline.

As things seem to be well in Winter's recovery especially if Sawyer is there, things take a bad turn as Dr. Clay had to amputate winters tail to save her life. (yes, Winter is a she)

The drama of it sets in as the everyone is deeply affected on the loss of Winter's tail and the mood shifts to a sad realization. Fearing that it would be difficult for a dolphin to swim without their tails. But then a glimpse of hope shines when Winter moved in a snake-like motion in the water, this then brought happiness to everyone. It doesn't stop there, a few problems come up like Sawyer's cousin Kyle played by Austin Stowell comes back injured from his service to the military. As they all face their own problems with family, natural disaster, lot of the marine aquarium being sold, and Winter having problems with her  spine, everyone works together in figuring out a way for Winter to have an artificial tail. This whole idea is something that Sawyer picked up when he visited the recovery and rehabilitation area of military. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy played by Morgan Freeman, they might just be able to save Winter's life. Of course things got more complicated than that. 

Don't be surprised that if after watching this movie with your family, your kids would go online and would all go searching for information about dolphins and visiting the site of winter. But do stay through the end credits and you will see news footage and home movies capturing the actual interaction, developments and how she test drives her new tail.

The director Charles Martin Smith knows a thing or two on family movies. He made sure that the troubled-kid is being handled well and not overplayed. Giving a little more than we expect in the melodramatic scenes, keeping the human and dolphin bond fresh and also considered the magic moments every time the boy and the dolphin are in the scene together. In this movie you can see a bunch of three-dimensional, I am not even sure that the movie needs it, but they did it anyway. You may sense that some scenes are just cliches, but to the kids who are watching, this may be the first time that they would be able to see this. I do love the pace of the movie, it isn't fast and viewers are relaxed at an enjoyable and unhurried pace.

The movie had all sign of a family film. Lonely kids, injured animals, the 'chin-up' and 'stay strong' attitude and struggles, family problems and many others. It is nice the Warner Bros. have Dolphin Tale for the family to watch and enjoy. It may have had the touch of Disney's tried and tested formula for family movies but this one had a thing of their own. The movie is almost 2 hours which is a little too much, but it's ok because the people in the scenes are just so easy to watch and appealing. The movie is heartwarming, the story is wholesome and who can ever miss the star of the movie Winter as the ever charming dolphin.

I give the movie a reasonable  3.5 for a heartwarming peeps out there and parents to enjoy with their family. This is for you.  Great family bonding movie.
Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 5 in 3D and regular theaters, “Dolphin Tale” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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