Friday, October 10, 2014

Movie Review: "Dolphin Tale 2" (2014)

Movie"Dolphin Tale 2"
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes
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A few years have passed since the Clearwater Aquarium rescued Winter and gave her a prosthetic tail. Business is booming as Winter has become quite the tourist attraction. She lives at the aquarium with another dolphin named Panama, who is very old and also deaf. One day, Panama passes away, sending Winter into a depression. On top of this, the USDA has a rule about dolphins in captivity, that they must have a companion. The only other dolphin at the aquarium is a recent rescue named Mandy. Unfortunately, Mandy will soon be healthy enough to be released back into the wild as it is the policy of the aquarium to rescue, rehab, and release whenever possible. If they don't find a permanent companion for Winter soon, the USDA will force the aquarium to send Winter to another facility to be paired with another female dolphin. When all looks lost, the aquarium receives word of another dolphin that needs rescuing. It is a juvenile female dolphin and now, they may have some hope to save Winter, hence why they name her Hope. The only question that remains is whether or not Winter and Hope will accept each other as companions.  

The whole gang is back! And we mean the whole gang. All of the original actors including Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, and Ashley Judd, have all returned for this sequel. Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff have also returned, and the two have both grown up quite a bit since the first film. Even Rufus the pesky pelican is back to wreak havoc on people's purses. The acting of the adults is equally as good in this film as it was in the original one. Gamble and Zuehlsdorff's acting has actually improved quite a bit since the original, and both actors seem to have more of a dramatic flare this time around. Ashley Judd gets a bit more screen time this go around, and Morgan Freeman steals the show in the middle of the movie with a touching scene about breaking out of your box and shaking your life up once in a while, which will speak to adults as well as children.

The "Dolphin Tale" films have never kept their plots nor their climaxes a secret. From the get go, the entire story is pretty much laid out in the trailer and there aren't a lot of surprises, especially since most of it is based on true events. That being said, these films still do manage to capture your attention and keep you engaged. This movie is honest in its delivery, never once making you doubt that conversation and animal awareness, safety and rehabilitation are key to life. The story of Winter gets more interesting this time around as we see her go through depression after losing a close dolphin buddy. Who knew dolphins could be depressed?! When she is trying to get paired with the younger rescue dolphin, Hope, we as audience members want them to accept each other so badly because IT'S JUST LIKE REAL LIFE LOLZ!!!! It's inspiring, but not overly sappy.

Overall, it is just good family friendly and fun film. There is not any overt romance between main characters Sawyer and Hazel. Though it is slightly implied that Hazel digs Sawyer, nothing ever comes to fruition about this. There is also no forced romance between Hazel's dad and Sawyer's mom, either, which we sort of assumed would happen in the first film with a single mother and a widowed father. Eliminating any grandiose romantic subplots between these characters keeps the focus on the animals, which is the main point of these films. In this sequel, we get the added pleasure of seeing more than one dolphin play around, as well as a very cute scene where Hazel brings a turtle to the hospital for some sort of scan. These cute moments keep coming throughout the film's run time, and there are even a couple of tearjerking scenes, too. Though a minor complaint, we feel like these movies could have been a bit shorter, and some scenes are superfluous and feel padded in between dolphin takes.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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