Entire family: Yes
2014, 107 min., Color
Rated PG for some mild thematic elements
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Featured audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1
Bonus features: C+
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD Copy
When you do the right thing, you don’t have to do it perfectly in order to make a difference. So I’m going to pick up a pocketknife and cut this film some slack, the way that its main characters have had to cut fishing line and nets off of trapped and disabled marine life.
Dolphin Tale was based on a true story and used a combination of CGI, animatronics, and real dolphins to tell the tale of Winter, a rescued animal that was fitted with a prosthetic tail and became a beacon of inspiration for physically challenged people everywhere. So many of them came to the Clearwater Marine Hospital to see her that the place not only survived its own bout with possible extinction, but also expanded to a full-blown aquarium to accommodate all the new interest. People who made this film thought it was a one-and-done, with no plans for a sequel. But when they realized that the story about the subsequent acquisition of a very young dolphin named Hope was just as interesting and actually intersected with Winter’s story, Dolphin Tale 2 was born.
The same cast returns, with singer Harry Connick, Jr. playing Dr. Clay Haskett, the amiable head of Clearwater Marine Hospital. Kris Kristofferson is his retired father who lives in a houseboat next to the hospital, while Morgan Freeman reprises his role as prosthetics expert Dr. Cameron McCarthy, and Ashley Judd returns as the mother of Sawyer, a young boy who formed a bond with Winter in the first film.
In the sequel, the boy and Dr. Haskett’s daughter, Hazel, have risen to positions of importance at the aquarium, and the three-year gap between the 2011 original and this film is especially evident when you look at the young actors. Nathan Gamble (Marley & Me) was 13 when Dolphin Tale was released, and his co-star Cozi Zuehlsdorff was younger still. Now they’re more poised and self-assured teens, and if the rule of thumb holds true for young actors—that they tend to appeal to an audience younger, not older than they are—it only means that the audience for Dolphin Tale 2 has grown right along with them. More