Wednesday, September 24, 2014

dolphin tale 2

The kid loved the first movie, which was sweet and cute, and its sequel was just about as cute and as sweet, so i didn't object when she suggested we check it out last weekend. The main cast is back, and continuing the mostly true story of Winter, an injured dolphin rescued by a young boy named Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) and Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.) of the Clearwater Marine Hospital. In the first film a prosthetic tail was designed by Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) to help the endangered mammal. It's a testament to its straightforward family fare aims that the movie just added the number "2" to the title and didn't try to add a second tag line, like Dolphin Tale 2, The Return, or some other such nonsense.

When "2" opens, Sawyer is now an integral part of the Aquarium staff, and Winter has lost her only female dolphin friend, the elderly Panama. Most of the film deals with the conflict of the aquarium needing to find a new friend for Winter or risk losing her, and whether Sawyer will take advantage of a educational opportunity that will take him away from his family and Winter (for a whole three months).

Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) and Winter go for a swim

The old-fashioned film has the feeling of the sort of nature adventures that used to show up on The Wide World of Disney, and that is actually a good thing.  It's engaging for the kiddies. It is lso fun for the adults who may have been dragged along with their kids to the movies to see Ashley Judd, who plays Sawyer's mom, hanging out with Morgan Freeman and looking like they are having a good time, and not in danger of having to track down a serial killer like in their previous team-ups, Kiss the Girls (1997) and High Crimes (2002).

There was a recent (and typically snarky) article on Gawker condemning Florida, and specifically, the uber-rich who choose to live on its shores, which are (supposedly) all doomed to sink in the sea. Florida does spend a lot of money rebuiding its beaches, as well as have its fair share of part-time residents, and many of them are affluent, but there are plenty of year-rounders, too. A film like Dolphin Tale 2 not only highlights coastal year-round living, which is far from jet-setting, but another, big reason that people choose to live in Florida, and near its miles and miles of coastline — its magnificent wildlife. There are many places in the world where it is possible to live in harmony with nature, but the proximity of the ocean and the ever-present flora and fauna certainly make that goal a daily occurrence in the Sunshine State.

Director Charles Martin Smith (who also directed the first film) keeps his camera focused on the kids and the marine animals, including an intrepid sea turtle named Mavis; and he also shows up in a small part as a USDA agent. While some of the plot elements of Dolphin Tale 2 may seem at first a little forced, news footage at the end of the film shows that Winter's need for a dolphin companion, and all of the animal characters in the film were actually based on real animals and events. Especially touching is the footage of people, particularly children, who have lost a limb and make a journey to see Winter. The dolphin continues to be an inspiration to many. With positive reviews and audience impact, unsurprisingly there is already a third film rumored to be in the works. Keep up the good work, Winter and friends.


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