Dolphin Tale looked like it's going to be another family kiddie show that I thought I was going to be bored with. Then the trailer came along with Morgan Freeman narrating and appearing in it. My interest for this movie was somewhat increased. When the trailer ended indicating that it was based on a true story and it actually features the actual dolphin who lost it's tail in this tale, I became even more interested in this movie.
Dolphin Tale is the remarkable tale of Winter, a dolphin who lost her tail when it gotten entangled with a fishing boat's crab trap. A young boy, Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) happened to be at the beach that Winter was washed up on. He tried to remove some of the crab trap ropes on her and stayed with her till the Clearwater Marine Aquarium rescue team arrive.
The boy and the injured dolphin immediately forms a strong bond but their friendship had to labored through a few obstacles. Aquarium vet (Harry Connick Jr) had to amputated Winter's tail to save the dolphin's life and Sawyer's mom (Ashley Judd) was upset that Sawyer been skipping his summer classes to take care of Winter. The aquarium was also having financial difficulties in covering it's operation and was facing a buyout from a business corporation. But the worst hurdle would be that Winter swimming without a tail was going to damage her spine and would eventually kill her.
To overcome the most difficult issue, Sawyer decided to seek the help of Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman), a specialist who works for the handicapped army veterans. Can they create a prosthetic limb for Winter in time to rescue her life?
The Perspective - Dolphin Tale Review
For most part of the movie, it runs like a predictable kids movie. It's not hard to figure out the ending or every situations that arises in this movie. There were plenty of cutesy moments, courtesy of the two kid actors (Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorf), an annoying pelican and of course, the dolphin Winter. What I didn't expect was the manner they used Winter's problem to heal the wounded souls of mankind.
After going through constant bombardment of how humans are destroying and using wildlife for their personal gain, it was a refreshing change to that the relationship between humans and wildlife could coexist in beneficiary ways. Dolphin Tale has a uplifting and inspiring message that reminds us that sometimes we can't make it on our own. Mankind that could do such horrible stuff to wildlife are also capable of so much beauty and love. There are so much we could learn and be inspired from the wildlife. The level of unexpected warmth in this movie caught me by surprise and even made me go teary up.
What I didn't like about the movie was rather trivial but I am going to list them. There's a romance angle that played out between the young Sawyer and Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorf) which I felt serve no purpose except to introduce the young audience into boy girl relationship. I felt there's no need to push romance into such a young crowd and it wasn't essential to the story.
I was also worried that the kids who loved this movie would start pestering their parents to bring them see a dolphin show and in Singapore, that would be Resort World Sentosa. But then again, watching dolphins in captivity might not be the best thing for dolphins. Just ask Ric O'Barry, the guy who helped made the movie Flipper and refer to the recent report on RWS treatment to dolphins. Winter's case is rather unique and personally, I still feel that the best way to get close to dolphin would be to visit them in their natural habitat.
Nevertheless, Dolphin Tale is an uplifting tale of how wildlife and human could coexist and benefit from working together. It might be formulaic but there's heart in this movie and a good way to teach the kids to start caring for nature. Dolphin Tale comes Highly Recommended - 4 Stars.