Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dolphin Tale (2011) [PG] ****

This is a heart-warming story of a boy and a dolphin. Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) lives in Tampa, Florida with his single mother (played by Ashley Judd). One summer day he finds an injured dolphin on the beach, tangled in a crab trap line. After the dolphin is moved to the local marine rescue center, resident veterinarian Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr.) must amputate her tail in order to save the dolphin's life. Clay's daughter Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) names the dolphin Winter, and when Sawyer comes to visit Winter and forms a special bond with the dolphin, he become part of Winter's rehabilitation team, and bonds with Hazel as well.

However, after Clay discovers that Winter's side-to-side swimming motion risks spinal injury which could kill the dolphin, and after Sawyer meets Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) while visiting his cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell) at the local Veterans Administration hospital, the idea to fit Winter with a prosthetic tail is born.

This is a PG-rated family film, so the mood is consistently upbeat, and there's even a bothersome pelican to provide comic relief. While the concept is good, the story arc is predictable, the dialogue is trite and uninspired and the direction by Charles Martin Smith is slow and sloppy. There are too many adult stars for what is a simple children's story. Ashley Judd is underutilized and it is painful to watch Kris Kristofferson, who is way past his prime as an actor, playing Hazel's grandfather. This film will be best appreciated by younger children who are fascinated by dolphins. 

Blogger's rating: *** out of 5 stars.]

Labels: drama, family
Internet Movie Database 
Metacritic 64/100 
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=65, viewers=80) 
Clearwater Marine Aquarium – Official Home of Winter

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