When I wrote my review of the first Dolphin Tale movie (which you can read here), I thought it was utter crap – but after watching it with my oldest daughter, I realized that it’s the type of family movie that just might strike up a welcome curiosity in the growing minds of children. For that, it’s certainly better than how I originally labeled it.
Dolphin Tale 2 picks up a few years after the events in the first movie. Thanks to Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) and his amputee dolphin, Winter, the Clearwater Marine Hospital is now a full-fledged attraction. People come from afar to see the rehabilitating animals. But the success and stasis is going to change when Winter’s 40-year-old tank-make Panama dies of old age. You see, USDA regulations require that Winter be paired with another female dolphin. In this We Bought A Zoo-ish storyline, Sawyer and the rest of the Clearwater team – including Harry Connick Jr. – have to find a way to keep their friend (and main attraction) at Clearwater. The goal is to find a new female dolphin, or they’ll have to give Winter up to another marine animal hospital.
Just like the first movie, the actual story of Winter in Dolphin Tale 2 is based on real events – but the story at hand isn’t enough to make up a feature film. Two sub-plots regarding new injured animals are shoehorned into Dolphin Tale 2, both of which are also based on true stories. During the closing credits, we’re shown real footage about these two animals, so stick around after the movie ends.
Also like the first movie, there’s a lot of human fluff added to Dolphin Tale 2. Something happens in Sawyer’s personal life that not only complicates his aspect of the story, but makes way for Ashley Judd and Austin Stowell to return to the sequel. Morgan Freeman and Kris Kristofferson also return for a few scenes, and “Soul Surfer” Bethany Hamilton makes a cameo appearance.
If you’re looking for a feel-good light-weight family flick to take the kids to, look no further. Who knows, your kids just might turn out to be marine biologists after seeing the Dolphin Tale movie.
(Photo credit: Warner Bros.)