Refreshing spirit – I don’t know about you but I am glad summer is over and fall has arrived. And it’s not because my kids are now back in school and my nights are full of homework again. No, I am glad fall is here because of how bad movies have been over the course of the past three months. The numbers won’t show it, but there wasn’t much to talk about in what is easily a forgettable summer of movies as we finally turn the calendar. And what better way to do that then with “Dolphin Tale 2,” a film that will lift your hearts and mind to a place you can be proud of.
What’s it about? For the many that didn’t see the first one to this now series, I encourage you to go back and watch it before you sit down for this one. While it won’t change much, it will give you some context to where we are now; plus you can see how much the main two kids have grown up in the past three years. It all starts with Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), who after saving Winter a few years ago is now a integral part of the staff at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Holding classes for new volunteers, Sawyer enjoys teaching and even gets offered an elite scholarship by Boston University to attend the SEA program to study marine mammals for three months. Only problem is, Sawyer would have to leave Winter for a while, which after the death of her fellow CMA companion Panama is quite the issue. Not eating and refusing to wear her prosthetic tail, Winter has become unresponsive and begins to deteriorate which according to tests is due to stress. In isolation now, Dr. Clay is issued an 30-day ultimatum that if he doesn’t pair Winter up with another dolphin, she will have to be moved to a different aquarium in Texas. It was then this story started to turn its frown upside down as shortly after that, Dr, Clay got a call that a juvenile dolphin was found and was being rushed to CMA. Could this be the “hope” they were looking for? I guess you will have to watch to find out.
Who was in it? Believe it or not, virtually all the cast from the first one is back for this one. Outside of Marvel movies, that never happens which is why I give the producers and writer/director Charles Martin Smith a lot of credit. Sure, “Dolphin Tale” was an unexpected hit that earned nearly $100 million, but to expect anything like that a second time is asking a lot. That’s why it probably so crucial to have the same cast back to help sell a film that a majority of moviegoers probably wouldn’t go see. People just don’t care about movies like this, but kids do which is why it’s still important to lift them up when it’s warranted. And thanks to savvy veterans like Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr., Kris Krsitofferson and Morgan Freeman, this is one is. But, not necessarily for what they did, as this film would have never worked without the talents of one Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff. These two truly make this film watchable as you get to experience all the ups and downs with their young admiring eyes. It’s refreshing and neat to see, especially when the last time we saw them, they were three to four years younger.
Smith-ism’s– I guarantee most people reading this have never heard of Charles Martin Smith. Had I not seen this film or its predecessor I wouldn’t either, as the only thing noteworthy about him is the fact his name is made up of three last names. Sorry, I had to say it, but really despite being in Hollywood for nearly 45 years, he hasn’t done much else. Yeah, he was in “American Graffiti” and “The Untouchables,” but who wasn’t. So, this is his claim to fame in many ways, which isn’t all that bad when you figure the kind of attention its bringing toward marine animals, specifically dolphins. I mean, stories like what you find with Winter should be told so people appreciate what place’s like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium do every day. “Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release” is the motto the CMA lived by and Smith made sure you saw that with each high and low within this film that will hold your emotions hostage from start to finish.
Bottom Line – I don’t know how many people will actually give “Dolphin Tale 2” a chance, but if they do they will not be disappointed. Yeah, it’s not going to lead the box office anytime soon, but who cares when the story is as genuine as this. That is something you can’t put a price on and why it’s the perfect film for the entire family to enjoy.
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