3 Stars – Wholesome
In this continuing tale that is based upon actual events, we experience a wonderful group of people who care not only for injured dolphins but for injured humans as well. We see the group that this story is based on in action in the footage that rolls during the ending credits as we see people of all ages with prosthetics coming to see Winter, the dolphin we met in the first film who has an artificial tail. In a day when we are confronted daily with the worst of humanity as our warring madness is reaching alarming levels, it is refreshing to see people who care for others.
Directed again by James Martin Smith, in Dolphin Tale 2, we have the same talented ensemble we met in the first film. A family film focused on the young teens in the lead roles, the central characters reprise their roles as Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) and Hazel Haskett (Cozi Zuehisdorff). As the handler of Winter, the injured dolphin who needed a custom prosthetic to replace his tail, Sawyer’s mother Lorraine is played again by Ashley Judd and the specialist who creates the tail is Dr. Cameron McCarthy played by Morgan Freeman. Additionally, Hazel’s father and director of the aquarium is Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr.) and her grandfather is once again played by Kris Kristofferson. However, new to this film and making only a cameo appearance as herself is Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who survived a shark attack about whom the film Soul Surfer was made.
In this second chapter of the tale, Winter is distressed when her long-term companion dies. As a social mammal who needs at least one other dolphin with whom she can share her life, Winter goes into an angry depression. She even takes her frustration out on Sawyer and sets in motion a plot that is the central action of the film.
Without spoiling the storyline of the film, it is appropriate to note that the film has many moving themes: from young love to the fear of leaving home to generational compassion to ethical decisions, the beauty of the film is that every person is a genuine individual who cares about others as together they care for the injured dolphins. Although it is an emotional tale, the veteran ensemble cast does an excellent job of keeping the characters real and identifiable.
Dolphin Tale 2 is a moving and genuine film of real people caring for one another and our world. That is an uplifting message in our hurting world.
Discussion for those who have seen this film:
- The footage showing the actual dolphins as well as the rescues, healing and release of other injured aquatic creatures is moving. Did the fact that this was based on actual events make it more meaningful for you? Why do you answer as you do?
- The use of the actual aquarium and rescue equipment brought realism to the film. In the credits, viewers are invited to www.seewinter.com at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Do you think this film showing marine animal rescues increases public awareness and support of the aquarium? Why or why not?
- Do you agree with the choice that Sawyer makes at the end of the film? Why do you answer as you do?