This generation may have finally found it’s sea legs with Dolphin Tale.
I grew up in the 90s, which meant I had my fair share of family films revolving around animals. One of the most iconic still to this day is the tale of one killer whale called Free Willy. Now as the years have gone by and I’ve aged quite a bit, I’ve looked around and not been able to find a film that had that same real warm fuzzy feeling centered around an aquatic animal. But there’s hope yet with Dolphin Tale.
Dolphin Tale, tells the true story of a dolphin named Winter, who by an accident had to have her tail removed to prevent infection. Most of the time when a dolphin loses that vital part of their body they tend to last just a few weeks and then die, but this was not the case for Winter. Defying all odds she discovers an alternate way to swim, very much so like a snake or shark would by whipping what was left of her lower body back and forth. But that’s not enough, her caretakers decide to build her a prosthetic limb in order to replicate having a tale again. However, the whole story is not just about Winter but also the boy who saves her. Sawyer Nelson, has a lack of compassion towards anything really significant in his life, except now he has Winter. Their beautiful friendship blossoms and faces some tough times but the great love they have for one another is apparent in this heart felt story.
Everyone plays their part wonderfully, from the boy who played Sawyer, to Morgan Freeman’s ever soothing atmospheric presence. Watching all the characters interact was a delight, as well as actually seeing the injured dolphin was a rare sight. Luckily they avoided covering her in all CG to make it a more goofy and therefore less heartfelt film. Which segways into the idea that a lot of children’s films have lost what made them great and that was the ability to make your child feel anything more than just a giggle or two at a loud fart joke.
In today’s children/family cinema it’s very rare to find something that doesn’t have toilet humor, low brow humor, or even just really basic and outlandish plot. But every once in awhile we find a gem, and this most certainly is it. Almost on par with Free Willy, Dolphin Tale will certainly delight all that go to see it. It has it’s moments of goofy humor, in the form of a pelican named Rufus, but also some extremely heart wrenching scenes with Sawyer and his cousin Kyle. The whole experience is magical and I guarantee cinema would be on the upswing if they focused more on films like this rather than the next Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.
Dolphin Tale comes to theaters September 23,2011 and I highly reccomend you go see this great film.
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