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Title: Dolphin Tale 2

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:75

Winter is back for a second tug on your heart strings. Based off of a true story, “Dolphin Tale” is the dramatization of a young dolphin who gets rescued by the Clearwater Marine Hospital where she wasn’t expected to make it due to the incredible damage to her tail. There she finds not only the help she needs, but the love of a lonely young boy named Sawyer (Nathan Gamble). There the two form a bond that helps them both cope with their lives. Sawyer gains a good friend and in turn, Winter gets a new prosthetic tail thanks to the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman). The first “Dolphin Tale” was a sweet family film that really didn’t push the boundaries, but did quite well within the confines of that type of tale. “Dolphin Tale 2” follows the story a bit further and mimics what made the first movie so enjoyable a few years ago with great aplomb.

Winter is back, but this time she’s going through a bit of a depression. She’s lost her surrogate “mommy” dolphin and she’s lonely again. Even Sawyer and Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) can’t seem to cheer her up. She even acted out against Sawyer, causing him to damage his wrist in the accident. Now she’s being isolated and causing a stronger downward spiral. They HAVE another female dolphin that they can pair her with, but the moral dilemma is that she’s been rehabilitated and ready to be sent back into the wild. Dr Haskett can’t ethically keep a dolphin from her natural home unless permanently disabled like Winter. With the government breathing down his neck to take Winter, he has to take a leap of faith and hope that something else can be done.

Hope is exactly what comes too. In a twist of fate, days before the reclaiming of Winter by the government, a young injured dolphin makes its way to Clearwater Marine Hospital. Tentatively they decide to try and bond Winter with this newfound “Hope” in an effort to save both dolphins. At first the road is rocky. Hope recognizes the deformity in Winter’s tale and gets freaked out, causing the humans to fear that this might work, but with the help of Doctor McCarthy and some tender loving care, our favorite dolphin has a buddy once more, bringing balance to the force.

This stardom comes at a price, for while Hassan becomes greater than any of the chef’s before him in both his family and Mallory’s restaurant, there is “Dolphin Tale 2” and its predecessor follow a conventional storytelling method, which doesn’t bring a whole lot of “new” to the table. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing though, for it fits into a family oriented niche that does well with the material at hand. The other nice thing is that it’s based off of a true story and while there are dramatizations with Sawyer and the Dolphins, the actual events DID happen, both in “Dolphin Tale” and “Dolphin Tale 2”, and there is not a huge amount of changes to the tales besides the human interactions with each other. We even have Beth Hamilton herself be a minor character in the movie (Beth Hamilton being the famed surfer who had her arm bitten off by a shark in Hawaii, and was dramatized about in the movie “Soul Surfer”).

I found the tale to be inspirational at times, and definitely heartwarming. The characters know that this is a family film, but don’t try and amp up the cheese to epic proportions, but rather act rather naturally and let the dolphins do much of the actual storytelling and “awwwwwwww” moments. I have love/hate relationship with many of these animal movies, because many times the story is just littered with PETA style animal love and every human is an evil monster besides whoever is trying to save it. Here we have a group of loving and dedicated people who are trying hard to do what’s best for Winter, and we see just how many people volunteer their time and their support to make it happen. There’s no “enemy” here, but reality itself and the movie is much better for it in that regards.


Rated PG for some mild thematic elements

Video :4stars:
The 1.78:1 AVC encoded image is a strong transfer that will please fans everywhere. The movie is shot digitally and has a bit of a glossy “made for TV” type of look to it, which sometimes can be a bit distracting or feel “non filmic”, but it still has a lot of good going for it. The detail is solid, giving plenty of clarity and resolution of fine detail to be scene. It has a slightly soft and diffused look to it, and that obscures some of the detail and drops it down from a GREAT looking image, and sometimes the black levels suffer from that softness. However, those black levels are still very strong, and except for a few scenes with issues, it can handle all but the darkest moments of the film with ease.

Audio :4stars:
The 7.1 DTS-HD MA experience is surprisingly front loaded (especially with that many channels), but will give a very pleasing experience as well. The dialogue is front and center here, quite literally actually, as it is firmly rooted in the center channel and sounds excellent. No distortions, no balance quirks or other anomalies as every word is crystal clear and perfectly replicated. Surround channels are a bit lighter than expected, but we still have some solid usage of them with the dolphin’s splashing about in the water and chirping everywhere. The sounds of the ocean and ambient noises come through quite well, and the LFE adds some weight to the low end every once in a while. Really, the only flaw is that this is a very dialogue driven movie, leaving less for the rest of the channels.

Extras :2.5stars:

• Underwater Magic
• Look Who's Running the Show
• Bethany Hamilton Meets Winter
• The Mission
• True Story
• Music Video
• Blooper Reel

Overall: :4stars:

“Dolphin’s Tale 2” is a sweet little story that children and animal lovers alike will enjoy. It knows it’s a family movie and is right at home with that, not trying to be something more than what it is. The acting is solid, and toned down from the normal “family cheese” that’s injected into many of these types of films and it’s nice to see a true story that isn’t twisted so far from the original source material that its almost unrecognizable. If you like “Dolphin’s Tale” then you will enjoy this one as well, as they stay similar in tone and the same quality that the first one had. Audio and video are good and even some decent extras, so if you’re a fan it’s definitely worth it.

Additional Information:

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble
Directed By: Charles Martin Smith
Written By: Charles Martin Smith, Karen Janszen
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: PG
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Dolphin Tale 2 arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on December 9 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Buy Dolphin Tale 2 Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Rent It

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