Dolphin Tale appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. No issues emerged in this satisfying presentation.
Sharpness worked well. Virtually no softness appeared, as the movie was always crisp and accurately defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge haloes failed to appear. Source flaws also remained absent.
Colors looked good. The image took on a slightly golden tone much of the time, but the image stayed with a pretty natural impression. The hues seemed vivid and full. Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows showed nice delineation. Across the board, this was a strong image.
I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Tale was fine for this sort of film. The mix did a good job with the various aquatic settings and brought them to life in a convincing manner. In the forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. Beach and aquarium scenes used the elements in a positive way that allowed the back channels to add pep to the proceedings. A hurricane offered the most immersive segment, as it created a convincing storm.
Audio quality appeared good. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, without edginess or problems. Effects seemed appropriately clear and accurate, with good range and punch. The music worked quite well, as the score and songs were pretty peppy and warm. Nothing here really impressed, but it all sounded good enough for a “B“.
When we head to the set’s extras, we start with two animated shorts. We get “The Hutash Rainbow Bridge” (2:26) and “Ormie and the Cookie Jar” (3:59). “Bridge” is actually a deleted scene embellished by some cheap animation; it shows a segment in which Dr. Haskett tells a fable to Sawyer and Hazel. “Jar” has nothing whatsoever to do with Dolphin Tale and just offers a comedic piece in which a pig tries to get to a cookie jar. Both are decent but unexceptional.
Three featurettes follow. At Home With Winter goes for 13 minutes, 22 seconds and provides comments from producers Richard Ingber, Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, trainer Abby Stone, Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates, director Charles Martin Smith, executive producer Bob Engelman, production designer Michael Corenblith, and actors Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Austin Stowell, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Austin Highsmith, and Kris Kristofferson. “Home” looks at characters and story, using the real Winter in the film, sets, and shooting on location, and other notes.
The featurette is pretty perky and glossy, especially during its opening moments. However, it eventually digs into some useful material. It never turns into anything packed with data, but it offers a decent look at a few aspects of the production.
Spotlight on a Scene runs seven minutes, seven seconds and gives us info from Smith, Kosove, Ingber, Johnson, visual effects supervisor Robert Monroe, animation supervisor David Bass, effects supervisor Warren Lawty, and CG supervisor Terry Bradley. The program examines the movie’s underwater opening and aspects of its creation. It’s meatier than the first featurette and gives us a solid glimpse of the topic.
Finally, Winter’s Inspiration fills 18 minutes, eight seconds with notes from Yates, Stone, Johnson, Ingber, Smith, Connick, Kosove, Highsmith, Freeman, Judd, writer Noam Dromi, amputees Damon Zigler, Andrew Hall and Maja Kazazic, and Hanger Prosthetics’ Kevin Carroll and Dan Strzempka. The show examines the real story of Winter and lets us know the facts behind the movie’s fiction. It’s great to learn more about this subject, and “Inspiration” covers the basics well, even if its last few minutes tend toward promotional glop.
A Gag Reel comes next. It gives us a two-minute, 49-second compilation that comes with the usual silliness and laughing. Nothing particularly interesting materializes.
One Deleted Scene arrives as well. “Winter Meets Panama” goes for two minutes, 21 seconds and shows Winter’s first encounter with another of the aquarium’s dolphins. It’s not a bad scene but I don’t think it would’ve added anything to the final film.
The disc opens with an ad for Joyful Noise. No trailer for Tale pops up here.
A second platter provides both a digital copy of Tale for use on computers or digital portable gadgets as well as a DVD copy of the film. This delivers a barebones package, so don’t expect any extras.
Films under the banner of “inspirational family fare” tend to inspire more nauseated gags than contented sighs, but Dolphin Tale usually stays on the positive side of the ledger. Despite some sags and missteps, the movie delivers a warm, enjoyable experience. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals, good audio and average supplements. If you’re looking for a nice family film, this one’s worth your time.