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Charles Martin Smith
Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson , Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Austin Stowell
Writing Credits:
Charles Martin Smith

WINTER's amazing true story... now has HOPE.

The team of people who saved Winter's life reassemble in the wake of her surrogate mother's passing in order to find her a companion so she can remain at the Clearwater Marine Hospital.

Box Office:
$36 million.
Opening Weekend
$4,788,153 on 3,376 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 12/9/2014

• “Underwater Magic” Featurette
• “Look Who’s Running the Show” Featurette
• “Bethany Hamilton Meets Winter” Featurette
• “The Mission” Featurette
• “True Story” Featurette
• Music Videos
• Blooper Reel
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Dolphin Tale 2 [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 1, 2014)

Back in 2011, Dolphin Tale provided a surprisingly charming and endearing family drama. Three years later, most of those behind the earlier flick return for 2014’s Dolphin Tale 2.

In the first film, adolescent Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) came out of his shell when he bonded with a disabled dolphin named Winter. Sawyer also spearheaded an effort to recruit scientist Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) to create an artificial tail for Winter so she could swim again – an endeavor that succeeded.

A few years later, Sawyer works as a volunteer coordinator at the marine hospital and aquarium where Winter rehabilitated. She continues to prosper until Panama, an older dolphin who acted as a maternal figure, dies.

This creates a problem, as federal regulations require dolphins to live in pairs. The team at the aquarium needs to find a new friend for Winter within a short period or else she’ll be sent to a different location. We follow these threads as well as complications that ensue when Sawyer needs to decide if he wants to take advantage of an excellent educational opportunity or stay with the creatures he loves.

Going into the original film, I assumed it’d offer maudlin, drab family fare without much merit. To my surprise, it turned into a reasonably charming and heartwarming piece; it didn’t come without flaws, but it seemed substantially more enjoyable than I anticipated.

This led to higher expectations for Tale 2 - but only slightly higher, as a) I wasn’t that wild about the first movie, and b) I figured it seemed unlikely lightning would strike twice with this sort of film. I figured we lucked into a winning flick three years ago and we’d probably get a substantially less effective effort in 2014.

Does Tale 2 show a decline compared to the first movie? Yeah, though it has enough positives to ensure it doesn’t turn into a significant disappointment. While the sequel can’t quite recapture the earnest charm of its predecessor, it comes with various strengths that keep it likable.

The primary element that benefits the movie stems from its various non-humans, as they delight us. The dolphins continue to create likable, engaging “stars”, and we get surprisingly good comic relief from the pelican Rufus; that role should’ve become grating halfway through the first movie, but he remains amusingly goofy and endearing. Tale 2 spends enough time with its animals to occupy us.

In addition, we continue to find a strong cast of human actors. It’s impressive that virtually everyone from the first movie comes back here, so along with the return of director Charles Martin Smith, we find a solid sense of continuity. All involved appear comfortable in their parts and manage to deliver good personality for their fairly underwritten roles.

Though I think our ostensible human lead gets the shaft to a degree. Gamble’s natural performance in the first movie provided one of its strengths, but Tale 2 puts him more in the background. Aquarium leader Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr.) and his teen daughter Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) receive more attention, and that’s fine to a degree, as the movie explores their relationship in a decent manner.

Still, it’s a shame that Gamble gets so much less to do here. He brought a lot of heart and honesty to the prior movie so it surprises me that he often becomes part of the background in the sequel. It’s not a fatal flaw but it’s a drawback.

Another issue stems from the decreased reason for the movie to exist. Most sequels come across as contrived, and that becomes true for Tale 2. Like the original, it comes based on true events, but the narrative still feels like it stretches to create new drama. Again, it’s not a huge problem, but the story lacks the plot push of its predecessor and can spin its wheels at times.

Even with those concerns, Tale 2 offers reasonable entertainment. It avoids most of the genre’s maudlin tendencies and keeps us fairly charmed along the way.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Dolphin Tale 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While not as impressive as the stellar visuals found with for the first film, Tale 2 still came with solid picture quality.

Actually, the only minor decline in quality related to sharpness, which seemed a smidgen weaker for Tale 2. Though the majority of the flick showed nice delineation and clarity, I saw a handful of shots that appeared just a little soft. Even so, this was usually a well-defined presentation, and it suffered from no jaggies, moiré effects or edge haloes. Print flaws also remained absent.

Like the first film, colors tended toward a sea blue. Other hues popped up at times but aqua tints dominated, and the various tones seemed well-rendered. Blacks were dark and dense, while low-light shots gave us good clarity and smoothness. All in all, the image satisfied.

If you expect sonic fireworks from the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio, you’ll encounter disappointment, but the material suited the story. Much of the film emphasized general environmental information, with only occasional instances during which we found more active material.

Virtually all of those focused on aquatic scenes, as some of those opened up the soundscape in a reasonable manner. Nothing scintillating occurred, but the mix managed to create a reasonable feel for the various circumstances and settings.

Audio quality worked fine. Music was full and rich, and effects gave us clear, accurate material. Speech always seemed crisp and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns. Again, this wasn’t a dazzling mix, but it seemed more than acceptable for the story.

A smattering of extras appear, and we start with a featurette called Underwater Magic. In this three-minute, three-second piece, we hear from writer/director Charles Martin Smith, producer Broderick Johnson and Richard Ingber, director of photography Daryn Okada, underwater cinematographer Bob Talbot and actors Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Nathan Gamble. The piece examines aspects of the movie’s aquatic photography. Due to its brevity, we don’t learn a ton, but we get a few good notes.

Next comes the three-minute, 20-second Look Who’s Running the Show. It features Zuehlsdorff, Smith, Gamble, Johnson, producer Andrew A. Kosove and actors Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd. This one covers the main young characters and actors. It lacks substance and mainly tells us how great the kids are.

Bethany Hamilton Meets Winter fills three minutes, 18 seconds. It delivers info from Smith, Ingber, Johnson, Zuehlsdorff, Connick and surfer/author/guest actor Hamilton. Mostly this relates how awesome and inspirational Hamilton is, so expect virtually no real information from it.

With The Mission, we find a three-minute, 34-second reel with notes from Smith, Johnson, Ingber, Connick, Zuehlsdorff, Kosove, Judd, executive producer/Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates and actor Morgan Freeman. This one tells us about the work done at the Aquarium. Expect a glorified commercial for the CMA.

Finally, True Story occupies four minutes, one second with info from Smith, Kosove, Connick, Judd, Zuehlsdorff, Yates, Ingber, Johnson, Freeman and Gamble. We learn a little about the facts behind the sequel’s story. It comes with minor nuggets but not much of interest – and even repeats the same quote from Freeman found elsewhere!

Two music videos appear. We get “Brave Souls” from Cozi Zuehlsdorff and “You Got Me” from Gavin DeGraw. For “Souls”, Zuehlsdorff talks a little about her musical career, and we see some studio lip-synch footage. “You Got Me” mixes similar recording material with shots from the movie. Both songs and videos seem bland and forgettable.

A Blooper Reel takes up seven minutes, 22 seconds. It gives us mostly conventional goofs and giggles, but a few amusing moments arrive, usually thanks to Connick.

The disc opens with ads for Winter: The Dolphin That Can and Hillsong: Let Hope Rise. No trailer for Tale 2 shows up here.

A second platter provides a DVD copy of Tale 2. It includes the “True Story” featurette but lacks the other extras.

While not quite as good as its predecessor, Dolphin Tale 2 nonetheless offers pretty good family entertainment. It comes with a good cast, charming animals and a likable story. The Blu-ray provides positive picture and audio along with a minor set of supplements. Fans of the fiirst movie should continue to find value with its sequel.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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