2014 / Director. Charles Martin Smith.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
DOLPHIN TALE was more or less a re-hash of FREE WILLY and it was a good, solid family film based on a true story. DOLPHIN TALE 2 is to the first film what FREE WILLY 2 was to its predecessor... ie it is also a good, solid family film. Picking up a few years after the original movie, this second instalment continues the story of Winter, the dolphin with a prosthetic fin. Legally captive dolphins must be paired with a suitable companion and when Winter's mate dies the marine hospital is tasked with finding a replacement. It is a worthy story to follow up with and all the more credible because it is true. As with the first one, this film was made in collaboration with the real Clearwater Marine Hospital and its stories reflect their real life counterparts. Of course a lot of Hollywood fluff has been injected for good measure, however the overall narrative is grounded in truth. A post film video presentation during the credits (as with the first film) documents the actual story as filmed by the marine biologists and staff at the hospital. Their work is incredible and these DOLPHIN TALE movies are a testament to them... not to mention a great endorsement and publicity vehicle. All of the original cast return for this sequel and while Morgan Freeman and Kris Kristofferson's roles are no longer very relevant, their presence on screen is still nice. I am sure there are filmies out there who will tear these movies to shreds and I would argue that such criticisms are insignificant. What DOLPHIN TALE 2 boils down to is a good and wholesome film suitable for the whole family. Its story is lovely and its message is sincere. It doesn't endorse animal captivity and it offers kids an inside peek into the workings of a wildlife rescue operation. The Clearwater Marine Hospital recently suggested that a 3rd film is on its way and I guess with so many stories to tell, these films will keep coming. So long as they maintain a consistent quality and promotion of conservation then I can't see any harm in it.