Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dolphin Tale 2 Review

I've come a long way since I started this blog nearly three years ago. And if you want to compare the very beginning to now, then check out my review for Dolphin Tale right here. I published that review back in January of 2012, which was the end of the first month of this blog. Dolphin Tale was only my third movie review that I wrote here. I had written a handful more for a different blog, but this was the beginnings of this blog. Long story short with that review, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a fantastic, feel-good, family movie. However, when Dolphin Tale 2 was announced, I was immediately skeptical. Certain movies just don't lend themselves to sequels, especially not a based-on-a-true-story movie like Dolphin Tale. That said, I went into the movie hoping I would get all these warm fuzzies from this inspirational dolphin movie just like I did in the first one. Unfortunately my initial fears turned out to be justified. The world really didn't need a Dolphin Tale 2.

Think about all the best inspirational movies that have been based on a true story. Then think to yourself, would a sequel really work? And in most cases, the answer would probably be no. And that's why they aren't done that often. On the other hand, though, is there really ever a happily ever after in life? Does there come a point when you have overcome all the drama in your life and you find yourself living problem free? That's what I thought of when I was trying to talk myself into being excited for this movie. We've already told the story of Winter the dolphin. We've seen our main kid grow into someone who finds some meaning and purpose in life as he takes care of dolphins and other aquarium animals. But after that movie ended, the real life story continued and there was probably plenty of drama to overcome. That's also the case with a lot of these movies based off a true story. Things happen to these people after the story in the movie ends, and thus a sequel to a true story could work if that follow-up story is both movie-worthy and well executed. But sadly that's not the case here.

The biggest problem for me with Dolphin Tale 2 was that it seemed like they were trying to hard come up with an additional inspirational story that would last the whole two hours. Thus this seemed like a cash grab. The first movie was a big financial success. Why not try again? And to be honest, they had a decent idea. The movie was advertised as a story about Winter needing a new female companion or else they were going to lose him. Another dolphin that they name Hope is rescued and they hope that this will be the solution to the problem. Sounds good enough, right? Winter + Hope? And that aspect of the movie was decent, but I was surprised to learn that this wasn't just a Winter + Hope movie. In fact, that only took up a portion of the last half of the movie. This was a movie about Winter, Hope, Mandy and Panama the dolphins. It was also a movie about a sea turtle they rescue and an annoying pelican.

But mostly, if I'm being honest, this was a movie about Sawyer and Hazel, our two teenage protagonists. Sawyer is given this impressive offer to go off on a Sea Semester, fully paid. But he struggles with this because he doesn't want to leave Winter. Meanwhile, Hazel is the daughter of the owner and also works at the aquarium and we spend a lot of time with her relationship with her dad. And then we spend a lot of time with the friendship between Sawyer and Hazel, which almost leads you to believe this will turn into a teen romance movie. So really, they could've named this movie Teenager Tale, because that's what it was for most of it. And it was all fluff. Uninteresting, forced fluff that was just there because the actual story about the dolphins wasn't long enough to fill a whole movie.

Now I do have to give credit where credit is due. The cast in this movie is great as they bring back everyone from the first movie. Harry Connick Jr. is back as Dr. Clay Haskett, the owner of the aquarium. Ashley Judd is back as Sawyer's mother. Both of them do a fine job in this. Then we have Morgan Freeman back as the animal doctor. And let's be honest, Morgan Freeman could be in every movie and I wouldn't complain because he does a great job in every role he's given. And yes, sometimes it actually does feel that he shows up in every movie. This is the fourth movie I've seen him in this year, and I swear that happens every single year. But like I said, I'm not complaining. It's always good to see Morgan Freeman. In fact, he actually gives the best speech in the movie when he is sitting down talking to Sawyer. And finally, our two stars Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff also do a good job with what they were given. And I have to especially give it up for Cozi. As the end credits were rolling, I found myself enjoying the music that was playing, so I Shazamed it. Turns out the song I was listening to and enjoying was being sung by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, which was impressive. That girl has a bright future in front of her.

In the end, I went into the movie very skeptic about it's existence, but yet I hoped that it was leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside just like the first one did. And while the movie did have some touching moments and good performances by the whole cast, the story in this one was filled with a lot of unnecessary fluff that just made the movie fall flat. I wasn't inspired or touched at all. I was just bored. That said, if you are aching for a family-friendly movie due to the extreme lack of them for the last several months, this isn't a bad option. And if you are a dolphin lover and want to watch dolphins swim around, there will definitely be parts of this movie that you will love. But as it turns out, my personal opinion of the movie is exactly what I feared it would be. The world didn't need a Dolphin Tale 2. My grade for it is a 6.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment