I know my movie reviews have been far and few between recently. That’s why I was so excited to see Dolphin Tale 2 last night. If you missed the original Dolphin Tale you won’t be able to appreciate the chaos Dr. Clay (Harry Connick Jr.), his daughter Hazel, and their co-workers have already confronted to this point. Not only did the fate of Winter hang in the balance throughout Dolphin Tale, but also the survival of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The marine hospital, that does all that they can to rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals that they can, was wallowing in debt with no salvation in sight. Winter would not be alive today if were not for the tireless work done by Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) who struggled twice to equip Winter with a prosthetic tail that the dolphin would accept before he succeeded with the third try.
Dolphin Tale 2 resumes where the original movie concluded, and everything appears sunny. Winter has become a sensational ambassador and the Clearwater Marine Hospital has expanded to an aquarium. Nathan and Hazel are older and restless to take on greater responsibilities. And while things don’t get as desperately out of whack as they did in the original, there are few genuinely suspenseful moments between humans and dolphins, during the movie.
Anybody who adored Dolphin Tale will like Dolphin Tale 2. Part of the winning formula was assembling the entire original cast again. Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., and Kris Kristofferson are back as the principal players, though some garner considerably less screen time than others. It’s really Morgan Freeman who had me laughing the most, delivering his dialogue with that matter of fact approach that brought out the most humor.
Naturally, the appealing adolescent leads, Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) and Hazel Haskett (Cozi Zuehlsdorff), have grown up. Meanwhile, a couple of new seafaring creatures have been added: Mandy the dolphin and Mavis the sea turtle. Of course, Rufus the rowdy pelican supplies most of the comic relief! He almost had me rolling on the floor in tears.
I recommend this inspirational tale for family movie night. Bring a tissue and be prepared to laugh in the midst of life lessons. And be sure to stay in your seat a few minutes at the end. Like the original, Dolphin Tale 2 wraps up with documentary footage about the new animal characters that joined Winter at CMA for the sequel. You don’t want to miss it.
If you want more of Winter, check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium website: www.seewinter.com