Dolphin Tale 2: Nice Sequel to the 2011 Original

dolphin_tale_2_posterDolphin Tale, the original boy and his dolphin story, was a hit with audiences and critics, back in 2011, earning nearly $100 million, which justified production on Dolphin Tale 2, the $36 million sequel.

Like the first film, Charles Martin Smith’s Dolphin Tale 2 is inspired by the real-life inhabitants of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA).

Dolphin Tale 2 is one of the first films geared at children to premiere since “Planes: Fire & Rescue” bowed in July, and one of only three major family pictures last summer; the others were “Maleficent” and “How to Your Dragon 2.”

The original cast, headed by Harry Connick Jr., and Winter, the remarkable dolphin outfitted with a groundbreaking prosthetic tail who put the CMA on the map, are back.

Smith also serves as a screenwriter in retelling the rescue and rehabilitation of injured marine animals, which are brought to the actual Gulf Coast of Florida facility.

Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) first bonded with the dolphin who had lost her tail after becoming ensnared in a crab trap, but the death of Panama, an elderly dolphin who was both companion and surrogate mother to Winter, has made the younger dolphin unfriendly.

CMA’s Dr. Clay Haskett (Connick, Jr.), abiding by USDA regulations, finds a female companion suitable for pairing with Winter or see the creature moved to another facility.

They first think of Mandy, a rescue found beached and sunburned, though keeping her at the aquarium with Winter would prevent her from going back to her habitat, which is against Haskett’s rescue/rehabilitate/release mission. They then chose a dolphin calf stray, even if there’s no guarantee that he will bond with the tail-less Winter.

Rendering an appealing performance, Connick, Jr. again proves that he is capable actor, deserving of more challenging roles than what he is given to do here.

The original cast members reprise their roles effectively and reliably: Cozi Zuehlsdorff as Haskett’s concerned daughter Hazel, Kris Kristofferson as her grandfather, Ashley Judd, as Sawyer’s mom, and Morgan Freeman as prosthetics whiz Dr. Cameron McCarthy.