Inspirational! Dolphin Tale 2- movie review and food for thought.

When I take the children to see a new film I don't generally expect to come away with my mind working overtime on how the storyline impacts my day to day life. I definitely didn't expect this with a gentle family movie about dolphins!

We were invited to see a sneak preview of Dolphin Tale 2 at the weekend - the story follows on from the lovely based-in-fact Dolphin Tale (2011) where an injured dolphin, Winter, is rescued and fitted with a groundbreaking prosthetic tail.

The film from Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment reunites the entire main cast, led by Harry Connick, Jr. (be still my beating heart!) , Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Austin Stowell, and, of course, the remarkable dolphin Winter as herself.  Champion surfer Bethany Hamilton, who  lost an arm in a shark attack but returned to surfing, appears as herself in the film.  Martin Smith, who directed “Dolphin Tale,” wrote the sequel and is again at the helm. 

So - it has been several years since young Sawyer Nelson (Gamble) and the dedicated team at the (real life) non-profit rescue and rehab centre Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett (Connick, Jr.), rescued Winter.  With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Freeman), who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life.

Yet their fight is not over.  Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only poolmate she has ever known. 

However, the loss of Panama may have even greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.

Is here any hope for Winter? Well - you'll have to watch the film to find out. #hopeforwinter

Turtle-mad DS#3 

 My children aged 8-15 were gripped by the film, delighted by the appearance of a sea turtle (my 15 year old loves them and even once spent a night as a volunteer for a turtle protection charity on a Cypriot Beach watching over a nest. Sadly no turtles hatched the night he was there!)

My 6 year old was a little fidgety but managed to follow most of the story line and DH and I agreed that we enjoyed the film much more than we expected!

We were all moved by footage at the end of the film of the real workers and sea creatures at the Hospital interacting with people from tots to war veterans with prothsetic limbs.

But the biggest impact and inspiration for me came from a scene where the team try to introduce a dolphin into the same pool as Winter who is not wearing the prosthetic tail. The new dolphin is confused, frightened and finally aggressive. Using echo-sounding and sight the new dolphin calculates that because the shape and movement isn't right, because winter does not tick all the boxes of what it thinks a dolphin should look like it isn't a dolphin and therefore is possibly an enemy.

Winter, the Dolphin with no tail in Clearwater...
Winter, the Dolphin with no tail in Clearwater, Florida.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
And how many times do we do this with other humans? We look, we make a snap decision. They are wearing different clothes because of their culture, their peer fashion, their faith. They are missing limbs, have a "different" face or size. So we judge and reject. We treat them like enemies because we are scared of anything unusual.

I bought this up at my Christian house group and the people there agreed. We discussed how we see a Bhurka and not the person underneath. We cross the road to avoid young people in hoodies. We don't know what to say to the person with the birth mark or the scar.

The film inspired us to think again - to remember to look past initial appearances and try to really see the person before making a judgement. And unlike the dolphin who needed to "see" Winter in a prosthetic before accepting maybe it was a dolphin after all that we should accept people as they are without them having to conform to what we expect them to look like.

Deep? well yes but what a refreshing change to have a family film which can work on so many levels and actually challenges our life view. 

And how wonderful to know that you can actually go to Clearwater and meet the team, see Winter and support the amazing work they are doing for sea creatures and humans. Fingers crossed for a lottery win as its definitely on my top ten list of places I'd love to visit. In the meantime there are webcams on the website (allow for time difference otherwise like me you end up watching a dark pool!)

Dolphin Tale 2 is out in Great Britain on Friday October 3. 


Disclaimer: My family was invited to a free screening of Dolphin Tale 2 for the purposes of this review. Opinions remain honest and my own.