Rambling Review: Dolphin Tale

Things looking a bit different? Yeah, you could say that. You see I am having a bit of an event on the site for the next few weeks. You can read about it here. Otherwise, no worries, this is not permanent. Just a bit of fun. Hope you enjoy.

Recently, the movie Dolphin Tale came out to critical acclaim, getting  86% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.5 out of 10 on Metacritic,  along with a very similar score of 6.4 on Imdb.

Based on the true story of Winter, a dolphin that lost its tail and receives a prosthetic one to survive.

Well, for a movie that is based on a true story, it actually has a large number of false facts, with things added, mainly, to increase dramatic tension. I can actually back this up slightly as during a visit to Florida I was fortunate enough to actually see Winter in real life, and I will admit to choking up when I say her with the chunk of her tail missing. The movie did not stir me at all in the emotional department, but actually seeing one of the most beautiful animals on earth ripped apart was honestly heart breaking.

Well enough of the mushy stuff, I will get to what you want to know, what is true and what is a lie.

First off the obvious stuff. Of course the people in the movies are actors and thus are just pretending, though the names are, from what I can tell, accurate. Also some of the boats and even the building itself are props, as the building shown is not even close to how the real thing looks. Though the inside were actually correct and filmed at the real hospital.

I can understand why they did this, as the real one could not be covered in storm debris, and the real building is also not aesthetically pleasing.

But there is more, less obvious stuff.

The place where they found Winter is completely different. They rescued her in a place called Mosquito Lagoon, miles away from the beach. Also, there were no kids involved with the affair, I understand that it would make the movie more relatable. Also, they worked as a great way to get out exposition. Despite that, I am not exactly happy with that choice, as I think the story could stand on its own merits, but I digress.

Another big change is that it took only a couple of weeks to figure out the substance for Winter’s tail and building it, when actually, it took a full year to create the device. Which does lead me to wonder how much of a medical danger Winter was in, by not having a tail.  Was it just stated to make it more dramatic?

On the subject of drama, the movie makers actually did a lot to ramp it up, which I suppose made it more intense. One of the things they changed was the financial trouble in the movie; the company was not in any trouble before or after getting Winter. That was totally made up, as was the storm that hit them.

Now, lets round out the false facts in the movie. Winter was actually caught in December, which really makes you feel worse for her, as it must have been cold even in Florida.

Also the tail itself, it really did fall off, but not from infection. It fell off because of blood loss, naturally, no surgery required.

Personally though, I really only had a few problem with the movie. One of which kinda killed the experience, the music.

Out of all of it I only enjoyed the Jason Mraz part, because it matched the cheery/hopeful tone of them working on the tail.


There was a scene towards the end where he is swimming with Winter and I wanted to watch the beautiful scene, but the music was so loud and not matching the mood, that I had to fast forward through it.

There were also scenes that just did not need background noise; I will give them credit though, some of their scenes were great, simply because they did not add background noise to happy scenes. Which let the audience actually be happy on their own terms, instead of just being happy in response to the music telling them to.

Another complaint is how easy it was to predict what was going to happen. The second I saw the kid messing around with a tool I knew he would have something to do with the tail.

I also guessed right about what would happen with the cousin. Because he said that he was just going to the army for a little while. From that alone, you could tell he was going to either die or be injured, so he could not swim.  No movie ever puts someone into the army off-screen without being killed or injured.

The stuff that I did like was mostly character based.

Morgan Freeman, of course, steals the show no matter what he is in. Lending a bit of class to the movie.

Also, the child actors were surprisingly good for this kind of movie, though at times the girl was a little too “whimsical”.

The relationship between the characters was also good, if a little stereotypical and, I honestly was happy that the two kids parents did not end up together, despite so many planted chances for them to do just that.

So all in all a good story that does deserve to exist (unlike the two Transformers sequels) and does its job as a kid’s movie with some real depth and conflict. In a world where kid’s movies are fart jokes, pratfalls and recycled concepts, this is a refreshing story of hope and fighting the odds.

Personal score: 6 out of 10

Worth Owning: Only if you have kids

Recommended audience: All ages

Multiple Viewings: Yes, but only once or twice.


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