Blu-ray Review Dolphin Tale 2

Bottlenose Blu-ray Review: Dolphin Tale 2

December 12, 2014Ben Mk


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A tale of two fishies...

It doesn't get much more family-friendly than Dolphin Tale 2. Director Charles Martin Smith's follow-up to his 2011 film, Dolphin Tale, reunites audiences with Winter, the bottlenose dolphin who won the hearts of moviegoers with her inspiring true story of survival. Overcoming incredible odds after losing her tail to some fishing lines, she was outfitted with a prosthetic one. Now, Winter and her rescuers from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium are back for a brand new adventure, and they're bringing a new friend or two along for the ride.

   

The Film Picking up three years after the first film, Dolphin Tale 2 finds the characters from that movie — 14-year-old Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble), his friend, 15-year-old Hazel Haskett (Cozi Zuehlsdorff), and her marine biologist father, Clay (Harry Connick, Jr.) — coming to the aid of yet another bottlenose dolphin in distress. This time, it's a beached female they nickname Mandy.

Not long after bringing Mandy back to the aquarium for rehabilitation, they begin to notice strange behavior in their other two female dolphins, Winter and Panama. And when Panama inexplicably dies, they're left scrambling to find a suitable companion for Winter. The obvious choice is Mandy, but with her health rapidly improving, Hazel and Sawyer are reminded of the CMA's mandate — rescue, rehab and release — putting them, especially Hazel, in a quandary. Do they push to keep Mandy at the aquarium solely for Winter's benefit, or do they release their newest resident back into the ocean as they're supposed to?

Meanwhile, Sawyer is facing a personal predicament of his own. Offered a coveted spot in the Sea Semester program for aspiring marine biologists, he must decide whether he can bring himself to go. Not doing so means potentially forgoing the opportunity of a lifetime, to sail the Caribbean aboard a tall ship, picking up valuable hands-on experience along the way. On the other hand, accepting may mean leaving Winter at a critical time when she needs him most.

Dolphin Tale 2 is a film about growing up and taking responsibility for one's own actions — as seen in the challenges faced by its young protagonists, Sawyer and Hazel — guided by the underlying principle that when one door closes, another one opens. On-screen, that translates into scenes where various adults, from Sawyer's mom, Lorraine (Ashley Judd), to the aquarium's doctor, Cameron (Morgan Freeman), bestow tidbits of wisdom onto the teenagers. Mixed with some harmless hijinks, in the form of a mischievous pelican named Rufus, as well as a cameo appearance by "soul surfer" Bethany Hamilton, the result is just entertaining enough to keep younger viewers engaged. However, the adults in the audience may find themselves wishing for a bit more substance.

Audio/Visual Fidelity Dolphin Tale 2 swims onto Blu-ray with an A/V presentation that's as crystal clear as the waters of a picturesque Florida beach on a sunny Summer afternoon. Cinematographer Daryn Okada's color palette is laden with strong primaries — most notably, blues — and it's all rendered with the utmost vibrancy. Details are unmistakably crisp, fleshtones are spot-on and contrast and black levels are thoroughly pleasing, with no hint of macroblocking, aliasing or other image defects in sight. Audio-wise, the disc's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack proves to be overkill for the film's simplistic soundstage, which relies heavily on dialogue, mixed with the dolphins' clicks and high-pitched whistles, squeaks and squeals, not to mention the ambient noise of lapping waves and seagulls. Nonetheless, it perfectly complements the video presentation.

Special Features Warner's Blu-ray release includes DVD and UltraViolet digital copies of the film, as well as 33 minutes of HD extras. Altogether, there are two 4-minute music videos (for Cozi Zuehlsdorff's "Brave Souls" and Gavin DeGraw "You Got Me"), a 7-minute Blooper Reel and five brief featurettes (running between 3 and 4 minutes in length). Dolphin Tale 2: Underwater Magic deals with the film's underwater cinematography; Look Who's Running the Show focuses on how the characters of Sawyer and Hazel have evolved from the first movie; Bethany Hamilton Meets Winter discusses the athlete's appearance in the film; Dolphin Tale 2: The Mission emphasizes the mission of the real-life Clearwater Marine Aquarium; and Dolphin Tale 2: The True Story touches on the true events that inspired the story of this sequel.


The Bottom Line All things considered, Dolphin Tale 2 isn't an example of family filmmaking at its finest, but it doesn't go to the opposite extreme either. Though it may not hook adult viewers, its mix of morals, aquatic fun and inspirational true story is sure to please the younger crowd. As for Warner's Blu-ray release, the audio and video presentation is quite impressive indeed, though the bonus features are rather inconsequential. All in all, Dolphin Tale 2 on Blu-ray makes for a breezy Sunday afternoon matinee with the kids. Just bear in mind: what you see is what you get.  Ben Mk

Disc Breakdown
The Film  —  
Audio/Visual Fidelity  —  
Special Features  —  








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