Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dolphin Tale Review

Tim here from the 3D Film Festival (9/22-9/25) where the Opening Night started with a screening of Dolphin Tale.What a touching and heartfelt movie. I have to recommend that you go to see this movie this weekend because it’s a great family film for everyone. The 3Dwas very well done and was a perfect compliment to the drama.

First let me cover the story, which was a solid and strong one. Inspired by true events the screenwriters took some liberties in order to make the film more open to the audience. They were successful by making Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) the entry point and perspective from which the story is told. He had fantastic character development and Nathan performed in the role very well for a kid of his age. In order to raise the stakes the screenwriters added certain elements, and as well comical relief in the form of a pelican named Rufus. All these were hugely successful.

When it comes to the performances throughout the movie they were all solid, with Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, and Kris Kristofferson rounding out the veteran adult cast members. The two kids, Gamble and Cozi Zuehisdorff (Hazel), were matched perfectly against each other and managed to carry the movie well. And then there’s Winter the dolphin, who played herself in the movie. There’s an old saying in Hollywood that working with children and animals make for difficult filming environments, and this movie had both to great effect. As I stated above I think each character was given ample amount of character development, including Winter, and made it so that the audience grows with the characters.

The suspension of disbelief wasn’t really a problem considering the fact that it was based on a true story, but I did have trouble with a few things done by the children. I think that one character says it best when they state, “Just don’t let anyone know that this was all put together by a bunch of 11 year olds.” I couldn’t agree more with that level of disbelief because it is a complete fabrication by the screenwriters, however it serves the greater story and draws the child audience members towards activity. That’s a very positive message that I’m glad that the movie portrays.

Charles Martin Smith (AirBud) is a great director, and because he’s an actor’s director he worked fantastically with the kids. He knew all the right places to evoke emotion from his audience and I think that with this film he reminded everyone that he makes great family movies. He employed great use of the stereoscopic technology,which brings me to…

The 3D in the film was on the safe side in the right way. I felt that the depth grew as each character’s life was impacted by their meeting with Winter, and that was a great use of the technology. Also all the underwater shots were fantastic in stereo, as has been proved by Cameron previously with his documentaries. And as I said at the start of the review I believe that it was the close intimate shots that were greatly enhanced by 3D. This is one of the movies that we have been looking for to prove just how effective 3D works in those dramatic scenes. There were issues however because of the reflections off water and at times the white levels being so high that it caused a few peaking problems. (Editor's note: newer productions will likely leave reflections of light to a post 3D conversion process rather than use native 3D cameras). Other than those few issues, which will be solved as the technology continues to evolve, the 3D was a great addition to this movie.

I have to suggest that you go out and see this movie. Either with your family or friends, this is a feel good movie that works as a wonderful emotional ride. I would definitely see this movie again in theaters and in 3D.

Now there’s more that you can do beyond seeing this movie. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium that the movie is based on is looking to expand their facilities and need money in order to do so. As well they need to give care to countless animals that have been injured and need recuperation. So please visit to learn more about the amazing dolphin that this movie is about and donate to their cause.

To learn more about the movie visit

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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