Surviving Winter
Dolphin Tale
Review by Ross Anthony

When you go to a dolphin show you can expect to get wet. When you go to this Dolphin Tale, your clothes will stay dry, but your eyes won’t. Yes, it certainly has its hokie moments; and not one, but two kind of cliché crusty wise old guys, and what we used to call an “after school special” feel. But this is still a beautiful film.

Anyway, isn’t it about time “unnecessary violence” was deemed more unforgivable than hokiness? Paul McCartney asked, “Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs, what’s wrong with that?” Yeah, Paul! Good questions. I’m gonna ask, “Why don’t more people want to fill the screens with silly endearing films about heart and hope and inner growth? What‘s wrong with that?”

Nathan Gamble, as the boy who befriends the dolphin, does an excellent job of grounding the production. Filmmakers handle folks (and fish) with disabilities in a refreshingly straightforward manner. And one more thing, don’t just get up and leave at the conclusion, because there’s a powerfully moving “B roll” reel of actual footage on the real life dolphin (also named Winter) and her real life visitors. It’s not to be missed. In fact, they could have extended that by 3 times. (Check out SeeWinter.com)

Btw1: Writers missed an opportunity as far as education is concerned. The summer school teacher character is made out to be a bit of a jerk. Which, is actually ultimately sort of fun. However, a huge opportunity was missed to show how “more practically” a child’s passion can be “mined” in the classroom. True, the film does show this on a home school level (in its most purist and natural way). Water the child’s curiosity and let him go -- he’ll learn on his own. Unfortunately, “mass schooling” doesn’t have the resources to water each child individually. They have a responsibility to “cover” core curriculums. Anyway, my point is that despite those constraints “Themed Teaching” can still be implemented in public schools. “Dolphin Tale” set up a perfect opportunity to show how it works, but lopped off the logistics part. For example, the teacher could have insisted Sawyer show up each morning to give a report of his experiences and answer student questions. Dr. Clay could have been required to “sign” for Sawyers hours. The teacher could have required essays on marine animals, presentations, explanations on the physics of the prosthetics … theories on the history of animal evolution from water to land. Echolocation is a gift to the creative math teacher. So much “school knowledge” could have been mined from this experience. And ultimately, showing the teacher on a field trip with the whole class there as an enriching educational experience would be good for the personal causes of such institutions. Okay, I’m done. (Seewinter.com/teachers is a step in the right direction.)

Btw2: If you’re not familiar with the music of Harry Connick Jr. (Dr. Clay), search him on Youtube. And here’s a fun trivia bit, Clay’s father was played by Kris Kristofferson who wrote the song “Bobby McGee” made famous by Janis Joplin.

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  • Dolphin Tale. Copyright © 2011.
  • Starring Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff. Directed by Charles Martin Smith. Written by Karen Janszen, Noam Dromi. Warner Bros.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Monday, 26-Sep-2011 21:59:05 PDT