The sequel to 2012’s popular Dolphin Tale hits movie theaters on Sept. 12. MomSpeaker Jennifer Auer attended a sneak preview of Dolphin Tale 2, which picks up the story of the the mammals and marine team at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) several years after the events of the first film. Caution, this mom’s movie review contains spoilers.
When we were invited to an advanced screening of Dolphin Tale 2 I admit I had those sequel concerns some of you might have. We hadn’t seen the original Dolphin Tale, so I had concerns that my boys and I would be lost when the movie started.
However, it didn’t matter that we hadn’t seen the original. Within moments we were brought up to speed. We knew the love the characters had for dolphins Winter and Panama, and . . .
. . . we could feel their pain and grief when Panama passed away and their struggle with how best to help Winter. As the film moves along, there are stories among the stories. Young love begins to develop among teen friends (nothing inappropriate — there’s no kissing). A high school student has to make tough choices about an incredible opportunity while another learns to become independent. Animals and individuals work together to overcome adversity and disability. The CMA has to determine why it is really there. What is its mission?
As the stories unfolded, we were taken inside what these trainers, staff and rescuers face on a regular basis. How the connections they have with these animals are similar to the ones we have with our own family. I enjoyed how Dolphin Tale 2 was able to appeal to all three of my boys (ages 6, 8 and 10). We all had hope for Winter. We all chuckled at the antics of a pelican. My youngest enjoyed the playfulness of the animals. And my oldest could appreciate the inner conflict the teenage characters were struggling with. We all could take away from the movie that even in the darkest of hours, there is hope, and when there is a will there is a way.
Why we liked Dolphin Tale 2
- Both Dolphin Tale movies are based on true stories. At the end of Dolphin Tale 2 viewers could watch real footage that went into creating the movie.
- Bethany Hamilton — a professional surfer who lost a portion of her left arm in a shark attack, then came back to win a national title — is one of Dolphin Tale 2’s main characters. If she wasn’t an inspiration before, she is now. Watching her swim with the dolphins is awe-inspiring.
- What I found particularly moving was the footage of children with prosthetic limbs and their interactions with the dolphins. My eyes teared up to see the joy those children had and the freedom they must have felt swimming with the dolphins.
- The story lines were great and held the attention of us all. To see some of my favorite actors — Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Kris Kristofferson and Ashley Judd — play lead characters was a fabulous bonus. I also have no doubt we’ll be seeing more of Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, who both did an incredible job.
- It needs to be said that this is a great family drama that parents don’t have to be concerned about taking their kids to. There were no scary images; the fear we had was over what might happen to Winter and where he would live. There is a scene where it appears that two dolphins may fight, but it never gets to that point. No animals die or are harmed. There is no bad language. When there is tension and disagreement over the CMA’s future, the adults argue and it’s clear they don’t agree, but it is done in a way that is respectful and never made me feel uncomfortable. And yes, parents watching will recognize the beginning of teenage love in the looks and smiles between characters, but that is as far as it goes, as I mentioned earlier.
I’m glad I decided to bring the kids to see Dolphin Tale 2. I can’t think of any other movie better to end the summer.
Jennifer Auer is a South Jersey mom. This post is adapted from her blog, Jersey Family Fun.