I cannot imagine how even the coldest of hearts can stay frozen when those set of eyes look to you for love and guidance. One of the purest things on Earth is the unconditional eyes of a baby or pet staring up at you. When I started out in college my courses were for veterinary science. I wound up looking into the eyes of a variety of animals. There was the horse that had a mischievous glint in his eye, who would toss up strands of hay every time I entered her stall. One of my professors would bring in one of his dogs that always found a comfortable spot by my feet whenever she wanted to take a nap. No matter what type of animal I encountered, I was always fascinated with their eyes; imagining how they see the world around us. From my limited observations I narrowed down the different looks in their eyes to the following: fondness, food, fear, fun and sadness. One of the hardest things for me was looking into the sad eyes of an animal; without knowing the reason why I always felt helpless. EYES played an important part in this dramatic sequel. Winter, the dolphin with the prosthetic tail, had been living a full life at the Clearwater Marine Hospital until her companion passed away. It was of paramount importance that Dr. Clay Haskett, played by Harry Connick Jr (New in Town, P.S. I Love You) and his team find a new companion for the dolphin if she was going to continue to survive at the hospital. This family film was pretty much as wholesome as a movie could be. There was nothing surprising for me as the story was straight forward and quite predictable. I do not mean to say this was a poor film; it was just a simple story inspired by true events. The cast that included Ashley Judd (Divergent, Kiss the Girls) as Lorraine Nelson, Morgan Freeman (Lucy, Now You See Me) as Dr. Cameron McCarthy and Nathan Gamble (The Mist, Marley & Me) as Sawyer were all back for this continuation of Winter’s tale. At times the script veered into hokey territory for my tastes; however, I do not think young children would care or even notice. The acting was okay; as I said earlier, there really is nothing negative to say about this film. For the most part it was innocuous light fare. If nothing else I hope people would walk away from this movie with a deeper respect and understanding towards the animals who live among us.
2 1/4 stars
After recently watching and reviewing The Cove, I had reservations about seeing this movie. Could I write an unbiased review while I still had disturbing images of helpless dolphins swimming in my brain? With some trepidation, I slipped the DVD into the player and viewed this film that was inspired by a true story. Sawyer Nelson, played by Nathan Gamble (The Dark Knight, Marley & Me), was riding his bicycle by the beach when a man was calling for help. Going up to him Sawyer saw why the call for help; there was a beached dolphin with its tail stuck in a crab trap. Trying to help the poor animal, Sawyer felt a special bond to it. When Dr. Clay Haskett, played by Harry Connick Jr. (New in Town, P.S. I Love You), arrived from the marine animal hospital; it took a group effort to secure the dolphin and transport it back for some needed care. With Sawyer checking in on the animal, a transformation emerged that changed the life of the young boy. I found myself drawn into the story, understanding the reasons why the writers made it schmaltzy. The goal was to pull at the viewers’ heart strings. For me it was too forced and manipulative. Besides being predictable, I felt the movie was way over the top in being cute and heartfelt. All it needed was a swelling of violin music. With that being said, I still shed a couple of tears in the appropriate places. My heart is built to go out to the disadvantaged.
2 1/2 stars — DVD
The idea that Flipper could have been the cause for dolphins’ horrific plight today breaks my heart. Remembering a vacation to Sea World with my niece and nephew as I watched this disturbing documentary, I now could never go to a dolphin show again. This Oscar and Sundance winning film played more like a spy thriller. Activist Richard (Ric) O’Barry was the individual who captured and trained the dolphins who played Flipper on the old television series. From that initial introduction; people began to fall in love with these beautiful creatures, spawning the huge industry of dolphin and whale shows around the world. When Ric witnessed what he believed to be a dolphin’s suicide on the show, he changed his beliefs and became the activist and spokesman for dolphins. What is considered the dolphin capital of the world, Ric and his team traveled to Taiji, Japan; hoping to film what really took place in this town. Not only was there the issue of the dolphins’ predicament, there was the environmental issue that was being concealed. With high tech equipment and highly specialized trained individuals, their plan truly played out like a military operation; it was thrilling and exciting for me. Despite the couple of brutal and barbaric scenes filmed, this incredible documentary must be seen. If for nothing else, to become aware how corrupt and vile humans can be towards earth’s animals…and people.
4 stars — DVD