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Dolphin Tale 2 (Blu-ray Review)

dolphin tale 2 whysoblu coverSo here we are again with another family film based on the true story of a dolphin named Winter.  For the record, “Another Dolphin Tale” or “A Tale of Two Dolphins” may have been better title ideas to work with, but Dolphin Tale 2 is largely more of the same, as far as this sort of sequel to this sort of film goes.  It is essentially harmless.  With “family friendly” certainly serving as the mantra, Dolphin Tale 2 has old-fashion drama that is fitting for all audiences who are happy to embrace the simplicity and enjoy the animal antics over the acting and other minor questionable elements at play.  Now the Blu-ray is available for anyone curious or excited about a sequel to Dolphin Tale.

Film:

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In the first film, a wounded bottlenose dolphin is rescued, but unfortunately loses her tale.  This leads to the creation of a prosthetic tale, which is used to save the life of the dolphin, Winter, who now resides at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Tampa, FL.  This film takes place a few years later and deals with what has happened to the various characters involved since, as well as Winter’s state, as she deals with needing a fellow dolphin to “pair” with.  Various amounts of playful animal-related comedy as well as mild-stakes drama ensue.

I have joked in the past about the nature of this film, which seemed to essentially amount to this being a film about a dolphin suffering from a lack of a love connection and having a climax that amounts to thousands of people gathering to watch two dolphins screw.  Now that is not exactly what this film is about, but it does emphasize how low the stakes are in this film.  Sure, there is some drama towards the beginning of the film, but there is nothing here that is really meant to keep audiences in much suspense; especially when one of the biggest sources of drama amounts to whether or not Nathan Gamble’s character chooses to join a SEA Semester program (free of charge).

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All of this being said, Dolphin Tale 2 also does not suffer from anything all that egregious.  The film paints in broad strokes, but it does not really pander or commit any real cinematic sins to really push it into the negative.  It is the kind of film designed to be acceptable for families, which is fine.  There is also the benefit of having veteran actors like Morgan Freeman and Kris Kristofferson around to add a level of credence that does not need much praise, but also tends to be taken for granted.  These are guys that surely know the value of their personas versus the quality of the material, but are still game anyway.

Writer/director Charles Martin Smith does a serviceable job with putting this film together.  Thanks to having a capable cast, the film is able to get past its movie-of-the-week style of writing and delivery, but again, this film is happier being mildly entertaining, rather than anything all that complex.  There does seem to be a heavier emphasis on CG animals to go along with the real thing, this time around, which is a little irritating, even given how little I care about the veracity of a film like this.  Regardless, there is enough here to keep animal-loving children happy enough.

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Dolphin Tale 2 does not go to any lengths to be the ultimate sequel to anything, but it is also far from horrible.  The film is serviceable and perfectly acceptable for the audience it is intended for.  There is more than a share of questionable moments for a person like me, but at the same time, it is easy enough to accept a film like this for what it is.  There really is not much more that I can say about this film, but for fans of Dolphin Tale, this film will likely be pleasing enough, as far as a continuation of this story goes.

Video:

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: This being a fancy Warner Bros. film, Dolphin Tale 2 looks great on Blu-ray, even with a lot of digital texturing layered on top. For the type of film it is, seeing so much sunshine and brightly lit scenes does not take away from the fact that there is plenty of detail to be found in this presentation.  The film is crisp and clean.

Depth: As opposed to the first film, which was presented in 3D, this time around everything is 2D, but there is plenty of depth to be found in the film’s use of underwater photography.

Black Levels: Black levels are inky and deep.

Color Reproduction: This is a bright film with lots of marine life and colors, which are serviced by the Blu-ray well.

Flesh Tones: The glossiness of the production tends to make things like facial textures standout a big more than they need to and not in the best of ways, but the vibrancy of this picture still makes this aspect work well enough.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing to be found.

 

Audio:

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Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Well, I may not have bene expecting a 7.1 digital surround track, but here we are and as a result, yes, plenty of overemphasis on sound with this Blu-ray.  All the channels get a big work out, as we hear a variety of audio elements to make for a near bombastic track, given that this is just a family film about dolphins.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE output is solid enough, given the nature of the water-based parts of the film, but nothing all that notable.

Surround Sound Presentation: Again, with a 7.1 surround track, there is a lot to get out of this on an auditory level, but for the most part, the channels function well enough, but are not really put to full use, given that this film does not really allow for it.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone will be heard loud and clear in this film.

 

Extras:

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It would have been nice to hear more about the true story concerning the plot of this sequel or get more substantial extras, maybe a commentary from the director, but as it stands, there are easy extras for a family to enjoy along with the film.

Features Include:

  • Underwater Magic (HD, 3:03) – Typical EPK stuff, which goes for most of the extras on this disc.
  • Look Who’s Running the Show (HD, 3:14) – A look at the younger actors ad how they have grown in the years since the first film.
  • Bethany Hamilton Meets Winter (HD, 3:07) – Champion surfer Bethany Hamilton has a cameo in the film and we get to see more of her in this brief featurette.
  • The Mission (HD, 4:21) – A look at Clearwater Marine Academy’s mission.
  • True Story (HD, 4:19) – A brief look at what inspired this story.
  • Music Videos (HD, 4:25 and 3:55) – Star Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Gavin DeGraw both have music videos for the film.
  • Blooper Reel (HD, 7:07) – A decent collection of bloopers with Harry Connick, Jr. doing a fine Morgan Freeman impression as well as sharing a few positive words towards the end.
  • Trailers
  • DVD Copy of the film
  • UltraViolet Copy of the film

Summary:

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“Harmless fun” is the best way to describe this film.  Dolphin Tale 2 is acceptable for the audience that wants to seek it out and that is just fine.  The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite good and while the extras are not all that substantial, they fit with the sort of easy to digest nature of a film like this.  Certainly fit for a family, Dolphin Tale 2 accomplishes its goal and is worth it for those that want just that.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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