Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dolphin Tale (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2011)

Dolphin TaleJust wanted to take a moment out to say a few words about this film. I do not go to movie theaters much due to their costs ever rising. I usually wait for dvd anymore. This one we actually did go see on the big screen. My 5 yr old wanted to see it. I took her and my mother to go see it and we ALL loved it. It will make you laugh, and cheer and even get teary eyed. It is not super depressing like some animal films. Instead it shows hope, courage, faith and perseverance and how people can come together and make things happen through trials. Great cast, cute movie. Best part is it is based on a true story. so cool. We will be buying this one when it comes out for sure!! I highly recommend this movie to anyone, kids or no kids..

My husband and I took our first-grader to watch this beautiful, uplifting movie this past weekend and had the most wonderful time. When the movie ended, the audience broke out in spontaneous applause, that's how much this movie affected all of us. Dolphin Tale is the story of overcoming the odds, of love between family and love among friends, and of courage and resilience.

Set in Clearwater, Florida and inspired by a true story (yes, there is a real Winter the Dolphin!), the story centers on a young boy Sawyer (Nathan Gamble in a finely nuanced performance) who is portrayed as being despondent at the beginning of the movie he is sad that his cousin,Kyle (Austin Stowell) a champion swimmer is going away to serve the country as a soldier. Kyle is Sawyer's role model and mentor, and the closest thing he has to a 'dad' figure given his own father left the family when he was very young. Sawyer's mom, Lorraine (Ashely Judd) tries her best to cope and provide for Sawyer, but she can't seem to bring Sawyer out of his doldrums. Sawyer is also very unhappy that he has to attend summer school, but something happens to change the way Sawyer views life.

One day, Sawyer comes across a stranded, injured dolphin and the amazing journey begins...soon enough, Sawyer is volunteering at the Clearwater Marine Rescue facility, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.), and the young boy finally sees a reason to be enthusiastic about life. He befriends Clay's young daughter, Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) and forms a close bond with Winter the dolphin. Unfortunately, the marine facility is in financial trouble and faces the threat of being bought out by a developer. Added to this is the sad fact that Winter, having lost her tail, may eventually face paralysis. Morgan Freeman plays a doctor who designs prosthetics for injured war vets, and whose unwavering perseverance plays a prominent role in the movie.

There's something in this movie that captures the imagination and interest of both children and adults. The antics of the dolphin, and the children's interactions between themselves and the dolphin will keep young children entertained and older children engaged. The riveting storyline, and the tension and drama keep the adults engaged as well. This truly falls into the category of "family entertainment". We did not watch it in 3D, but loved the movie all the same. Another friend who did watch it in 3D enjoyed the extra effects, so we might go back and watch it again. I will certainly be purchasing the DVD when it is released and adding it to our home DVD library.

The messages in this movie are timely and evergreen of resilience, hope, love, overcoming the odds, and of course, conservation. You can learn more about the real Winter at seewinterdotcom.Enjoy!

Buy Dolphin Tale (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2011) Now

Dolphin Tale is, first and foremost, a great family movie. What I mean by that is that everyone kids and adults alike can enjoy it and never feel either bored or like they're being talked down to. A lot of craftsmanship went into the making of this movie and it shows, mainly in how seamlessly it flows and how well everything fits together.

The movie centers around the true story of Winter, a young bottlenose dolphin found on a beach in coastal Florida whose tail was injured and ended up having to be amputated. The humans taking care of Winter ultimately had to create a prosthetic tail in order for her to survive, and in the process she became an inspiration to many, from children who were born missing a limb to veterans who had lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Dolphin Tale, the plot begins with Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), a young boy who's been withdrawn ever since his father left the family five years earlier and who's having to deal with his older cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell), who's been like a brother to him, leaving to do a tour in Afghanistan. Which leaves Sawyer even more lonely and withdrawn, until one day he happens to come across a dolphin stranded on the beach. The dolphin is injured, its tail caught in a crab trap which has washed up along with it. Sawyer cuts the dolphin free of the trap, animal rescue is called and the local aquarium comes and takes the dolphin away for treatment.

Curious, Sawyer later goes to the aquarium to check on the dolphin, sneaking into the Employees Only area where he runs into Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff), the young daughter of the aquarium's resident vet, Dr. Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr). Hazel, who is as extroverted and chatty as Sawyer is withdrawn and shy, takes him out to the tank where the dolphin now named Winter is being treated. Winter, who had been lethargic and unresponsive, seems to perk up at the sound of Sawyer's voice, apparently recognizing him as the one who cut her free, and gradually Sawyer becomes part of the team of humans trying to save her. Which he does by playing hookey from summer school and spending his days at the aquarium, without telling his mother (Ashley Judd) who is furious when she gets a call from the school asking where Sawyer has been. But when she sees how much the experience is drawing her son out of himself for the first time and he's actually emotionally connecting with people once again, she decides to let him continue.

The damage to Winter's tail, however, is too severe and Dr. Haskett ends up having to amputate it, which makes them all wonder if Winter will be able to survive. In the meantime, Kyle has returned from Afghanistan after having been badly injured and is having to undergo physical therapy and learning to walk with a leg brace. While visiting Kyle at the VA hospital, Sawyer meets Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman), who works with the veterans who need prosthetic limbs. Sawyer then draws Dr. McCarthy into the project of designing and building a prosthetic tail for Winter. And in the background, the aquarium is facing threats from budget problems which only worsen when a tropical storm wreaks havoc on the place.

There are admittedly in Dolphin Tale a number of Hollywood embellishments to Winter's story that frequently border on the formulaic, and at times the relentless optimism that permeates the film seems a bit much, but it is a mark of how well the film was written and directed that I never felt bothered by them. As director, Smith shows a deft hand at pacing and at balancing drama and humor so that you're always engaged in the film. He also seems to know exactly how to work with animals in this case the dolphin Winter (who played herself) and a comically territorial pelican named Rufus. Smith also has a fine eye for knowing just how to photograph animals to bring out their personalities, which may have come from his own experience working with wolves in the 1983 film Never Cry Wolf. The scenes between Sawyer and Winter, particularly the underwater ones, are beautifully crafted, and one genuinely experiences what it is to be in that special world where dolphin and human connect with each other.

Credit should also be given to the particularly fine performances by Nathan Gamble as Sawyer, Cozi Zuehlsdorff as Hazel, and Ashley Judd as Sawyer's mom, all of whom make their characters fresh and believable, which carry the emotional core of the movie without a hitch or a stumble. At 12, Gamble is already a veteran actor with appearances in films like Babel, The Mist, and The Dark Knight and numerous TV shows). The supporting cast is also excellent. Harry Connick, Jr is convincing as Dr. Haskett, the aquarium vet and Hazel's father, and you can see him noticing how Winter responds to Sawyer and recognizing that Sawyer seems to have a natural gift for working with animals... and then weighing whether he should involve a boy that young in something this serious. Kris Kristofferson does a nice low-key job as Haskett's father and Hazel's grandfather, offering calm advice and reassurance when it's needed. Austin Stowell is good as Kyle, Sawyer's cousin and a former champion swimmer who now has to deal with that part of his life effectively being over. And a number of familiar veteran character actors fill in various roles Frances Sternhagen as Gloria, the administrator having to deal with the aquarium's financial problems, Richard Libertini as the fisherman who finds Winter along with Sawyer, and Ray McKinnon as Sawyer's harried summer school teacher.

On a side note, I saw the 3D version of the movie, and I can actually say that, unlike most 3D films, Dolphin Tale actually made some nicely effective use of the 3D technology, particularly when the shots that take place underwater and in the part of the film where they're working on the design of Winter's prosthetic tail and the blueprints take shape, showing how they're supposed to fit and function. And again in a throwaway but nonetheless fun scene involving Sawyer's remote-controlled model helicopter buzzing out of control around and through the aquarium.

Highly recommended as a good, solid all-round enjoyable family film.

Read Best Reviews of Dolphin Tale (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2011) Here

First... let me say I thought the movie was a 4 1/2 star movie. My complaints are with this Combo set. This was my first combo DVD/Blu Ray/Digital where it is an ultraviolet digital copy. I must admit that I didn't fully understand the whole "ULTRAVIOLET" thing when I purchased it, so I must admit I made some poor assumptions. All of the past purchases (with the exception of one Sony which would only play if I had a PlayStation) have come with a digital copy I could download to my computer and place on my kid's iPods. But this one... BUYER BEWARE... it only allows you to stream the video through Flixter. This doesn't help when you're in the car and don't have an internet connection. I need a digital copy my kids can watch on their iPods while we are traveling in the car. So, this combo pack is a complete waste of time. I would have done better to purchase the DVD and burn my own digital copy to the iPods. I will know better next time. Also, you have to sign up for a Flixter account and select several required boxes which I did not agree with. So, this whole marketing scheme they have going is awful! I will never buy another combo that comes with the ultraviolet digital copy.

Want Dolphin Tale (Movie-Only Edition + UltraViolet Digital Copy) (2011) Discount?

Would you like the children you care about to see an entertaining, warm-hearted movie where decent, everyday people solve real problems using compassion, hard work, patience, thoughtful observation and ingenuity? If so, "Dolphin Tale" is for you.

In this "inspired by a true story" film, a baby dolphin is injured when she is entangled in crab pot lines. She washes up on a beach in Florida where Sawyer, the lonely son of a single mother, sees her. The Clearwater Marine Hospital picks her up. Hazel, the daughter of the hospital chief of staff, names the dolphin "Winter." Winter recovers but her tail must be amputated. She learns to swim by wiggling side-to-side, but if she continues to do that indefinitely, it will damage her spine and kill her. The movie concerns efforts to design a prosthetic tail that Winter will wear by Sawyer, Hazel, the marine hospital staff and a prosthetic specialist doctor Sawyer meets at the VA hospital when visiting his war-wounded cousin. The Marine Hospital is also struggling financially and trying to raise enough money so it can avoid being bought by a wealthy developer who intends to tear it down and build a resort. The lonely Sawyer finds a friend in Hazel and something to be passionate about in the effort to save Winter.

Here's what "Dolphin Tale" is missing:

1. Dazzling special effects

2. Bodily function jokes

3. Swearing

4. Anything remotely sexually suggestive (I expected the filmmakers to turn up the heat between Hazel's widowed father and Sawyer's abandoned mother, but they don't)

5. Magic

6. Super powers

7. Car, spacecraft or other vehicle chases

8. Battles

9. Explosions

10. Violence

11. Diva acting

Here's what "Dolphin Tale" has:

1. A story that engages even kids who usually demand slam-bang action, slapstick, magic and/or super heroes (like mine);

2. An appealing cast;

3. Situations that feel like something resembling reality: single parents doing their best to bring up their kids; young adults joining the military to get money for education and coming back from the Middle East with bodies and dreams maimed; nonprofits struggling to stay open in a bad economy

4. Positive images of people from a variety of backgrounds and abilities and disabilities

5. Positive values: family, community, perseverance, creativity, generosity, ethical behavior

6. An adorable dolphin you can't help but love; and

7. Considering the subject matter, a remarkably favorable balance of charm to treacle.

Adults will see through some of the more heavy-handed plot devices, but that's OK. There's so much in this movie that kids don't see enough of, it's worth it. Well done.

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