Dolphin Tale 2 review: that sinking feeling is back

Film Title: Dolphin Tale 2

Director: Charles Martin Smith

Starring: Nathan Gamble, Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd, Cozi Zuehlsdorff

Genre: Family

Running Time: 107 min

Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 14:04

   

We know what the kids are looking for. They want movies that create impeccable role models, avoid all but the mildest conflict between generations, and provide well-researched insights into the US Department of Agriculture’s regulations on the care of aquatic mammals.

Search no further. In the three years since the first Dolphin Tale – whose baffling success is confirmed by the unexpected existence of this sequel – the documentary Blackfish has done much to alter attitudes to marine parks. Fear not. Charles Martin Smith’s film could not strive harder to set minds at rest.

As you will recall, Harry Connick Jr plays the chief of a Floridian facility that seeks to treat injured marine animals and, when fins are healed, release them into the wild. Smith himself turns up as a USDA official to explain that each dolphin must, by law, have a partner in its tank. Connick has a potential pal for Winter, the tail-less dolphin from part one, but her sunburn is now better and she seems capable of living life in the wild. So back she must go. We’re not like those jerks in Blackfish, you know.

Oh, stop being so mean. Dolphin’s Tale 2 could hardly be more responsible and life-affirming. Based on a true story, it really does get across information about our cetacean friends. The film also plays cannily to a young person’s desire to feel needed: the teen protagonist and his friend work on an equal footing with the the adults.

The film-makers are kinder still to pensioners. Kris Kristofferson, who plays Connick’s dad, is presented as vital to every operation. “You ready, dad?” Connick asks. “Yes. If you need somebody to lurk around uselessly like a dead tree, then I’m here,” Kris doesn’t quite say.

I’m going to hell for this review.