‘Dolphin Tale’ teaches inspiring lessons about caring
The current film, “Dolphin Tale,” is based on a real story, the inspiring account of how a young boy and some committed people working at a marine sanctuary not only saved an injured dolphin’s life, but gave it a new prosthetic tail that helped prevent its eventual demise.
That sounds like an inspiring story, all right. But, entering the movie house, we wonder how the script and the production can sustain viewers’ attention and interest with its exceedingly thin plotline.
In answer to our question, the film proceeded to “beef up” its plot and character progression by characterizing the boy, Sawyer, as a loner who missed his long absent father. He was doing poorly in school – and at life, in general – until the baby dolphin’s plight touched his heart and made him want to live and enjoy life again.
In addition, the script introduced the character of the boy’s cousin, a swimming champion who went off to war – and, like the little dolphin, was injured. So, a link was made between him, the dolphin and the formerly uncaring boy that presented viewers with a telling and moving “objective correlative” for all creatures in need – and how love, if expressed in affectingly selfless ways, can be the best healing agent of all.
Other major players include the head of the marine sanctuary (Harry Connick Jr.) and the inventor (Morgan Freeman) who creates the artificial tail that gives Winter, the dolphin, a new lease on life.
To make the solution of the story’s central problem more dramatic and empathetic, they’re made to confront and surmount many difficulties and reversals, including a killer typhoon that brings the facility to its financial knees, before the film can “swim” to its regulation happy ending.
Despite these strenuous efforts to keep its thin story interesting and involving, however, the movie still experiences a number of low and slow intervals. So, viewers can’t be blamed if their attention wanders from time to time.
But, for viewers who want to be inspired by real stories about the seminal link between man and all other creatures, “Dolphin Tale” can still be a stirring viewing experience.
Yes, the movie’s “evocative” underwater visualizations of the boy and the dolphin swimming together in loving synergy can get to be a bit much. Yes, the subplot involving the disabled swimming champion is too patently pat to be genuinely stirring. Yes, comedic “touches” like the facility’s mascot, a pesky pelican, can be heavy-handed rather than delightfully droll. Yes, the amazingly successful effort to save the endangered marine sanctuary is too astounding by half.
But, lower those arched eyebrows, folks. This is a movie where logic is not the best or even main suit, it’s the inspiration that it provides, and the hope it affirms that we really all are one, and that man is charged with the care and welfare of all of the “lesser” creatures “beneath” him.
The film’s best insight is that, when everything works in God’s perfect universe, those “lesser” creatures can help and teach us amazing lessons about caring, as well!
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