Genre: Family Drama
Premise: Misunderstood boy finds new meaning in life after he rescues a stranded dolphin and tries to help it swim again after losing its tail.
Behind-the-Scenes: Winter the dolphin plays herself in the movie. Director Charles Martin Smith also acts, and is probably best known for American Graffiti and The Untouchables.
The Good: Dolphin Tale is good-old fashioned family entertainment - like something Disney would have made in the early '70s starring Kurt Russell. Earnest and simple take on a well-told tale. Animal rights dramas haven't been this audience friendly since Free Willy. Nathan Gamble settles comfortably into his role as the young boy, Sawyer, and acts in a pleasantly natural manner.
The Bad: Harmless and inconsequential to a fault. Morgan Freeman is slumming it in a paycheck role as the kindly old artificial appendage maker. The attempts to shoehorn American patriotism into the script via a subplot involving Sawyer's older cousin, who has just joined the Army and shipped out overseas, is forced. Too much country music on the soundtrack.
Should You See It?: Single folks and those without kids can probably skip it. For family audiences, Dolphin Tale makes for a perfectly serviceable Saturday matinee trip to the movies.
Rating: *** out of 5 stars.