Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2012


"Dolphin Tale" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements



This is a true story about a very special dolphin (Winter) who gets rescued by the good people at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) in Clearwater, Florida.  Winter gets tangled in the rigging from a crab trap and is helped by a boy named Sawyer who cuts her free from the trap.  Sawyer starts coming to the CMA facility to help with his dolphin friend's recovery and they soon form a close bond.  The injuries to Winter's tail prove to be serious and so the marine bilogist at CMA, Dr. Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.), is forced to amputate her tail.  Winter is not likely to survive without her tail and so they enlist the help of an Army prosthetist, Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freemen), with hopes that he can fashion a prosthetic tail for the ailing Winter.


  • Warner Brothers
  • 2011, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 53 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Morgan Freeman
  • Directed by Charles Martin Smith
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No


This movie has a number of subplots that speak to themes that are important to modern America.  Sawyer's cousin, Kyle, goes off to war and returns after suffering paralysis due to the injuries he incurs during battle.  There are also major thematic elements involving the economy, family, friendship and giving back.  There is also a pelican in the movie who steals a few scenes.  As a result, I found the film to be interesting and entertaining on a number of levels.  But it falls short in two key areas - it is extremely predictable and the characters are very cliche.  I also found most of the CG effects to be mechanical looking.  This is still a very good rental for kids who are animal lovers.


The movie was shot in digital and as a result, the picture quality is clean and grain free.  I appreciated that the whites were never blown out and the shadow detail was very good throughout.  I deducted half a star because the colors were oversaturated and due to the mechanical lookiong CG effects.  The audio is top notch with clean and clear dialog, effects that are properly localized and good bass in the scenes that call for it (hurricane).  I also liked the sound of the dolphins' pops and squeaks.


This is a two-disc Combo Pack with a Blu-ray disc and a DVD featuring an ultraviolet streaming digital copy.  Other extras include these featurettes - "The Hutash Rainbow Bridge", "At Home with Winter", "Dolphin Tale: Spotlight on a Scene", "Winter's Inspiration" and "Ormie and the Cookie Jar".  There are also deleted scenes and a gag reel.