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Movie Review: 'Dolphin Tale'

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“Dolphin Tale”
Directed by: Charles Martin Smith
Starring: Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Morgan Freeman, Winter
Rated: PG

Due to time constraints, I had to see the 3-D version of “Dolphin Tale.” I am not a fan of 3-D movies. Good cinematography always features a depth of field that makes a film look as real as “real life.” 3-D, to me, is an unnecessary gimmick, and it gives me a headache. That said, I'll give credit to “Dolphin Tale” for being the least annoying 3-D movie I've seen. But I still wish I had seen the regular version and don't really understand why the producers felt compelled to make a 3-D version anyway. It's the way of the future, I guess.

It's a decent film. It won't change your life, but if you're old enough to remember the “Lassie” TV show, it will probably tug at a few heart strings.

The star of the show is Winter, the dolphin whose story is the basis of the screenplay.

Winter gets tangled in a lobster trap rope and washes up on shore. While dolphins are mammals and breathe air, they need to be in water or they will dry up.

Young Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) finds Winter, cuts her free from the ropes and calls the local animal rescue service.

They manage to save her, but her tail fin is so infected it has to be removed. Without a tail fin, it's hard for a dolphin to swim. But dolphins are intelligent creatures. Some people think they are the most intelligent creatures on earth. Winter adapts a new way of swimming, but the motion she has adopted is bad for her spine and doctors looking after realize she will eventually do irreperable damage to herself.

Sawyer - who has some emotional issues due to the recent breakup of his parents - goes to see his friend Winter every day at the rehab center in his hometown of Clearwater, Fla.

He's skipping school, and his mom soon finds out. But he's devoted to Winter and is getting another kind of education from his relationship with the dolphin and the doctors.

Morgan Freeman plays a prosthetic specialist at the local Veterans Administration hospital. He comes on board and designs a prosthetic tail for Winter, but the dolphin doesn't like it. He designs another one. She likes it even less. The doctor finally figures out what is wrong with his design and manages to build one that Winter accepts.

Then, the rehab of learning to swim again comes into play for Winter.

Through the whole process, Sawyer - and his newfound friend Hazel - learn a lot as well. Hazel's dad is the vet who is taking care of things. He's played by musician Harry Connick Jr., who has been surprisingly good in every role he's done. This may be his best work.

“Dolphin Tale” is sweet without being sappy and will bring a few moments of misty eyes to animal lovers.[[In-content Ad]]

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