I reviewed the first Dolphin Tale back in 2011, and was a little surprised to find out that a sequel was being made, since the first movie wrapped things up nicely. In this installment, Winter needs a new dolphin companion, since her previous companion passes away (at age 40, which is old for dolphins!). Most of the cast from the first movie is back, too, and I actually enjoyed it more than the previous film.
Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr.) is still running the CMA (Clearwater Marina Aquarium) and things are going well, until Panama, their eldest dolphin, passes away. This puts Winter into a depression, and she even goes as far to accidentally attack Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), another CMA employee and a friend of Winter's. The CMA must find a new companion for Winter and they think they've found it in Mandy, a dolphin that they rescue from the ocean, but Mandy is soon well enough to be released. At the same time, Sawyer has been accepted to a "Sea Semester," which is an academic cruise that departs from Boston, and he has to decide if he can leave Winter and should go on the trip, as it's a big opportunity for him - only one gifted high school student is chosen per year to go.
The best part of this movie were, of course, the animals. My favorites were actually Mavis the turtle, who they rescue from the ocean (she was tangled up in some nets) and Mavis's "friend," Rufus the pelican, who wants to follow Mavis everywhere, and perpetually annoys the CMA staff and tourists. The dolphins were also cute in this film, including Winter, the dolphin from the first movie who wears a prosthetic tale that Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) has fashioned for her.
Yes, see this movie. It's definitely family-friendly, and although there are some maudlin and/or not-well-written parts of the script, overall it's a movie that I did enjoy. The film takes place in Clearwater, Florida, as well, and has some nice views of the ocean and areas surrounding the CMA. Kids of all ages will like this film because of the animals in it, but it also has themes and a plot that adults will enjoy, too.
Dolphin Tale 2 is in theaters today, September 12th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 107 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.