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Dolphin Tale Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Portuguese, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG
  • Run Time: 113 Mins
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 20, 2011
  • List Price: $35.99

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Dolphin Tale -

Purchase Dolphin Tale on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Aimed squarely at the family crowd looking for something non-animated, Dolphin Tale is broadly inspired on the true story of a dolphin who lost its tail after getting caught in a crab trap and is saved and befriended by a young boy desperately in need of something to inspire him. The real-life amputee dolphin, Winter, appears as herself in the starring role as the dolphin who must be saved, Harry Connick, Jr. plays Dr. Clay Haskett, the marine biologist running the struggling marine animal hospital where Winter is taken after she is found, Nathan Gamble is Sawyer, the young boy who saves her and the only one she will respond to, while Cozi Zuehlsdorff plays Hazel, Clay’s daughter who also becomes Sawyer’s friend and partner in rescuing Winter.

Sawyer sets upon a plan to rescue Winter whose lack of a tail is endangering her life due to her swimming with a side-to-side motion, rather than the usual up and down motion that dolphins normally use with their tails. So he asks an expert (Morgan Freeman) from the VA hospital where his recently wounded cousin, just returned home, presumably from Iraq or Afghanistan, is staying to design a prosthetic tail for Winter. But the marine hospital is in a race against time, running out of money and about to be sold off, with no home found for the amputee dolphin.

While Dolphin Tale hits all the right notes for a family friendly, heartwarming film, especially for animal lovers, I found it ultimately lacking in passion and somewhat predictable. At the end of it all, I came away uninspired and thinking to myself that this is just another Free Willy, only not as good.

Still, families can’t go wrong with this wholesome film, and it does at least teach kids a good moral – do good, do the right thing, stay the course, and good things just might come your way.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]


Dolphin Tale was originally captured in high definition and, in fact, originally captured in 3D, but we’ve been sent the 2D-only release for review. Arriving in a gorgeous AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement on Blu-ray, there isn’t much to argue with at all with this high definition transfer. Colors are vibrant, from the cerulean blues of the waters to the verdant greens of the swaying palms. Contrast is strong, blacks are deep and white levels are bright without clipping. Flesh tones are natural while detail is strong from the foregrounds extended well into background shots.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack does a decent job with what is mostly a front-heavy dialogue-driven mix. It is relatively dynamic when need be, such as during the brief hurricane scene that also serves to allow the surround channels and LFE to flex their muscles a bit.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The supplements are all in high definition and run the gamut from the typical behind-the-scenes featurettes to animated versions of sequences from the film and completely unrelated animated shorts squarely aimed at this film’s intended younger audience.

The supplements:

  • The Hutash Rainbow Bridge (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:26) – An animated telling of Dr. Clay Haskett’s (Karry Connick, Jr.) story in the film of the Hutash Rainbow Bridge.
  • At Home with Winter (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:22) – Have a look at Winter the dolphin at home in her real life aquarium.
  • Dolphin Tale: Spotlight on a Scene (1.78:1;1080p/24; 00:07:17) – A behind-the-scenes look at the film’s opening sequence.
  • Winter’s Inspiration (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:18:08) – The real story of how Winter was found and saved.
  • Ormie and the Cookie Jar – Original Animated Short (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:59) – This animated short about a portly pig trying to reach a jar of cookies atop a refrigerator seems a bit out of place in the context of the main feature, but given this is a family-oriented film, the short is sure to find a pleased audience amongst the little ones.
  • Deleted Scene: Winter Meets Panama (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:21)
  • Gag Reel (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:49)
  • DVD
  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

An average family film that parents can feel confident putting their kids down to watch, Dolphin Tale won;t win any awards, but its sugary sweet plot, cute, wily kids, and excellent high definition transfer make it worth renting nonetheless.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004EPZ01Q[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Dolphin Tale -

Purchase Dolphin Tale on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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