(Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Harry Connick Jr., et al / 3-Disc Blu ray+DVD / PG / 2011 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Inspired by a true story, 'Dolphin Tale' is about courage, ingenuity, and never giving up.
DVD Verdict: 'Dolphin Tale' is an "inspired by a true story" film, where a baby dolphin is injured when she is entangled in crab pot lines. She washes up on a beach in Florida where Sawyer, the lonely son of a single mother, sees her. The Clearwater Marine Hospital picks her up. Hazel, the daughter of the hospital chief of staff, names the dolphin "Winter."
Winter recovers but her tail must be amputated. She learns to swim by wiggling side-to-side, but if she continues to do that indefinitely, it will damage her spine and kill her. The movie concerns efforts to design a prosthetic tail that Winter will wear by Sawyer, Hazel, the marine hospital staff and a prosthetic specialist doctor Sawyer meets at the VA hospital when visiting his war-wounded cousin.
The Marine Hospital is also struggling financially and trying to raise enough money so it can avoid being bought by a wealthy developer who intends to tear it down and build a resort. The lonely Sawyer finds a friend in Hazel and something to be passionate about in the effort to save Winter.
In closing, there's something in this movie that captures the imagination and interest of both children and adults. The antics of the dolphin, and the children's interactions between themselves and the dolphin will keep young children entertained and older children engaged. The riveting storyline, and the tension and drama keep the adults engaged as well. This truly falls into the category of "family entertainment". This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Featues of:
The Hutash Rainbow Bridge (HD, 2 minutes): What begins as something akin to a deleted or extended scene soon reveals itself to be a computer-animated short.
At Home with Winter (HD, 13 minutes): A trip behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew.
Spotlight on a Scene (HD, 7 minutes): Director Charles Martin Smith and producer Andrew Kosove dissect the film's opening sequence, the digitally created dolphins that star in it, and the 3D techniques involved in bringing the scene to life in three dimensions.
Winter's Inspiration (HD, 18 minutes): The true story of Winter, her miraculous recovery and the people who saved her take center stage in this excellent featurette.
Ormie and the Cookie Jar (HD, 4 minutes): An original animated short about a pig trying to reach a cookie jar on top of a refrigerator.
Winter Meets Panama (HD, 2 minutes): A quick, altogether expendable deleted scene.
Gag Reel (HD, 3 minutes)