17 Aug 2014

Winter has Hope: A Dolphin Tale 2 Movie Review

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Inspired by true events.

You could stay the storyline was written in the stars…


After the amazing heart-warming and true story made the movie “Dolphin Tale,” we were inspired to say the least. We were so excited to hear “Dolphin Tale 2” would be out in 2014. Being that we aren’t in L.A., New York or Chicago and don’t have too many movies filmed in the Tampa Bay area, visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) where both movies have been filmed has been a highlight for people near and far for so many reasons. People all over the world visit to see and meet Winter because they have been truly inspired by her overcoming the loss of her tale and how she hasn’t given up.

According to David Yates, the CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and executive producer of “Dolphin Tale 2,” said that in the weekend falling the release of the first movie, 10,000 emails were received that first weekend telling them how inspired they were by Winters’ story for their own personal reason. Many with stories about loosing a limb who connected with Winter right away. She couldn’t give up. Those who rescued her wouldn’t let her give up on herself. It’s a lesson that as a parent, we can use teach our kids too. You can’t give up. And in this new movie we learn that when one door closes another door opens and life is full of possibilities…another great life lesson for everyone.

Winter, the brave dolphin rescued and rehabilitated in the 2011 family hit movie, is back we continue to see him using his prosthetic tale that was at the center of the first story. My kids loved seeing all the familiar scenes inside the aquarium because we have visited several times and many even before the renovations began!

“Dolphin Tale 2” has reunited the original cast including director Charles Martin Smith, the director of the original film, plus the entire cast of the earlier film who all say they leapt at the chance to return to Clearwater and show more of the good work that the wasn’t able to fit into the first movie. The cast includes Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Morhan Freeman, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozily Zuehlsdorff, Austin Stowell, Austin Highsmith and the inspirational “Soul Surfer” star and real life professional surfer who lost her arm to a tiger shark attack, Bethany Hamilton playing herself. And of course the all-star cast of animals: Winter, Rufus the pelican plus new characters Hope, played by herself, and Mandy (who is actually played by resident dolphin Nicholas) as the newly rescued dolphins, and Mavis, the Neely rescued sea turtle. And their safety and security was the only consideration, without compromise, when it came to filming the movie.

“The most important thing to us in making both movies was the cafe and well-being of the animals. The movie was secondary,” Smith affirms. With animatronics and visual effects, along with being shot in 3D vs. 2D (as the first movie was) every scene in this movie looked as real as it could. They were able to improve many filming techniques this time around both mechanically and aesthetically so the outcome would be as real as possible. End result…as real as it gets from recreating the actual events.

With so many coincidences, the sequel was just meant to be filmed. David Yates, the CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and executive producer on “Dolphin Tale 2,” recounted to us that everything that unfolded when Hope was rescued was extremely coincidental and just so serendipitous. She, Hope, was an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, about the same age as Winter when Winter was rescued, found in the same part of Florida that Winter was found by the same rescue team. In addition, one because of the passing of the long time dolphin CMA resident, Panama, Winter was in need of a new companion, and it had to be a female. You could stay the storyline was written in the stars.

Add a little serendipity, some fate and lots of Hope to the mix, and you’ll end up with this wonderful movie about how things that happen in life, sometimes are just meant to be.

To say my kids and I loved the movie is an understatement. It was moving, touching, inspirational and meaningful. It sparked great conversations of life lessons on the way home.


It was also wonderful to hear about how the first movie has truly made such an impact on the educational outreach all around the world for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. With average yearly attendance up from 78,000 people in 2006 to 750,000 after the film came out, I can only believe that more will follow the pilgrimage to come to Clearwater and meet Winter themselves. Their mission of Rescue, Rehabilitate and, when possible, Return the animals that come to them into their care to the wild, has also expanded to adding one word… Inspire.

The Dolphin Tale 2 movie will open in theaters nationwide on September 12.

To see Winter, visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida or visit SeeWinter.com to see here online.


Winter and Hope.


Winter and Hope at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.


Mia and Shelby photographed with David Yates, CEO of the Clearwter Marine Aquarium and executive producer of “Dolphin Tale 2.”

written by
Marisa is a Mama to 4 kids and resides in Tampa, Florida with her family. Connect with her on Twitter @TampaMama to learn more about Tampa Bay and things to do with kids, Florida family travel, travel adventures and tips or her secret parenting tips for staying alive while wrangling 4 kids. She has a "official" business background in marketing + PR + events, but now plays daily with social media strategy, brand development and digital media. Days are long. Life is short.

One Response to “Winter has Hope: A Dolphin Tale 2 Movie Review”

  1. Reply srieley says:

    We loved the first film and look forward to the second, only not sure how they can call is a true story when it’s not. Parts of it are but the main idea Panama does and winter needs a companion which is found in hope, not so much. We were at the aquarium and hope was a grown dolphin and she and winter were there and guess what Panama was there too. We were there a few days before Panama passed. And if marine hospitals can’t have a solitary dolphin what about the aquariums only make dolphin Nicholas who is in a tank by himself? Hummm… Can’t wait to see dolphin take two with my daughter but a true story? Not really.

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