A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intended to entertain, not educate.
As the voice of the sea says, "Never let fears stand in the way of your dreams." But the film is so poorly constructed that this message doesn't come through clearly.
Positive Role Models
Daniel Alexander Dolphin is ostracized by his peers for daring to leave his dolphin pod to pursue his calling, and he leaves anyway, facing many difficulties along the way. But he isn't deterred.
Violence & Scariness
The evil fish -- Lucius -- is scary and chases Daniel ruthlessly. In fact, most of the fish, sharks, dolphins, manta rays, and whales, will make kids uncomfortable with their sheer ugliness: razor-sharp teeth, terrifying voices, angular movements.
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Early in the film, a baby dolphin makes "fart bubbles," says they are his friends and that sometimes they help him to breathe, and then he swallows the bubbles. Later, Daniel claims a place he is visiting smells like "jellyfish poop."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer is a very disappointing CGI animated story of a young dolphin called by the sea to pursue his dreams. For very young/sensitive viewers, the mean, sharp-toothed "bad fish" who chase after the hero fish is nightmare fodder. And for children in general, the bizarre fart jokes early in the film may be immature even for them. For parents, the unpleasant characters, the trite exploration of "a hero's journey to make his dream come true," and the subpar animation will leave them at best bored and at worst angry that their kids' time was wasted watching this. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
You have to hope that the Sergio Bambaren book upon which this movie is based is much better; while subpar animation would get a pass if the story made up for it, it doesn't. There are plenty of children's films about characters pursuing their dreams that handle the subject matter in ways that are more entertaining and don't feature completely bizarre, nonsensical "jokes" about baby dolphins swallowing their own fart bubbles. The few characters that aren't annoying (i.e. Daniel's sidekick Carl) look and act in ways that will horrify most children under the age of 8. Ultimately, The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer will likely confuse, anger, and annoy both parents and children.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.