Eye of the Dolphin (DVD Review)26 Aug, 2007 By: John Latchem
Prebook 8/28/07; Street 10/2/07
Rated ‘PG' for thematic elements and language.
Stars Carly Schroeder, Adrian Dunbar, Katharine Ross, Christine Adams, Jane Lynch, George Harris.
This film's effectiveness lies in its simplicity. It conveys a basic message about listening with your heart, and does so with a family-friendly story uncomplicated by unnecessary subplots.
Alyssa (Schroeder) is a 14-year-old coping with the recent death of her mother. She rebels by smoking in the bathroom and getting into trouble at school. Her grandmother (Ross) decides it might be a nice change of pace to take her to the Bahamas to meet the father she never knew.
That would be Hawk (Dunbar), who studies dolphin communication behaviors and isn't too keen on accepting a daughter into his life. Nor is he thrilled with the prospect of expanding his research facility to allow tourists to watch the dolphins. His partners like the economic benefits, and one consultant (the always-excellent Jane Lynch) doubts his research will amount to much anyway.
Alyssa discovers she is adept at communicating with the sea creatures and befriends a wild dolphin that wanders into the bay. Her father cites studies about how dangerous it is for wild dolphins to befriend humans, but her instincts tell her otherwise.
Working through their hostility, father and daughter discover they have more in common than they want to admit. Both find it easier to communicate with their dolphin friends than with each other … or other people, for that matter.
Eye of the Dolphin is a beautiful film to take in, with its lush tropical landscapes and vast fields of rich shades of blue, supported by a haunting Horner-esque musical score.
The ending is a little too abrupt and strays a little too close to Free Willy territory for my tastes, but younger viewers will eat it up.
Lending to the film's credibility is the authenticity of Alyssa's aquatic interactions. Schroeder herself is quite adept in the water, as documented in the DVD's lone featurette.