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3.0 out of 5 stars
The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2011
Okay, be warned. The villian in this cartoon is quite frightening to say the least. He is down right ugly. The graphics/animation sucks. I was looking for an alternative to Nemo (daughter watches like everyday) and this was not it! Will be selling this one to McKay's for sure!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 26, 2011
Dolphin The Story of a Dreamer is a tale of the value of following one's dream against impossible odds and in a way this is a metaphor for what 20th Century Fox was attempting to do with this film. The dream in this case, of course, was to show Pixar and DreamWorks that investing hundreds of millions in creating original computer-generated feature films is a waste of time and money when all a company has to do is import a foreign CG work, slap a little English vocal track in, and collect the profits. As such the end result here has more in common with nightmares than it does dreams; particularly for the consumer who dropped good money on this sinker.

Based on Sergio Bambaren's 1996 children's novel, Dolphin is a story about a porpoise without a purpose: A young dolphin named Daniel Alexander Dolphin finds himself in a pod of oppressive non-dreamer lagoon dwelling dolphins. Everything changes one day when a manta ray enters the lagoon to tell Daniel that he is destined for greatness.

Ignoring this encounter, the "voice of the sea" is forced to intervene by actually telling Daniel that he will be the one to return dreams to all the creatures of the ocean. How will he accomplish such a lofty ambition you ask? Well apparently he will "surf the ultimate wave on the day the sun doesn't do what it normally does". If that sounds a bit suspect to you, rest assured that is a beautifully accurate summation of all that is this film.

To cut to the chase, Daniel leaves his pod and safe life in the lagoon behind to... Find this ultimate wave? It's never made clear what in the world he is trying to accomplish. And even when he finally does surf a big wave on the day of the eclipse, the correlation with how this helped all creatures far and wide to dream is about as abstract as say, his journeying into outer space may have helped a flea colony living on the back of a mangy coyote in New Mexico to solve complex mathematical equations. Either way you'll find yourself saying "huh?"

Rather than give the viewer some semblance of a plot structure, Dolphin The Story of a Dreamer (DTSOAD) simply strings together an hour and a half's worth of scenes in the hope that a story will somehow reveal itself along the way.

Clearly attempts to aid the mess along into coherence were made in the form of a narrator and dialog so painfully drawn out and simplistic that a young child could potentially find some enjoyment. However even appealing to the younger set is flawed with this one as many of the chase sequences are simply too dark and terrifying for kids.

Attempts at humor are absolutely disastrous throughout. We are given just about every cliché in modern animation: young wide-eyed characters with annoying voices, flatulence jokes (laced with the un-child-friendly F-word to boot), and annoying sidekicks. Adults will find themselves unable to even smirk at that gags contained within much less chuckle and children will be far too bored with the pacing to appreciate the hacky moments.

Contrary to what you suspect, the visuals of DTSOAD are decent. No Pixar doesn't need make plans to revisit Finding Nemo to try to compete, but the lighting effects are solid, the color pallet bright and thorough and the textures consistently passable. The surface shots are especially noteworthy for their realistic waves/ frothy surf. The animation itself isn't too shabby either, with aquatic animals moving accurately/ swimming with life-like propulsion throughout. Espcially for a film with a modest $3-million budget, there is little to complain about in the audio/visual department.

However, don't mistake a lack of audio complaints to be mistaken for commendable acting performances. In fact, aside from one of the most meandering, nonsensical plots in the history of film, DTSOAD makes use of some of the most flat and lifeless vocal performances to match. In the actors' defense, the script provides very little to work with here. Couple substandard writing to the additional task of trying to sync English vocals to the original foreign-language mouth flaps of the animatics and it becomes clear that the acting was basically doomed from the get-go.

The title character's vocal work is passable thanks to English ADR director Robbie Daymond's rendition but the awkward dialog itself more than undoes any real praise here.

Judy Kellem is credited with having to perform the arduous task of developing the English screenplay and was surely aware of the fact that successful scenes in film rely heavily upon timing. The trouble with taking a piece originally created in a foreign language is that even when you are able to match the mouth movement on a scene for scene basis, capturing proper timing is all but impossible in the translation. As a result here scenes drag on ridiculously longer than what feels natural.

While I really despise slamming any product in my critiques as there is untold toil and tears that goes along with taking any product to market, the sad reality is that DTSOAD will likely disappoint viewers of all ages (especially those who have come to expect great things in the CG animated feature film department from the likes of Disney/ Pixar, DreamWorks and so on).

The formula of taking a foreign computer-generated film and adapting it to domestic viewers has failed many times in the past (reference Impy's Island, The Snurks, or Doogal for further proof of this phenomenon) and Dolphin the Story of a Dreamer, sadly, simply adds more evidence to this reality. The fact that 20th Century Fox came on board to distribute this catastrophe (and just prior to the Holiday season no less) really speaks on behalf of the company's desperation in trying to secure a spot in the highly lucrative computer animated feature film market.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2011
This is absolutely awful. I could not follow the story line (if there is such one). There is no connection between the scenes in the movie. Characters appear and go all over without having any reason to do so. The animation is terrible. This is probably the worst children's animated movies I have ever seen.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2011
My friends and I like to watch really bad movies for the fun of it. This one was soooo bad that we (literally) turned it off at about the 20 minute mark and finished it 2 days later. This movie has it all: horrible dialogue, atrocious animation, stupid fart jokes, random/unrelated scenes, WORSE song ever, and (being targeted to kids) it's absolutely a movie to avoid showing your children. It has scary sequences, inappropriate scenes like eating coins, and downright idiotic jokes and pranks that even made me cringe. Watch this movie if you're looking for a laugh with a couple of friends but do not... DO NOT let your children watch this garbage.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2011
I watched this with my toddler. I didn't prewatch it like I usually do, because it looked so childish. It was a mistake. Here's why I hate this film:

Scary
-----
All of the dolphins in this film have sharp teeth and the camera tends to work in a frightening angle to show off the teeth. Although even the protagonist is a bit frightening, he's a happy elf compared to the demonicly wretched evil dolphin. He's dark, his "brow" is angled deeply and his teeth are always present.

Bad Rendering
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This looks like a single-pass pre-render. The water doesn't interact with the characters, the skies look like fake Bryce skies (Bryce is a 3D animation/picture-making tool used by amateurs Bryce 5).

Bad Animation
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The camera angles often look like they were accidentally placed. And the animation of the characters looks unnatural (except, for the most part, their swimming).

Story Didn't Grab Me
--------------------
I admit, I only got 15 or 20 minutes in before I turned it off. My toddler was in shock -- and I was too, a bit. But after those 15-20 minutes of watching, there was no story worth finishing.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2011
Simply the worst animated movie I have ever seen with my kids. The worst part is the unbelievably terrible dialog and random scenes they place the character in. My 5 year old could easily write a better plot by just rattling off a few things she thinks a dolphin might do or say. It is not inspirational, it is not entertaining, it is just terrible. I realize it is based on a psychology book, but if you would just take the time to make the dialog have some meaning and not appear totally random it might actually be watchable.

The worst dialog and scene has to be with the shark who just wants to talk with the fish, but can't because he keeps eating them. So many scenes in the movie make you feel uncomfortable for the characters because the dialog is so awkward and terrible. I could get past the ugly animation and overall unbearable plot line (if you can find the plot line) if the dialog just made any sense at all and even attempted to tie the scenes together.

Buy this movie, and every copy you can find, and then burn them to save the world from this drivel!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2011
Plese don't show this movie to your children. I don't know how my daughter became acquainted with this awful movie, I think it was a free movie on Netflix my husband thought would be cute for her as she LOVES Nemo. Anyway, our Netflix kept skipping and I never watched beyond the opening scene so I had no idea what it was. My well-intentioned brother bought this for my daughter so she could actually watch it. TERRIBLE idea! About 10 min into it I wanted to stab my eyes out. I couldn't believe how scary the characters were (Even Nemo has a shark eating fish scene) but it was downright frightning. I now have to find a way to "misplace" this movie and hope my daughter forgets about it shortly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2011
I find it interesting that the positive reviews of this film all seem to come in packs during short spans of time, as if someone saw that the film's ratings were suffering and got friends together to all write good reviews.

My friends and I like to watch hilariously bad movies, but this one was almost too much; we couldn't finish it. And I watched Howard the Duck the whole way through!

Bad movie, plain and simple.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2013
Entertainment Value for Intended Audience: My daughter watched this film repeatedly each day for several weeks when she was 4. It drove me crazy. If it drives you crazy, be less lazy than me and take your kid to a park. She still watches and enjoys it on occassion at the age of 6. But my friend, the 42 year old arthouse movie fan was disappointed by its total lack of family reunion dinner scenes set in Europe. Be warned.

Animation: Yes, not everyone has access to a $100 million plus budget like Pixar or Disney. Who'd a thunk? I grew up on Spiderman cartoons where static pictures were slid across the screen, and clips were reused repeatedly on every episode. I think you could condense 13 episodes of that series into 3 if you edited them to show each piece of animation only once. Did I care? Heck, no. And at least it wasn't that Eskimo cartoon where they use human lips instead of animation either. The animation in Dolphin is serviceable, and kids the age it is made for won't care. Or if they do, they're way too cynical for their age. Shame shame. Frankly the weird animation sort of fits the weird storyline.

Story: Remember those weird cartoons and kids shows you grew up on? Puff the Magic Dragon? That surreal Raggedy Anne and Andy cartoon with the floppy blue donkey? The Magic Railroad? Dr Snuggles? Anything with the name Krofft attached? Re-edited imported Japanese cartoons? They were like bad trips half the time. And they never insulted your intelligence. Remember all the scary themes they had? Well, to quote Maurice Sendak: "I remember my own childhood vividly...I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn't let adults know I knew. It would scare them" That's something sorely lacking with kids programming these days, much as I love Yo Gabba Gabba. Teletubbies, Night Garden, etc, are way too minimalist and cutesy to compare. Yes, this film has a scary barricuda in it. It also has deep philosophical themes and positive messages. And it doesn't always make the greatest sense. But at least it isn't some shallow toy tie-in or a pre-teen soap opera or a quasi videogame. And it has fewer fart jokes (one) than any crappy remakes Disney has been making of its own films since the 90s, usually with Eddie Murphy.

Adding to Dolphin's cache: The family in Raising Hope have a copy.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
This is one of the worst animated movies I have ever had the displeasure of watching. It was agony from the beginning; I cannot believe I wasted 45 minutes of my time watching this when I could have been, oh, watching my hair grow. My 4 year old daughter even thought it was lame. The "songs" could've been written by my dog. There is little to no intelligence present in the dialogue, the characters are embarrassingly lame, and the animation (if that's what you want to call it) is unimaginative and severely lacking in quality. The reviewer who gave 5 stars to this "film" had to have been on drugs or held at gunpoint. The review talks about giving this out as Christmas gifts! Yikes!! Do you hate the people on your list THAT much??
So, to sum it up, I wasted a whole dollar on this piece of junk and I deeply regret it. There is not a snowball's chance in a jacuzzi of me ever purchasing this for my movie collection, and I strongly urge anyone with any sense to avoid it like the plague.
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