Dolphin Island is an escapist fantasy kids movie with beautiful Caribbean island scenery. It serves as light entertainment with a message. At age four, Annabel Coleridge (Tyler Jade Nixon) lost her parents to a diving accident while they were saving a dolphin. They worked at the dolphin research center they’d started and left it to Annabel and her grandfather.
Ten years later, she still lives on the island with her grandfather, Jonah (Peter Woodward). Jonah never intended to be a fisherman. He was a teacher at Cambridge but came to the island to take over the research center and raise Annabel to fulfill his son’s wishes. The Caribbean island paradise is nurturing and safe for Annabel, and she’s surrounded by extended family. Also, she’s formed a bond with a dolphin named Mitzy, who is more like a swimming pet than a wild animal. She and Jonah make their way by fishing and keep the research center going while living on the boat they inherited.
“…maternal grandparents arrive with a devious lawyer to fight for custody of Annabel and bring her back to New York.”
Life is easy and slow. The water is so clear the boat seems to be floating in the air. But the seas turn stormy when her rich maternal grandparents arrive with a devious lawyer to fight for custody of Annabel and bring her back to New York. It’s up to Jonah, her friends, Desaray (Dionne Lea), her new social worker, Desaray’s charming son, Mateo (Aaron Brown), and Mitzy to help Annabel stay in the place she loves and that loves her back.
If this all sounds terribly trite, then there’s nothing wrong with your reading comprehension skills. It’s a tween movie where daily life and problems have been stripped of all nuance and complexity and reduced to either/or situations. The plot is not original, but rather than being boring, it’s comfortable and predictable. Dolphin Island would work well as a pilot for a young adult TV series. Annabel, Mitzy, and Mateo could take on episodic challenges of growing to adulthood in paradise.
"…would work well as a pilot for a young adult TV series."