Dolphin Island Image

Dolphin Island

By Bradley Gibson | February 25, 2021

The characters in Dolphin Island are as thin as the plot. They are stamped out from well-worn archetypes. The skeevy lawyer, Robert Carbuncle (Bob Bledsoe), might as well have a Snidely Whiplash mustache that he twirls menacingly. Of course, if his villainous role isn’t clear enough, being named Carbuncle (“a red, painful boil caused by bacterial infection”) should clarify.

Peter Woodward is a welcome sight after many years since we’ve seen him appear on the radar. He had roles in the 2000 Mel Gibson action film The Patriot and starred in two Babylon 5 spinoff movies. He’s always been a good actor who brings a compelling charm and high energy to every part. Now in his mid-60’s, he still delivers.

“The beautiful vistas could be a balm to anyone who’s thinking about the islands but can’t get there.”

There are a couple of minor missteps in this otherwise inoffensive entertainment. Carbuncle is the only overweight character on screen, as if to say fat people are unscrupulous, mean, and probably have other unsavory traits. Also problematic is that in the custody battle between Jonah and her maternal grandparents, no one ever thinks to ask Annabel what she wants. She’s clearly the smartest person in the room. Perhaps she would have suggested splitting time between Manhattan and her island home? I mean, hot summer months spent in a more temperate climate, having Grandpa Warbucks taking you shopping at Tiffany’s wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing that ever happened to a young woman (or anyone, really).

For my part, I kept hoping Moon Doggie (Matthew McConaughey), Lingerie (Snoop Dogg), and Jimmy Buffet from The Beach Bum would sail in and dock on the island to get the party started, but that is a completely different shoreline. Co-writer Shaked Berenson wants to lift spirits with Dolphin Island. “We hope the film helps families escape to a beautiful island paradise, that it can inspire girls to seek out careers in science, and it can help us consider the power of family-in whatever form we may find it.

The film resolves the way you expect it to. As family movies aimed at the tween demographic go, Dolphin Island is entertaining enough. The beautiful vistas could be a balm to anyone who’s thinking about the islands but can’t get there.

Dolphin Island (2021)

Directed: Mike Disa

Written: Shaked Berenson, Mike Disa

Starring: Tyler Jade Nixon, Peter Woodward, Dionne Lea, Bob Bledsoe, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Dolphin Island Image

"…would work well as a pilot for a young adult TV series."

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