Warner Bros. // 1964 // 94 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 20th, 2004
Don't #@*% with this dolphin.
Not long after young Sandy Ricks (Luke Haplin) befriended an amiable dolphin named Flipper, the two find themselves in a whole new adventure. Hey, wait a second! The name of this movie is Flipper's New Adventure! Crazy!
It's been a year since the great hurricane. The Ricks household is still the same, except for a few small changes. Sandy's a little older. The house is a little creakier. Oh, and Sandy's mom has vanished, and a stranger has replaced his father.
But Flipper is still around, and is still as wily and frisky as ever. The dolphin/boy relationship has grown since we last saw them; Sandy swims around with Flipper's fin in his hand, and Flipper hasn't bitten him in half yet.
Sandy's carefree world of screwing around with sea mammals is about to be dramatically altered, though: he finds out that his family's home has been tagged for demolition so the state can build a causeway.
Unwilling to part company with Flipper (who will be heading to the Miami Seaquarium), Sandy makes the only decision he can -- he jumps in his boat and heads to the Bahamas with Flipper, a jug of water, and only his jean shorts for clothing.
So now it's turned into Survivor: Idiot Boy and His Dolphin. The duo makes it to an island, but encounter danger almost immediately. Three criminals hijack a passing boat, and evict the family onto Sandy's island. Sandy and Flipper surreptitiously give aid to the family.
However, when the hijackers return and kidnap the castaway family, threatening them with guns, Sandy and Flipper decide to spring into action. Suddenly, it's Die Hard With a Dolphin.
If the first movie was the "origins" story, this one is the big-action payoff. You've got boat-jacking, gunplay, a deserted island, intrigue, romance, blood oaths, and an underwater dolphin knife fight. All of that, might I add, was noticeably missing from the previous film.
That aside, as soon Sandy hopped into his boat and headed out to open sea, the movie took a surreal spin. Seriously, what the...!?! The kid's old enough to know that there's an excellent chance of gruesome death awaiting him out there in the deep blue; he's been through hurricanes and shark attacks, after all.
But let's just go with it. He's on a deserted island with almost no supplies. Now what? Well, thankfully, the audience isn't subjected to the unsavory sight of a hunger-crazed young boy killing and eating his pet dolphin, because a sea-going hostage crisis soon unfolds.
When the evicted family members (a mom and two daughters) are tossed from the boat, things get weirder. Sandy is reluctant to make his presence known, so he helps the clueless castaways via Flipper. Amazing that the ladies don't seem to find a dolphin throwing them fish and supplies a bit odd.
Also odd is the fact that Sandy has developed a way to verbally communicate with Flipper, and understand what the dolphin says back to him. Somewhere in between the events of the first and second movie, I think he and Flipper were bombarded with gamma rays. This skill comes in quite handy when the hostage-takers return to increase their collateral. They recapture the three women at gunpoint and head back out to sea. Voyeur no longer, Sandy decides to pursue. For a 13 year-old, the kid has more gumption than most counter-terrorist hit squads.
But the capper to the zaniness is a one-on-one fight between Flipper and the ringleader, which finds the dolphin zipping around while the guy lunges at him with a knife. Sandy watches closely, practicing the second skill he's developed: holding his breath for ridiculous amounts of time. Several sequences show the kid completely submerged for way too long; apparently, he now has the lung capacity of a blue whale.
Despite the dangerous situation, the movie is still deservedly rated G, and is a harmless film for families -- provided your son and daughter doesn't have access to a boat and an anthropomorphic dolphin.
Just like its predecessor, this film holds up well in the digital transfer. The matted widescreen transfer is sharper than the original's, and despite a few questionable areas, the colors are crisp and vibrant. The digital mono "mix" is as underwhelming as you would think, though a Dolby Pro Logic II decoder could salvage the operation. The case promises a Tom and Jerry cartoon, but I couldn't find it. The original theatrical trailers are the only other features.
Sure it's not hard-hitting, but Flipper and crew are family-friendly. And the weirdness of this movie may interest those yearning for more dolphin vigilantism in their life.
Guilty of harpooning any suspension of disbelief, but released into the sea for good behavior.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Rated G