Case Number 16002: Small Claims Court

WINTER: THE DOLPHIN THAT COULD!

Clearwater Marine Aquarium // 2009 // 63 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // March 25th, 2009

The Charge

Against all odds...the miracle of Winter

The Case

Produced by Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Gabby Productions, in conjunction with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Florida Atlantic University, Winter, The Dolphin That Could! is the amazing story of a strong-willed dolphin and her human caregivers. On December 10, 2005, a distress call was received about a young dolphin that had been tangled in a crab trap in Mosquito Lagoon near Cape Canaveral. A team of rescuers from Clearwater Marine Aquarium arrived soon after and worked to free the dolphin, nicknamed 'Winter' due to the season when she was rescued.
Transported by truck back to the safety of the aquarium, Winter's prognosis was not good...not only was she a young dolphin who needed to be nursing from her mother for several more years, but the extent of her injuries meant a long road to recovery if she managed to survive at all. Over time, Winter's tail began to shed significant amounts of tissue and ultimately it had to be removed. Perhaps the most amazing part of Winter's story is how a team of scientists from Hanger Prosthetics rose to the challenge, developing a prosthetic tail for Winter that would not only allow her to move through the water but would be comfortable against her delicate dolphin skin. The same technology and materials that were used to develop Winter's tail and protect her skin, have since been used to benefit veterans and others that have lost limbs, who found traditional materials were too uncomfortable or limiting for everyday use.

Winter: The Dolphin That Could! is a beautiful and inspiring story of how humans can protect and care for animals, and how those animals can then inspire humans to rise above their own adversities. Despite the positive nature of the content, the production would have benefitted from some pre-production planning, as the final documentary can be very hard to follow at times. The production seems to jump back and forth between the story of Winter's rescue, on-screen interviews, re-enactments and other content, without much rhyme or reason. As a result, the feature can be somewhat hard to follow at times, despite the best intentions of viewers who are interested in Winter's inspiring story.

The audio and video presentation are somewhat of a mixed bag as well, with content originating from a variety of sources, from amateur footage shot when the dolphin was rescued, to TV news clips from NBC Nightly News. Despite some occasional distortion due to high audio levels, the overall sound presentation remains clear throughout the feature and while the video sources vary, for the most part, the picture is sharp and clear.

"The Ballad of Winter," a video summary of Winter's story, accompanied by a country-western style song about her, service as the intro to the documentary and another video montage near the end of the program is accompanied by Martina McBride's song "Anyway." As indicated during the closing moments of the feature, it sounds like we can expect future releases about Winter from Clearwater Marine Aquarium as her amazing story continues to inspire people around the world. Most dolphins that become caught or injured by monofilament and crab trap lines usually die as a result of their injuries, so Winter's recovery is all the more amazing. Perhaps her recovery is due to the fact that she was rescued at such a young age, or due to the dedication and around-the-clock attention of her caregivers, but whatever the reason, Winter continues to grow and thrive. If you aren't familiar with Winter's story from the significant worldwide media coverage that has surrounded her since her rescue, then Winter: The Dolphin That Could! will bring you up to speed nicely.

The Verdict

The story of Winter is indeed an inspiring tale (or should I say tail?).

Review content copyright © 2009 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile
Studio: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 63 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurettes

Accomplices
* Official Site
http://www.cmaquarium.org/dvd/