God used 2020 to level the playing field and we’re already beginning to see the results with Dolphin Island, available March 2, and which won Best Movie at the Christian Film Festival, January 2021.With dolphins and “bourgeois” in the first two minutes, viewers are in for a literary, cinematic treat. Just the title alone fills the heart with cheer, and brings to mind greats like Flipper and Island of the Blue Dolphins.
The story of a beautiful, happy 14-year-old who lives on an island with her grandfather, starts off perfectly when the cultured man remarks, “In my experience, rich people usually aren’t” happy, to which the delightfully sunny granddaughter replies, “I know, you say it’s the curse of the bourgeois.”
This beginning is a rare and joyful delicacy in these days of inane dialogue. Annabelle Coleridge, played by Tyler Jade Nixon, and Jonah Coleridge, played by Peter Woodward, are impeccable, a welcome respite from the angst-filled masks of Hollywood. Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts trained actor, Woodward, is superb as Jonah. The very natural Nixon, is perfect as the joyful, content teen. Yes, a content teenager.
For this is a far cry from the characters Disney et al. create these days. This is what sets Dolphin Island apart.
This is a peaceful movie, filled with relaxed characters and actors. There is no snarky dialogue. The protagonist is happy.
In short, this is what Disney and their cohorts used to produce.
And this is why the “David’s” like Dolphin Island, and others like it, are beginning to take out the “Goliath’s.” They are giving viewers what they actually want. Happy characters. Beautiful scenery. Appropriate story-lines.
Even more, they are authentic. For those of us who live in happy, little resort towns, we can attest to this. People are still happy and do still help each other.
Mitzy, the dolphin star, glides beautifully through the cerulean water with friend and playmate, Annabelle. The music, delightful and cheery, befitting a film with such a beautiful title.
The photography is as stunning as viewers would expect for a film shot in the Bahamas. Gorgeous, breathtaking, relaxing, it is perfectly coupled with the music and lead actors, who have a delightful rapport.
The inciting incident, the New York grandparents trying to get custody of Annabelle, “for her own good,” is even handled gently. The rapscallion lawyer, and other secondary characters, are perfectly played.
As someone who lives in a Mayberry-esque beach town, I can attest to the authenticity of the characters. People do still live happy, peaceful lives and help their neighbors. It was a delight to see a happy teen protagonist. Even the secondary characters were extremely well-acted and cast. The music was perfect and the two leads were superb. The direction was excellent and the photography stunning.
To Up the Artistry Level:
I would encourage the producers on their next film to be cautious about a few minor instances of cliché plot-lines and dialogue, and the NY grandfather was at times a bit stiff. These two things did not take away from the film, it was so well-done on every level of enjoyment possible. Kudos to the team! We are praying for all of you, and look forward to your next project. Great job!
Language: The LORD’s Name taken in vain once (“Oh my …).
Official trailer #1: DOLPHIN ISLAND (2021) – Official Trailer #1 – YouTube
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For more information: Dolphin Island | Family Movie | Hope Will Bring You Home (dolphinislandmovie.com)
Kristen Collier has a BA in English Literature and is co-founder with her husband, and Roku developer, of Creative Motion Network, a cutting-edge, free indie Christian Roku channel. She is also co-founder and animator of Collier Animation Studio, producer of Benny the Barnacle (2021)