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“DOLPHIN ISLAND” A Fine Family Film

 

 

Review by John Delia

A captivating family drama that tugs at your heart strings, Dolphin Island is perfect for the whole family. While the human stars play out the characters, it’s a very talented dolphin that makes the film lovable, especially for the tots to teens. The movie is filmed entirely in the Bahamas including Freeport where it all takes place.

Mateo Rolle (Aaron Burrows) and Annabel Coleridge (Tyler Jade Nixon) in DOLPHIN ISLAND from Entertainment Squad

Fourteen year old Annabel Coleridge (Tyler Jade Nixon) has been living with her grandfather Jonah Coleridge (Peter Woodward) for the last 10 years since her parents died in an accident. Totally adjusted to the life of living on a fishing boat and going to school on the island, to her it’s a paradise. Her love in life is Mitzy a very intelligent dolphin that is more of a sibling to her that a mammal living in and around the dolphin sanctuary that was set up by her parents.

Jonah Coleridge (Peter Woodward) and granddaughter Annabel (Tyler Jade Nixon) in DOLPHIN ISLAND from Entertainment Squad

Everything has been perfect until one day Desaray Rolle (Dionne Lea Williams), who works for the Freeport Social Services Dept., comes to check on Annabel’s welfare. The meeting with Jonah doesn’t go too well being very defensive about her questioning and things get off on the “wrong foot”. To make matters worse a lawyer, Robert Carbunkle (Robert Bledsoe), shows up with a letter of intention that Annabel’s rich New York City parents on her mother’s side want to take custody of her.

The plot thickens and we find Annabel confused, Jonah facing her determined grandparents. Director and co-writer Mike Disa does a very good job with the visuals taking his audience into Freeport’s awesome waterways and dolphin sanctuary. He treats the young viewers with a dolphin show as star Mitzy puts on some fun antics and does flips ten to 15 feet in the air.

Mateo Rolle (Aaron Burrows) in DOLPHIN ISLAND from Entertainment Squad

Acting by the cast, some of which are made up of the islanders, is good easily filling the shoes of the characters. Peter Woodward leads the cast as the lovable grandpa who finds himself stepping into a mess his stubbornness creates. It’s a fun role for Woodward and a respite of sorts from action films that include The Patriot and National Treasure. Here he runs a fishing boat and enjoys his granddaughter’s help and friendship that has now been put in question.

Annabel Coleridge (Tyler Jade Nixon) with Mitzy in DOLPHIN ISLAND from Entertainment Squad

As the young center of attraction, Tyler Jade Nixon (as Annabel), has added another dolphin to her film credits having appeared in the movie Dolphin Kick. In both films she seems comfortable in the role and that’s what it takes to keep on the road to success in this business. Here she controls most of the action being the character that’s being cornered and without the power to make her own decision, and she nails the role.

Like most indie movies the cast may be made up with unknowns, but I’d like to point out Aaron Burrows in the role of Mateo Rolle who saves the day. He makes his Mateo a nice teen who befriends Annabel and makes her feel that deep down in it’s her choice when it comes to living with either of her grandparents. The two strike up a nice friendship that helps to make the film work. Good work for a first film.

Dionne Williams (Desaray) and Aaron Borrows (Mateo) in DOLPHIN ISLAND from Entertainment Squad

Also in first time roles are locals Arthur Rose, Keith R. Saunders, Phillip Lucas Sturup, Erica Weir, Tyre Moss, Dermeko Lewis, Charles LaRoda, Margaret Hogan, and Conrad Forbes who give the island a good feel of home and rapport.

Dolphin Island has been rated TV-Y7 (equal to PG) and it hits the target market with a bull’s eye. I like the characters and script, as to me there’s never enough Flipper and Dolphin’s Tale. My rating is 4 out of 5 stars for the target market.

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