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Beneath the Blue

aka Way of the Dolphin

D: Michael D. Sellers / 103m

Cast: Caitlin Wachs, David Keith, Paul Wesley, Samantha Jade, Ivana Milicevic, Michael Ironside, George Harris, Christine Adams, Leah Eneas, Eva-Jean Sophia Young

A sequel to Eye of the Dolphin (2006), Beneath the Blue is a family-oriented movie set in and around a dolphin research centre in the Bahamas, and concerns the attempt to steal one particular dolphin, Rasca.  (I haven’t seen Eye of the Dolphin so I won’t refer to it in relation to this movie.)

The dolphin research centre is run by Hawk (Keith).  His goal is to create a synthetic language that can be understood by dolphins and humans alike, and while he has made some amazing progress, it’s still early days.  Helping him is his daughter Alyssa (Wachs), and a team of dedicated helpers including his wife Tamika (Adams).  Their star dolphin is Rasca; she’s the most intelligent dolphin taking part in the programme and she’s allowed to come and go as she pleases.

Enter Craig (Wesley, from TV’s Vampire Diaries) and his sister Gwen (Milicevic).  While Gwen occupies herself diving and seeing the sights, Craig shows an interest in Rasca and the research centre, but more specifically, in Alyssa.  Alyssa hasn’t got a clue about guys so her friends set her up on a date with Craig and soon he’s helping at the research centre and spending time with Alyssa out on the ocean.  But is Craig all that he appears, or does he have an ulterior motive for spending so much time at the centre and with Alyssa?

Beneath the Blue - scene

While all this is happening, Hawk is fighting a battle with the Navy over sonar testing.  The testing is causing the deaths of numerous dolphins and he wants the Navy to either stop altogether or at least move to waters that would be safer for the dolphins.  He butts heads with Captain Blaine (Ironside), who, while he’s sympathetic to Hawk’s concerns, doesn’t believe the problem is relevant in comparison with the lives sonar testing could save in the long-term.  (As the movie points out at the end, this was a legitimate concern that was being addressed in US courts just before the movie was made; the outcome is delivered on screen.)

Up ’til this point the movie has been fairly predictable and even a little dull.  The script lacks a little ‘zing’ and the cast, as a result, have little to work with.  Then the truth about Craig and Gwen is revealed and now we have a bit of a thriller on our hands… but one that ends up becoming so far-fetched it undermines its own ambitions.  It does make the movie more interesting to watch though, and although the outcome is never in doubt, you’ll be shaking your head and saying, “I know it’s a movie, but come on“.

Of the cast, Wachs is okay, but that’s because she’s not really given anything major to do apart from look doe-eyed at Wesley.  Keith attempts to bring some energy to his role, and his scenes with Ironside certainly raise the dramatic bar but everyone else is pretty much going through the motions.  The fault lies with the script which ambles along from scene to scene without really making an impact.  Michael D. Sellers keeps things moving but again the pace is steady without really stepping up at any point, even during the chase sequence at the end.  However, the photography does make the most of the beautiful locations, and while it may be churlish to say so, Wachs et al do look good in their swimwear.

Rating: 6/10 – dolphins are always a joy to watch so it’s good they get quite a bit of screen time, and as usual with marine based films it’s when this movie is on dry land that it flounders.

Originally posted on thedullwoodexperiment website.