30 September 2017 | TheLittleSongbird
Perhaps not an adventure of a lifetime, but hardly a boring summer either
Liked but not loved 'Flipper' as a child. Still feel the same as a young adult. It's a long way from a masterpiece (though it never was trying to be) and will never be one of my favourites, but it does exactly what it strived to do and ticks most of the right boxes.
'Flipper' won't blow the mind. While it is good that the story is easy to follow, at times it did seem a bit too basic and safe, for a feature length it's slight and it can be pretty predictable, nobody for example will be surprised by how the film ends. The dark shadiness of how the human villain is written, played by Jonathan Banks, does not gel with the innocent, fun-loving, light-hearted atmosphere of the story, almost like he accidentally walked straight from a different film.
That Banks didn't seem to know whether to overdo the sliminess or give an indication that the villain also wasn't that smart didn't help. The dialogue sometimes is a little cloying.
However, 'Flipper' looks very pleasing. It's a beautifully shot film and even more pleasing to the eye are the idyllic locations and the stunning underwater sequences. The music is upbeat and charmingly whimsical. It's all very capably directed too.
Most of the time, 'Flipper' is very charming and sweet, epitomising childhood innocence and has a lightness that stops the film from feeling heavy. It has a lot of fun and a heart of gold, so much so that although it's a problematic film it is difficult to be too hard on it. It teaches a valuable message that for the type of message that it is is handled in a way that while not exactly restrained doesn't beat one around the head.
Elijah Wood is appealing in the lead role and Paul Hogan plays it straight very effectively. Apart from Banks, the rest of the cast also do admirably with amiable if somewhat one-dimensional characters. Stealing the show is the dolphin, impressively rendered with a mix of show-stopping animatronics and the real thing but also with a personality that melts the most cynical of hearts. Wood's chemistry with the dolphin is the film's driving force and is a large part of what makes the film charming.
In conclusion, decent likable film but not one of those "bowl the viewer over" films. 6/10 Bethany Cox