DOLPHIN REEF movie poster
A coral reef is home to a variety of sea creatures, including a three-year-old Pacific bottlenose dolphin named Echo. With help from his mother Kumu, the coming-of-age youngster must learn survival skills. But Echo is more interested in exploring the reef and beyond. Now mother and son venture to the hunting grounds where the young dolphin's self-sufficiency and his value to the community will be determined.

The latest entry in the Disneynature series is an eye-catching undersea exploration. While writer David Fowler's screenplay is simple and
not very compelling, director Keith Scholey (with help from co-producer Alastair Fothergill) presents a colorful and informative look at the dolphins and other residents of the coral reef. Most of the attention is given to young Echo and his struggles to grow up. Occasionally, the cameras of several underwater cinematographers focus on other creatures of the deep. Much of this time is spent on a humpback whale and her newborn calf as they try to defend themselves against killer orcas. A soothing score by composer Steven Price and Natalie Portman's narration give this documentary a needed lift. There are elements of danger, but nothing really frightening for the younger viewers. What's missing is the magic that Walt Disney gave his series of True-Life Adventure films - especially the animated sequences. But any opportunity to spend some screen time with nature is welcomed. "Dolphin Reef" is indeed see-worthy. (3/5 CAMS)

Rated G
Running Time: 77 minutes

Streaming April 3, 2020 on Disney+.

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