Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Day of the Dolphin

Watched October 13, 2013

Starring: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Paul Sorvino, Edward Herrmann

Before watching this movie, all I knew about it was from The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode that parodies it. That episode is pretty great so I figured the source material should be at least a little fun. The tagline on the back of the box is " He unwittingly trained a dolphin to assisinate the president."

Dr. Jake Terrell (George C. Scott) is a marine biologist who has been working with a dolphin named Alpha on an island lab. He has been keeping the exact scope of his work a secret but some pieces of it have leaked out regarding teaching the dolphin to talk. Curtis Mahoney (Paul Sorvino) is a reporter who makes his way onto the island to try to discover what is the nature of the research. Dr. Terrell and his wife Maggie (Trish Van Devere) get a little warning on this and hide Alpha, instead letting Curtis on see Beta, the new female dolphin.  I'm not sure why Dr. Terrell is so secretive about his research, but he does think that what he is working on with Alpha could be used for evil.

Dr. Terrell ultimately does give a presentation of Alpha's speaking abilities to bunch of old men, who have some sort of sway. Alpha answers Dr. Terrell's questions, the men aren't totally impressed and they keep asking Alpha weird questions that he can't answer.

The group of old men are some sort of secret organization and they steal Alpha and Beta. This is where we learn of their plan. Since Alpha can speak and understand specific commands they plan on using him to blow up the president's yacht. They do this by strapping a backpack bomb on Alpha that is magnetized and when Alpha swims under the boat it will attach to the hull.  It's a very strange plan and is ultimately foiled because Alpha puts the bomb underneath the bad guys boat.

If you really like dolphins perhaps you'll enjoy this film, there is a lot of footage of the dolphins just frolicking in the water. When the dolphins talk it sounds terrible, lots of Fa loves Bea and Fa love Pa. Fa being a shorter version of Alpha and Bea a shortened version of Beta. It's such a strange concept that you might think it would be more enjoyable but it's long and boring. One of the stranger scenes is when Dr. Terrell is showing Curtis his reel to reel tapes of Alpha progressing with language. Instead of just playing one at a time he just starts playing one after the other so they're all playing horrible dolphins sounds layered on top of each other.

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