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Flipper (1996)

 -  Family | Adventure  -  17 May 1996 (USA)
5.1
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 6,567 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 23 critic

Sandy Ricks is sent by his mom to Coral Key, a rustic island in the Florida keys, to spend the summer with his uncle Porter Ricks. Sandy dislikes everything about his new environment until ... See full summary »

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Title: Flipper (1996)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Bounty Fisherman #1
Ann Carey ...
Fisherman's Wife
Mark Casella ...
Bounty Fisherman #2
Luke Halpin ...
Bounty Fisherman #3
Bill Kelley ...
...
...
Lindsay Treco ...
Little Girl
Jessica Wesson ...
Kim
Mal Jones ...
Louis Seeger Crume ...
Bill Nolan ...
Bartender
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Storyline

Sandy Ricks is sent by his mom to Coral Key, a rustic island in the Florida keys, to spend the summer with his uncle Porter Ricks. Sandy dislikes everything about his new environment until a new friend comes into his life, a dolphin named Flipper, that brings uncle and nephew together and leads Sandy on the summer adventure of a lifetime. Written by Wayne Coleman <waynecoleman@swbell.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This summer it's finally safe to go back in the water. See more »

Genres:

Family | Adventure

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild language and menacing action | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flipper  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,530,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$213,370 (USA) (26 July 1996)

Gross:

£1,405,349 (UK) (16 August 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Danielle Fishel and Natanya Ross both auditioned for the role of 'Kim', but were turned down. See more »

Goofs

When Sandy first sees Flipper in the water and follows him along the dock, he walks on the same section of dock twice. See more »

Quotes

Uncle Porter: People who don't care wind up in a home drooling cream spinach
See more »

Connections

Features 20000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Paul Hogan has the best character in the picture, but the dolphin's pretty charming too
4 October 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The 1996 movie "Flipper" is a Hollywood remake of a popular cult television series and a few mostly forgotten films from the 1960s. My personal experience with the latter is very limited. I've only seen one complete episode from the TV show, part of an older Flipper movie, and clips of others in the saga about a kid named Sandy and his best buddy, an unnaturally intelligent (even for his species) and charming dolphin. But my experiences are enough to tell you that the core elements and spirit of the show are incorporated into this big-screen version. It's another story about a boy and his (insert animal species). And although the movie's adult star Paul Hogan commands the most interesting character, the dolphin is charming enough to recommend the movie.

In this picture, Sandy (Elijah Wood) is Porter Ricks's nephew (not son as in the show) and is reluctantly sent to his uncle's seaside home for a summer after a (what else?) divorce. Sandy is all but willing to accept his three months living by the ocean until a dolphin separated from its clan following a trigger-happy boater's tirade decides to stop by his favorite pier. Sandy, of course, forms a friendship with the dolphin, whom he names Flipper. And in the end, just like with "Free Willy," the plot leads up to a struggle to reunite Flipper with his kin.

This big-screen version of "Flipper" is a little flimsy and it's more whimsical than it is consistent. And just like with Free Willy, Lassie, Old Yeller, and every other cute critter in these kind of stories, Flipper has the ability to read minds, understand English, and run an underwater bank all without any training (Confused? See the movie). But honestly, I think that is part of the appeal that the TV show had for children and that's why I think that appeal will remain for this movie. Even for this adult, these whimsical and rather implausible adventures and tactics were packed with charm and the nostalgia they stirred up was rather enamoring. Yes, a better movie would be made if they tried to make a more realistic boy-and-dolphin story. How woul a *real* dolphin from the wild react to such a situation and how would an ordinary kid not under the control of movie conventions respond? And of course it'd be better if we didn't have a hokey backstory of toxic waste and an evil hammerhead shark named Scar? Wait? Scar? A shark named Scar? Okay now, Scar is a compelling name for an evil lion or even a Comanche war chief, but a hammerhead shark? The shark is not a good villain here. It's mouth is way too small to communicate menace, the moaning sounds it makes (an impossibility for real sharks) is phony, and the special effects used to simulate it are not sufficient.

But who cares? What do we expect in a "Flipper" movie? A cute dolphin, a simple story, and a lot of whimsical under and out-of-water adventures. We get 'em. And there are some more magical moments, such as a very splendid little sequence where Flipper swims through the depths and explores the marvels of underwater life. The underwater nature photography is quite pleasing. And although Flipper does not do anything that we haven't seen him (or Free Willy, for that matter) do before, he is quite a good-looking and charming character on the screen. But ironically, it is Paul Hogan who carries the movie along when Flipper is not on-camera. Because even though the star, Elijah Wood, is as fine an actor for this part as anyone, he doesn't have anything to do that makes him stand out as a character. His change of mood over the course of the picture, dialogue, and attitude all are familiar. So when he starts to lose our interest, it is Paul Hogan who saves the day. He just has an enormous amount of on-screen charm and charisma with all of his costars. Even the movie's most ardent detractors will agree with that.

Bottom line, even though I had a lot of mixed reactions, I did modestly enjoy this "Flipper" movie. It's not, I say, on par with "Free Willy" but as far as movies about a young, troubled kid and his cetacean best friend go, this one does alright. Paul Hogan is the best element in the picture, but the dolphin is charming enough to make it worth recommending. It is best seen with young children, for it will engage them (as it did me when I was younger) and charm parents as well. And adults who grew up with the TV show will be pleased at the same time.


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