Flipper's New Adventure Movie Review

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Back in the '60s, sequels didn't need fancy names. Therefore, instead of Flipper 2: Full Throttle we get the more prosaically named Flipper's New Adventure, a family-friendly story that has as much fun and excitement as the first classic film, although this time around it's slightly sodden with schmaltz.

When we last left young teen Sandy Ricks (Luke Halpin), he had convinced his parents to let him keep Flipper the dolphin as his pet and lifelong friend, but in the months that have passed, life's gotten a bit rough down in the Keys. Ma Ricks has died, and Pa (Brian Kelly, a less scary replacement for the first film's Chuck Connors), is off at marine park ranger training school. Sandy and Flipper have been in the care of a neighbor, but now the state is building a new causeway right through Flipper's lagoon, and the Miami Seaquarium is coming to take him away.

But not if Sandy and Flipper can make a quick escape. Leaving a tear-stained note for Pa, he grabs some water, a few cans of food, and a nautical chart and heads out to sea in a small skiff with an outboard motor, Flipper happily squeaking and chirping at his side.

Soon enough, Sandy and Flipper find a boy's dream come true: a deserted island complete with fresh water, bananas, coconuts, and a swimmin' hole. "We can stay here forever," Sandy exults. "We've got everything we need!" Cue the syrupy soundtrack for a few verses of "It's a fine and dandy cotton candy world with you." Sandy covers Flipper with kisses, but not to fear, the film's G rating is never in danger.

Paradise is lost when the veddy veddy British Hopewell family comes sailing by, only to be hijacked by three escaped convicts who dump Mom (Helen Cherry) and her two daughters overboard while kidnapping Dad (Tom Helmore) to help sail the boat. Once on the island, young Gwen (Francesca Annis) and Penny (Pamela Franklin) set to work alongside Mom to try to stay alive. Sandy and Flipper help secretly and are eventually discovered by Penny, who calls the dolphin "Flipp-ah," much to Sandy's amusement. Together they forage for food, build fires, and have a great time together (cue another cutesy-poo song) until the Hopewell's sailboat returns with the convicts still aboard. There's more trouble, but naturally Flipper saves the day and the inevitable very happy ending plays out right on schedule.

Like the first Flipper film, the sequel is sunny and breezy and great to look at, with fantastic underwater shots that show off Flipper's many talents, including turning himself into a formidable battering ram to knock the stuffing out of the escaped cons. The adventure and action will keep any kid up to the age of about 9 entertained and impressed, and despite the fact that Sandy is a very successful runaway, the movie is as wholesome as can be. Sandy is far more in love with Flipper than he is with Penny. He'd rather teach the poor girl how to climb a coconut tree than kiss her.

Flipper had enough charisma to leap from this movie right into the weekly Flipper TV series, also starring Halpin and Kelly. The romance between Sandy and Flipper was destined to go on for years.

I love Flipper in the springtime, I love Flipper in the fall.

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Comments

Flipper's New Adventure Rating

" OK "

Rating: G, 1964

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