The flick is inspired by the true story of Winter, a dolphin that was rescued and nursed back to health at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. In the film Winter will star as herself, a dolphin who loses her tail in a crab trap. She strikes up a relationship with a little boy and eventually he rounds up a bunch of his buddies and together they convince a doctor (Freeman) to make Winter a prosthetic fin replacement so she can swim again. Judd's role will be that of the little boy's mother and Connick will play the marine biologist who rescues Winter and treats her back at his facility.
I was pretty eager to get to the part where I can poke fun at this concept for being the new Free Willy, but after reading up on Winter, I wouldn't dare. On the Clearwater website, there's a whole section devoted to her story, her progress and of course, Winter plush toys for the kiddies. Winter was only three months old when she nearly died in that crab trap. She not only lost her entire tail, but two vertebrae as well and still survived. I was picturing something along the lines of Hiccup's makeshift tail for Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon, but Winter's is so much more than that. We're talking her whole tail here.
This is certainly a compelling story, now we've just got to hope it's been given a proper adaptation. The treatment comes from Noam Dromi, but Karen Janszen wrote the screenplay with some revisions from director Charles Martin Smith and Jordan Roberts. Funny thing is, Janszen is the one who wrote the script for Free Willy 2. It's not terrible, but can't compare to the original. If this piece is attracting talent like Freeman, Connick and Judd, there's got to be something good about it.
The last piece that will either make this one a heartwarming story or an obnoxious romp is the kid they find to play the lead. Luckily the main character is a boy because if Bindi Irwin got the role, I'd be taking a pass.