The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Day of the Dolphin

When it comes to what people like about movies, answers are across the board. Maybe it's the actors and actresses involved, or a favorite director, or maybe just a genre that appeals to viewers. But sometimes, you read a movie description that's so odd, so crazy, that you can't help but watch the movie. Read below and tell me you're not intrigued.

"After teaching dolphins to speak, a scientist tries to keep them from being used in an assassination plot."

The movie? The Day of the Dolphin starring George C. Scott. Mike Nichols directs and Buck Henry wrote the screenplay so I thought maybe this was a comedy, or at least a dark comedy. Nichols directed The Graduate and Catch-22 while Henry was the creator of Get Smart and was a writer on The Graduate. It's safe to say then that I was caught off guard when I discovered the movie's played straight, no comedy here.

To be fair, the assassination plot from the description isn't even dealt with until the last half hour or so. Much of the rest of the movie's plot is pretty thin. Scott is Dr. Jake Terrell, a man who works with dolphins and has taught his two subjects, Alpha and Beta, to speak English with a limited vocabulary. That's most of the first 75 minutes of the movie, Terrell and his team working with the dolphins. To the film's credit, that storyline works, mostly because the dolphins are so entertaining and cute, like sea otters, you just can't go wrong.

But then comes the assassination plot. There's a turn of events where the watchers of the watchers want to kill the president of the U.S. using Terrell's dolphins. I won't explain how exactly because the plan is creative, but it seems thrown together with villains and quasi-villains all trying to out-do each other. The twist and final line of the assassination plotters was funny though, laugh out loud funny, but whether it was intentional or not I don't know.

An interesting movie to say the least with a combination of nature film and conspiracy theories. I can honestly say I've never written anything like that before. Check it out for the scenes with the dolphins and an oh so crazy 70s conspiracy plot. It'll get a laugh or two out of you.

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