Not that anything is currently worthy of theatrical release in the midst of a pandemic, but it’s a shame that Disney quietly bailed on the big screen for its nature documentaries and instead turned them exclusively into streaming filler. (Not that they can be solely blamed: A list of the studio’s lowest grossing movies of the last decade would find a lot of Disneynature docs keeping each other company.) Even stuck on the small screen, though, the wonders of their latest real-world safaris – 'Dolphin Reef' and 'Elephant,' both released this month on Disney+ in time for Earth Day – still have the power to overwhelm and amaze … at least when the human stars get out of their animal stars’ way.
Aug 22, 2020 He said that we have succeeded in Project Tiger and Project Elephant and now Project Dolphin will be launched to protect the river and sea dolphins. This will conserve biodiversity as well as provide a means of livelihood to the people dependent on river-based activities. As the Prime Minister has said that Project Tiger and Project Elephant have been successful in India and now Project dolphins will be started. Animal cruelty rampant in zoos with dolphins used as surfboards and elephants playing basketball ‘What might be seen an enjoyable activity means a lifetime of suffering for these animals’. Dolphins and elephants are both smart members of the animal kingdom Dolphins have a communication system that is more advanced than human speech. They also have an scientifically unexplainable. Researchers have identified that Sonic hedgehog (Shh), that in limb development is the signaling activity of the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA), is absent from the dolphin hind-limb bud. An absence of Hand2, an upstream regulator of Shh, leads to the failure to establish a ZPA.
Diving into the depths of the Pacific Ocean near Polynesia, 'Dolphin Reef' swims with a bottlenose mother as she attempts to teach her son – named Echo by the filmmakers, perhaps Sega Dreamcast fans – the way of the waves. That entails learning to move with the pod, mesmerizingly swimming in unison just under the whitecaps; fending off sharks and rival groups; and learning to feed oneself and the rest of the group.
While the dolphins get top billing, the rest of their ocean neighbors get to steal the show as 'Dolphin Reef' explores their bright and colorful reef home – one that looks so familiar to 'Finding Nemo,' you half-expect Dory to zip past – and details their intricately interconnected world. A peacock mantis shrimp with spider-like eyes constantly skittles across the reef floor cleaning up mess – one that parrotfish come by to feast upon. One jaw-dropping sequence explores a dark underwater cavern lit by glowing neon life. Yet even that’s outdone by a visiting cuttlefish with the ability to change colors and craftily camouflage itself amongst the reef before turning itself into a hypnotic strobe that somehow isn’t a special effect. Don’t stare too long, though, as one unfortunate crab learns.
Even the dolphin sequences, the most standard and familiar of the bunch, find new angles on the expected, viewing the floating pods collectively suspended and shifting in the currents from above and below, and taking to the sky to watch from a bird’s eye view as Echo learns to trap dinner with mud splashes beautifully blooming into a natural net. Between the BBC’s 'The Blue Planet' and 'Planet Earth' – which share this doc’s co-director Alistair Fothergill – as well as Disney’s own 2010 'Oceans,' these might seem like well-tread waters. Fothergill and fellow helmer Keith Scholey, however, keep finding new fascinating perspectives, creatures and natural feats to keep 'Dolphin Reef' fresh and give it porpoise purpose.
'Elephant' is even better. While 'Dolphin Reef' regularly wades away from its swimming stars to hang with whales and help fill out its admittedly slim story – and even slighter 77-minute running time – its Kalahari-set colleague hones its focus on one family of African elephants traveling the dessert, following the water and shifting seasons to more lush parts of the territory. Along the way, the herd battles the harsh elements, like muddied oases and desolate salt plains, as well as the rest of the animal kingdom seeing our roaming stars as a snack.
Like 'Dolphin Reef,' 'Elephant' develops its animals into a family of characters: wise old matriarch Gaia, next-in-line mother Shani and her spritely son Jomo. The land-locked installment, however, gives them a true story to tell with a throughline featuring actual life-and-death stakes, a greater sense of danger and legitimate tension that the full circle of life will make an appearance. The doc’s youngest cast members are twice put at deathly risk – once from lions, another from the sun’s unsympathetic glare – while one character even passes away on screen. There’s the old child-traumatizing Disney I remember!
'Elephant' has the thrilling visuals to go with its involving story, capturing the gorgeous sunbaked Kalahari vistas while traveling along with its sizable stars or taking to the air to get the seemingly horizon-less span of their world. Its tracking shots, riding along next to the herd on their trip, are particularly low-key mesmerizing, using the frame's depth to find other wildlife prowling in the front or background, adding to each shot and giving the eye even more to find. Directors Mark Linfield and Vanessa Berlowitz make some really interesting visual choices along the journey too, such as breathlessly edited sequences trekking through the path home in Gaia’s memory.
It’s a humanizing move that unfortunately only underlines the doc’s biggest flaw, one it shares with 'Dolphin Reef': humans. Go figure: Humans getting in nature’s way – even in a nature doc.
Visual studio 2018. Lacking confidence in its real stars and its audience, 'Dolphin Reef' and 'Elephant' load up its breathtaking footage with oxygen-sucking narration – here provided by Oscar-winner Natalie Portman and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, respectively. Both are talented actresses, but both are saddled with tedious, non-stop voiceover that insists on talking over everything happening.
Little of it actually informs the audience about these animals; instead it just projects cutesy human feelings and modern phrases onto these wild creatures. 'To him, this place is a one big carnival,' Portman says at one point. Really? Did Echo tell you that, 'Dolphin Reef' writers? Later, she explains that Echo 'sees himself as a happy predator.' No, pretty sure that’s just him trying to survive; you don’t have to apologize for an animal in the wild acting like an animal in the wild. In case that’s not enough needless clutter, 'Dolphin Reef' even adds annoying sound effects – like drill sergeant howls for a precisely lined-up crowd of fish or squeegee squeaks when a shrimp cleans his eyes – and an overbearing Steven Price score on top of its majestic creatures.
The Duchess of Sussex, composer Ramin Djawadi ('Game of Thrones,' 'Westworld') and 'Elephant' have greater success – though her voice occasionally does fall into cloying car commercial voiceover, and her asides are even less needed since, unlike many of the strange aquatic critters, elephants are already expressive. A sequence where the herd comes across old elephant bones on their journey, their trunks emotively feeling at the relics, is already moving without Markle telling the audience what they’re already looking at and trying to play amateur psychologist. Still, she never has to embarrassingly yell, 'You want some, pal?!' like a rowdy cab driver during a fish fight, so that seems like a win for her – though she still has to narrate a fart, a possible first for the royal family.
Still, nothing – not the voiceover, nor the films’ lack of trust in their audience and their own incredible footage, nor being jilted exclusively to the small screen – can get in the way of Earth’s majesty and mystique. And with 'Dolphin Reef' and 'Elephant,' the animal kingdom’s glory easily overcomes the Magic Kingdom’s gaffes.
'Dolphin Reef': **1/2 out of ****
'Elephant': **1/2 out of ****
Apr. 30—Until we see Jaylen Waddle perform, or not .. until we see Kyle Pitts and Ja'Marr Chase perform, or not, there's going to be one lingering reason to feel uneasy about this Miami Dolphins draft:
The Dolphins could have had Pitts, the University of Florida tight end and perhaps the draft's best non-quarterback prospect.
Dolphin And Elephant Are Which Type Of Animal
The Dolphins could have had Chase, the LSU receiver who is universally considered the best in this draft at his position.
But the reason the Dolphins selected Waddle with the No. 6 overall selection is because last month they traded out of the No. 3 spot, which would have guaranteed them either Pitts or Chase.
The Dolphins traded down from that spot to effectively add a third-round pick in 2022 and a first-round pick in 2023.
That begs the question how did general manager Chris Grier feel seeing Pitts and Chase slip from his grasp knowing he could have had either by not making that trade?
Any buyer's remorse?
'No,' Grier said late Thursday night. 'I've told you we're very comfortable where we were.
'We had a number of players — like we said — about four players we felt really good about taking at six and we'd be tremendously happy to have. So we had — again, don't look back — but at the end of the day, we're tremendously excited and this was a player we've been looking at for a couple years.
'So for what we want to do for our team and our roster, we're very happy to have Jaylen and no regrets, and I say that with all honesty to you.'
And this is where I say to you that all NFL general managers have defining moments.
Generally, one of those moments comes when he picks his forever quarterback. Pick a good one and your job is solidified. Pick a bad one and it's a slippery slope to unemployment.
One of Don Shula's first decisions as Dolphins coach was to sign quarterback Earl Morrall at a high cost (for the time) despite complaints from owner Joe Robbie. Morrall saved the perfect season.
Another for Shula came in 1983 when he selected Dan Marino, a quarterback several other teams passed on.
Shula rode those outstanding decisions for decades.
A couple of QB decisions that didn't work out in Miami included Dave Wannstedt and Rick Spielman passing on Drew Brees in the 2001 draft and then Nick Saban, the chief decision-maker in 2005-2006, passing on Brees as a free agent.
So QB decisions are career-making decisions for NFL coaches and GMs.
(Unless you're Ryan Pace in Chicago. He totally blew it on Mitch Trubisky in a draft that served up Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson and somehow is still the Bears' GM, which is stunning.)
There can be other defining moments as well.
For Jimmy Johnson, one such moment was selecting Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor in the third round in 1997.
But another came in 1998 when Johnson traded out of a pick before the draft that might have brought him Randy Moss to play with Marino.
For Jeff Ireland, one such moment was the entire 2013 offseason which was no bueno.
For Bill Parcells that moment came when he selected Jake Long No. 1 overall and Chad Henne in the second round.
Well, if Waddle turns into the 'dynamic' and 'explosive' player the Dolphins said Thursday night he's going to be, while Pitts and Chase are not all that, Miami's predraft trade of 2021 will go down as a moment to celebrate Grier.
Dolphin And Elephant Refer To
If not ..
Dolphin And Elephants Are Mammals