FLIPPER (Movie)

5/17/1996. Universal. 95 min. Video release 10/8/1996.
Drama.
Code: FLP 5/1996

PLOT

Rebellious city teen Sandy Ricks is reluctantly shipped to his Uncle Porter’s island home on Coral Key for the summer. Things look up after he meets the dolphin and makes friends, and together they foil a toxic-waste-dumping charter-boat owner.

CREDITS

Writer: Alan Shapiro; based on screenplay by Arthur Weiss, story by Ricou Browning, Jack Coden.
Director: Alan Shapiro.

CAST

Paul Hogan as Porter Ricks
Elijah Woods as Sandy Ricks
Chelsea Field as Cathy Simms
Jonathan Banks as Dirk Moran, charter boat operator.
Isaac Hayes as Buck Cowan
Jessica Wesson as Kim

BAD GUY

Moran doesn’t care about the ecology; is greedy and pollutes to save money. Stomps fish into deck to kill it. Shoots dolphins with rifle. Makes fun of people, growls a lot. Smiles when he deliberately runs down Sandy’s raft. Hits at Flipper. Is a ‘bottom-feeder,’ a ‘butt-faced wombat,’ ‘less intelligent than a clam,’ and ‘sea-slime,’ according to various characters. Porter socks him and he does a back flip off the boat into ocean. In the book there is a photo showing him handcuffed, but the scene is not in the film.

CHARACTER

Mean, brutal but cowardly; won’t face Porter in fair fight one-on-one. Has a mean laugh. Enjoys his own jokes. Basic kid show bad guy; a century ago he’d be twirling his mustache, and saying "Curses!"

COMMENTS

Merchandise includes a calendar and a book:

Martin, Russell. Flipper: The Movie Storybook.

Based on the motion picture screenplay by Alan Shapiro.

Los Angeles: Price Stern Sloan, c1996. 32 p.

JB pictures: p.17, 25, 29, 30. Alas, no JB action figures, but we do get to admire his nice tan and his knees.

COSTUME

Moran wears tropical shorts and shirts, with a couple of military touches for the bad guy look. He has a chain or cord with dog-tags, metal rings, and key around his neck, and a cap with a "Special Warfare" and eagle logo. His deck shoes are dirty. JB has a beard for this role.

CRITICS

"(Jonathan Banks), the snarling villain... He gets his, though not quickly enough. The whole adventure plays like an elongated episode of the old half-hour... series." Daily Variety, 5/6/1996.

"Dirk has christened his boat with the preditory moniker Bounty Hunter, as if we needed any further hints... Dirk shoots at dolphins because, well, he’s just plain evil." Los Angeles Times, 5/16/1996, sec. F, p.1.

"Of course, there’s a heavy-handed plot. A hot-headed cruiser (perennial meanie JB) not only shoots dolphins, but may be dumping deadly waste…" Seattle Times, 5/17/1996, p.E7.

"…relatively tame adventure… but then, consider his adversary: a sneering, snarling villian (Jonathan Banks) who dumps toxic waste and shoots dolphins on sight." Entertainment Weekly, 10/11/1996.

"…passable family entertainment…" "Jonathan Banks plays the eco-villain—an evil toxic-waste dumper—with oily relish, but he, too, is upstaged by his underwater counterpart, a nasty-looking hammerhead shark…" Washington Post, 10/11/1996, p.D7.

LINES

(about boat) "Hey, Porter, at least it floats!"

"One dolphin is one too many."

"Well, isn’t that sweet. The kid and the fish are pals. You know, if I were you, boy, I’d watch how I chose my friends."

"There’ll be a next time!"

LOCATION

Filmed in the Bahamas, 6/6/1995-9/7/1995.

SCREEN TIME

About 7 minutes, in 9 scenes, throughout film.

WORKED WITH

Chelsea Field (TFC 4/1995)