The unique element to a Disney documentary is its focus on storytelling. Each one creates characters and crafts a narrative around the various elements on display. It can be a little trough for traditional documentary fans to get used to, as a narrator ascribes internal thoughts and motivations to a living creature that we can’t possibly understand that well, but if you let yourself get caught up, it can take you on a lovely journey. For Dolphin Reef, the narrative mostly surrounds Echo, a juvenile pacific bottlenose dolphin. Echo relies on his mother, Kumu, to help him survive, but eventually, like all children, he’s got to learn to make it on his own.

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