“in this film you won’t find a cross-dressing Ken doll, or wise-cracking, leery sidekick”
Not your typical animated film, A Turtle’s Tale (dubbed ‘turtley awesome’ by whatever marketing genius Optimum hired) focuses on the life of Sammy (Dominic Cooper); a chipper little green back hatchling, with a percent for dangerous situations; and best friend Ray (Robert Sheenan). Of course there’s a love interest as well, and the film only really gets going when Sammy bumps into lost love Shelly (Gemma Arterton). Separated at hatching, the two star-crossed lovers reunite, and embark on a quest to find the secret passage to the ice sea. Sadly, after run-ins with alligators, hawks, and an environmental research lab, they become separated, and Sammy’s priorities shift from finding adventure, to finding his missing mate.
I hate to give a film three stars (am I saying it’s good, bad or am I just indifferent?) but unfortunately this turtle’s tale falls smack-bang on mediocre. The use of 3D in the stunningly colourful underwater seascapes is unparalleled in animation; there’re a few good songs, and most importantly of all, I actually cared about Sammy (I know that doesn’t say much for my mental health, but it’s important in the film). However, a complete lack of direction almost ruins what otherwise could plausibly be described as an ‘emotional rollercoaster’; Sammy almost dies, meets the love of his life and a new best friend in the first ten minutes; but the rest of the film fails to live up to the initially rapid pace, as any excitement generated with the search for Shelly is ruined with Sammy’s frustrating reluctance to declare his feelings, and an annoyingly rushed ending.
It soon becomes clear that what at first appears to be a light, adventurous romp, is in fact a vehicle for thinly-veiled environmental propaganda; as Sammy and his friends battle through oil spills, fishing nets, rubbish dumps; human involvement that is equal to (if not greater than) the dangers of the sea. Despite this serious edge, one thing that is made very clear is that Sammy’s tale was designed for children. Forget toilet humour, racy music and Shrek-esque euphemisms; in this film you won’t find a cross-dressing Ken doll, or wise-cracking, leery sidekick whose only purpose is to make accompanying adults chuckle. And it’s nice. All too often kid’s films are sauced-up in a desperate bid to snare the parental vote; and while I’m all for chucking long-suffering mum and dad a bone (or jokes about getting high on frankincense and myrrh; y’no, whatever floats your boat) it’s a welcome change.
More ‘turtley ok’ than ‘turtley awesome’; with the best 3D since Avatar, and a decent (albeit at times vague) storyline, is you can stomach the irritatingly moral undertone then this Turtle’s Tale is worth a watch.
Beth Cook, Film Editor