October 17, 2012

A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures (2010)

AFTER HIS LACKLUSTER ANIMATED FILM Fly Me to The Moon in 2008, director Ben Stassen knew he had to step up his game for his next effort.

And while his follow-up A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures is no masterpiece, it’s lightyears better than Moon. (See what I did there? Lightyears? Moon? It’s a space joke, people.)

A Turtle’s Tale follows the journey of Sammy (voiced by Ben 10’s Yuri Lowenthal), a sea turtle who leaves the beach where he was born and spends the next 50 years exploring the world's oceans -- all while trying to find his first love, a female turtle named Shelly (Gemma Arterton).

Comparisons between A Turtle’s Tale and Finding Nemo are unavoidable and numerous – a sea creature searching the oceans for a missing loved one, meeting all walks (and swims) of life, encountering danger from both sea and man…yet there’s one area for comparison that is in A Turtle’s Tale’s favor: the animation. Stassen’s team has done a superior job of creating an underwater world that’s rich in colors, extremely fluid, and intricately detailed.

Despite this deep, lush world of CGI animation, the themes and characters in A Turtle’s Tale are ironically two-dimensional. All attempts at emotion or depth seem flat and uninspired, Sammy’s many adventures across the sea are less compelling than they should be, and when he finally finds Shelly (what, you thought he wouldn’t?), it’s one of the more anticlimactic reunions between two lost loves in recent memory, turtle or otherwise.

Another turn-off is the heavy-handed environmental message. In addition to fighting foes in the ocean, Sammy battles oil spills, plastic bags, trees being felled in a rain forest, pollution dumped in the ocean, and humans trying to harpoon whales. He even gets a peace sign painted on his shell by a family of neo-hippies he meets in his travels.

In addition to Lowenthal and Arterton, A Turtle’s Tale features celebrity voices by Anthony Anderson as Sammy’s best friend (and fellow turtle) Ray, Tim Curry as a mischievous cat, and Kathy Griffin as a wisecracking mama turtle.

A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures is a simple story of one little turtle’s journey through life. Unfortunately, its simplicity is also its downfall. It’s sweet but not sensational, nice but not awesome, watchable but far from a classic.

Not that any of that stopped Stassen: He released A Turtle's Tale 2 earlier this year.


What did FilmBoy think?
He gave it 3 stars, saying it was a good movie…but he couldn’t think of anything specifically good about it.

Is it suitable for your kids?
A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures is rated PG for mild peril. Baby turtles are in danger of being picked off by seagulls during their dash from the beach to the ocean; Sammy and Shelly face random perils via a bald eagle, the blades of a tanker, and various predator fish; and whalers attempt to spear a humpback whale. There’s also ongoing discussion of finding a perfect mate, but nothing inappropriate for grade-school kids. Maybe proceed with caution with preschoolers and younger.

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
She’ll probably find A Turtle’s Tale cute and harmless, but otherwise unmemorable.

Owwww…getitoff, getitoff, GETITOFF!!

A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures
* Director: Ben Stassen
* Screenwriters: Ben Stassen, Dominic Paris
* Stars: Yuri Lowenthal, Anthony Anderson, Gemma Arterton, Melanie Griffith, Isabelle Fuhrman, Sydney Hope Banner, Ed Begley Jr., Kathy Griffin, Tim Curry, Jenny McCarthy
* MPAA Rating: PG

Rent A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures from Netflix >>

1 comment:

Budd said...

I didn't even know that this movie existed. That can't be good when it comes to kids movies and having two kids that watch kid channels all the time.

hope you plan on participating for the Scare Me! Blogfest.


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