Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2010 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard // January 8th, 2012
He's Turtley Amazing!
Despite initial appearances which suggest a generic animation aimed at the under tens, A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures actually proves to be a film with some real substance. Born in 1959, Sammy is a young turtle unsure of just how to make his way in the big ocean. With his friend Ray by his side, Sammy travels the world over the course of fifty years, getting into adventures and witnessing first hand man's effect on the environment. But through it all, Sammy pines for Shelly, the female turtle he met shortly after hatching, though fate seems determined to keep them apart.
Though the computer generated animation is excellent-surprisingly so-and frequently reveals a level of artistry that one would expect of Pixar, the film falters due to a screenplay that feels too episodic. Though each segment of Sammy's journey will undoubtedly delight little ones, watching adults will find themselves wondering how important characters can be forgotten so regularly, only to return out of the blue years later. Still, the central story of Sammy's quest to find his beloved Shelly proves engaging enough to weather such storms. A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures should also be commended for its relatively gentle message on the importance of looking after our environment; and though the occasional scene may be a little heavy handed in getting the message across (such as an oil spill early on), there's little chance of it distressing children in the same way the final act of Happy Feet might. One other gripe I had with the film was the distinct lack of grandeur to Sammy's tale. The story spans 50-years, starting with Sammy's birth and ending on the day he becomes a grandfather. Problem is, A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures crams in around the first fifteen or so years of Sammy's life, then abruptly jumps some thirty odd years in the final scene. Still, this shouldn't cause any concern for children, who will most likely be enthralled with Sammy and his friends as they are chased by piranhas, or get taken in by well meaning environmentalists.
The voice cast proves a success, with the right blend of warmth and comedy helping to enliven the story. Standing out from the crowd, however, is Anthony Anderson (Transformers), as Sammy's fast-talking buddy, Ray, who works the scripts comedic moments better than most.
The DVD features a colorful standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, and a sharpness that really helps bring the world to life. Small details are evident, and really show off some of the exceptional underwater vistas. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is clear, but only really comes to life when one of the pop songs featured on the soundtrack is introduced. Though released in 3D theatrically, the DVD only includes the 2D version of the film. There are no special features included on the single-disc release.
Well-meaning, and not without its charms, A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures may not sit at the top table of children's animation, but should still provide perfect entertainment for children aged ten and under.
Review content copyright © 2012 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated