Animation has been at a very high point the past few years, mainly the CGI variety but also old-fashioned drawn animation, especially from studios like Japan’s Studio Ghibli. The Red Turtle is a co-production between the Japanese company and the French production studio The Wild Bunch and was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year.
The film starts with a man surviving a shipwreck and waking up on a deserted island ala Robinson Crusoe and tells of his struggle to survive and find a way off. Twice he builds a raft and both times it is destroyed just after he sets off by what he finds out is a large red shelled turtle. When he sees the turtle later come ashore he runs in a fit of anger and turns it over leaving it helpless. After a while remorse comes over him and he tries to revive the turtle but finds it too late. I won’t spoil the rest of the film and tell you what follows as it is a movie which really needs to be seen without much knowledge to get the full enjoyment from the story.
Director Michaël Dudok de Wit in his first feature has made a remarkable animated classic, that is not only beautifully drawn but has a story that is both touching and poignant. The colours on display are stunning, from almost sepia in tone to full-blown vibrant colours it certainly is a film for the eyes to behold. Also, it must be mentioned that there is no dialogue spoken at all, just the sounds of nature accompanied by the wonderful musical score by Laurent Perez Del Mar. It is a film that will stay with you long after you see it. It is not just a film about a desert island survivor, it is about life and death and all that goes in between. Truly wonderful.
The Blu ray released by Studio Canal has a superb 1080p transfer, crystal clear with bold colours it is a joy to watch. Audio has a choice of stereo or DTS 5.1 and the surround track gives you a great ambient experience and envelops you totally in the action. Extras are disappointing, all you get is The Secrets of the Red Turtle featurette, which while interesting is too short, the film deserves much more. Again the UK are let down in this regard as the Dutch release has two short films and an interview with the director.
A great animated feature which does not outstay its welcome, it’s just over 80 minutes and if you don’t normally watch animated movies do yourself a favour and see this one, you won’t regret it.
FILM: 9 PICTURE: 9 AUDIO: 9 EXTRAS: 3