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Turtle's Tale, A: Sammy's Adventures (3D)


Stars: Voices: Dominic Cooper, Gemma Arterton, John Hurt, Kayvan Novak

Director: Ben Stassen

People who like spending hours in aquariums will probably enjoy this English-language version of an ecologically-aware Belgian cartoon about the first 50 years of a turtle's life. Unfortunately, the story is somewhat underwhelming as well as being underwater and the film wears its bleeding heart rather too firmly on its sleeve.

Sammy, as a baby, survives initial attacks by gulls, only to be later assaulted by the perils of oil spills, fishing nets, sewage pollution and plastic bags. Hippie human acquaintances become first involved with the CND, then take on whalers as part of the Greenpeace movement. The film is almost embarrassingly PC, so much so that it hurts.

The 3D effects are good though, highlighted by a snake hissing and spitting out of the screen, but the voice work is below par, apart from Hurt as the nostalgia-tinged voice of the older Sammy. Arterton and Cooper may have been red-hot lovers in Tamara Drewe, but they can't cut it as amorous turtles.

The hero and heroine, Sammy and Shelley (geddit?) are chased by sharks - but aren't all cartoon minnows? - and only a French-accented cat comes close to being a real character. Never mind, the undersea scenes are beautiful, even if there are an awful lot of them.

David Quinlan

Belgium 2009. UK Distributor: Optimum. Colour by FotoKem.
88 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Mar 2011