The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) Reviews
This is quite a different film compared to the studio's more famous works (which should be no surprise to people up-to-date on Ghibli's releases), which features no dialogue, but supplements the otherwise silent characters with indiscernible noise when calling out or yelling. This element is surprisingly effective; it allows the viewer to focus uninterrupted on the movements of the characters to interpret the silent emotions. The obvious limitation starts to take hold as the movie goes on, however, as I personally wished for some verbal confirmation in confusing or dramatic events. The visuals offer lush color to match the island environment with nothing profoundly novel for animated film but certainly nothing less than Ghibli's artistry.
The story itself is one that lingers after the credits roll. This is due in part to a deep meaning seemingly conveyed but difficult to peg, and in part due to the narrative not being your typical Western-American story. This harkens back to Ghibli's "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2014)", which boasted a unique art style but a skittish narrative. Appreciators of that film will enjoy this, however that same dissatisfaction plagues me here as well. The are certainly many metaphors/allusions given, including scenes of flying birds and different stages of the moon (the former being hopelessly repetitive), but the lack of dialogue puts perhaps too much burden on the audience to derive what isn't being said. And in that regard, the mystical elements of "The Red Turtle" are defended at all levels of the film.
Movie Review: The Red Turtle
Date Viewed: January 31 2017
Directed By Michael Dudok de Wit
Written By Michael Dudok de Wit and Pascale Ferran
"The Red Turtle" would certainly make you want to live in a tropical island. It is a beautifully animated film that's really short and has very little dialogue. It's about a nameless man who gets shipwrecked on an island where he amazingly discovers a big red turtle. You may think that it's just a dialogue-free story about a man who explores a friendship with a red turtle but "The Red Turtle" is much more than that.
After getting washed ashore on the tropical island, the nameless man tries building a raft from bamboo in an attempt to escape from the island but the raft gets destroyed by an unknown creature. He tries a few more attempts to escape but even building bigger rafts aren't enough to stop the creature which the man discovers is a red turtle. Why does the red turtle not want the man to leave the island?
One evening, the angry and frustrated man sees the red turtle on the beach so he flips it over on its back and he hits the turtle in the head with a bamboo stick. When the man is halfway through in building another raft, he starts to feel guilty about his actions against the turtle so he catches a fish and gives it to the turtle but he discovers that he has died.
Suddenly, the turtle's shell starts to split open and to the man's surprise, the turtle miraculously turns into a woman. Since they are the only two humans on the island, the man and the woman form a relationship and they have a child together. As the years go by, the man grows more adjusted to the island and his son has grown into a fine young man as he discovers more red turtles in the ocean.
I would've liked to know more about the red turtle and the whole array of red turtles that are living in the ocean but nevertheless, director and co-writer Michael Dudok de Wit has crafted a lavishing and eloquent animated film. Produced by Studio Ghibli, the same animated division that delivered Hayao Miyazaki's animated classics such as "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away", "The Red Turtle" is a quiet and moving animated film with beautiful island imagery and a rich musical score.
Even if it's not your kind of animated film, I still say you should see "The Red Turtle" even though it has no talking and is very short (80 minutes long).