The British take on computer animation has thus far been a sour
one. Be it Valiant or The Wild, anything not involving a cheese-loving
bald inventor and his sarcy dog has been lacking in script and generally
forgettable. With the British industry in uncertain times it’s been
more important than ever to keep the family market in mind especially
with the Potter franchise drawing to a close, and so perhaps more
pressure is riding on this small turtle than what could have been.
Turtle Tales starts with a struggle as young Sammy (voiced by squeaky Dominic Cooper)
breaks through his shell and braves the prolonged journey to the beach.
Viewers of wildlife documentaries the world over know this is rarely a
successful mission but the facts of life seldom apply to children’s
films and after a brief encounter with some peckish seagulls Sammy and
his new friends are in the ocean.
In the pursuit of his childhood sweetheart (Tamara Drewe co-star Gemma Aterton) Sammy travels the world with BFF Robbie (Misfit’s Robert Sheehan)enduring
various capers with piranhas, eagles, hippies, sharks and a cripplingly
stereotypical French moggy. A lot of said capers are overly familiar to
viewers of Nemo/Sharks Tale and pray on the clichés of modern societies
(e.g. a chavvy turtle) but the animation is stunning none the less,
with an extraordinary use of colour and choreography.
There’s little to offer parents apart from this; the humour, narrative and general script are aimed at strictly kids only.
The central characters still are well voiced and extremely cute though,
carrying the weight of the film beyond some minor peril and a lifetime
The success of many animated films is the impression left by the
supporting characters which, with theexception of Sheehan’s Robbie is
lacking and could add a little depth to the mission, similarly to Nemo’s
turtles or the inhabitants of Far Far Away in Shrek. The humour
in turn could be laid on thicker, giving way in this instance to talks
of overcoming your fears, chasing your dreams etc.
Turtle Tales won’t be something you’ll be itching to see again but
for an hour or so you’ll be able to escape in a flurry of coral and
catfish and the children you’ll undoubtedly have as a reason for going
will love it. The 3d element is well used more to add depth to the
landscape than for the odd gimmick (although there are just a few of
these)adding to the general short lived fun emanating from Sammy’s
mishaps. Lessons are learned, turtles grow as turtles and there’s an
all round happy ending. It does little more than tick the boxes but
from a visual stance marks a promising evolution for British animation
which is exactly what we need to see right now.