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The Red Turtle

Score: 89%
Rating: PG
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 81 Mins.
Genre: Animated/Drama
Audio: English 5.1 DTS HD-MA, English -
           Audio Description Track 5.1
           Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH,
           Portuguese, Spanish


  • Commentary with Michael Dudok de Wit
  • The Birth of The Red Turtle
  • The Secrets of The Red Turtle
  • The Red Turtle at AFI Fest Q&A
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Red Turtle is an animated film produced and released by famed Studio Ghibli, but it's primarily the creation of Dutch animator, Michael Dudok de Wit, (Father and Daughter, winner of 2000's Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film). In The Red Turtle, a castaway not only learns to live on a deserted island, but also develops a surprising relationship along the way.

The first thing to note about The Red Turtle is that it has no dialogue. Besides the rare shout of fear or joy, the only audio you will hear in this movie is either the film's compelling musical score, or the sounds you could easily associate with a beach setting.

The Red Turtle follows a man who washes ashore with only the clothes on his back. Early on, he makes several attempts to leave the island, but it seems something is preventing him from getting very far. When he finally figures out what is sabotaging his voyages, the eponymous sea turtle, he ends up feeling a wide range of emotions. Everything from awe over the large creature to hatred and anger come bubbling up.

In a surprising turn of events, the castaway finds that he is no longer alone on the island and his focus shifts from trying to escape, to building a life with the lovely red-haired woman he encounters. It's hard to say much more about the film without revealing some of the unexpected directions it takes, but the story is a very satisfying one that feels right at home among indie film lovers.

Besides the fantastic charcoal-like artwork made even more stunning on Blu-ray, the The Red Turtle also has several extras. There is a commentary track by Dudok de Wit, as well as two featurettes. In one, he shows how several of the characters and settings are drawn and in another, he spends just under an hour discussing all aspects of the film's creation. This release also comes with the theatrical trailer and a Q&A session with Dudok de Wit at AFI Fest. All of these are sure to be interesting to anyone who enjoys the film.

While I can't say that The Red Turtle is for everyone, it is a film that is worth taking the time to watch and explore. I wouldn't expect it to be the type of movie to keep younger audiences compelled even though it is animated and has some cute creatures in it, but those who are looking for an expression of art over a big-budget Hollywood production will enjoy what they find here.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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