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What to know: A quiet, visually stunning film from Studio Ghibli.
Recommended age 8-18
80 minutes
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RED TURTLE, THE cover image Click to play video trailer
I enjoyed the film The Red Turtle, even though I didn't understand some parts of it. This movie is mostly without words except words like "Hey!" and "Ugg!". It starts with a person being flung around by waves who then swims over to a boat that has tipped over. I'm guessing that might have been the boat he was in. Then we see him being washed up onto an island. He starts to explore and he thinks he sees another person but it's only seaweed. He hears a voice but it is only a seal. Then he goes out to explore the island and you get to see what it looks like. There is a mountain, a bamboo forest, a beach and a cluster of boulders. Next, he is on top of a mountain and yells out to see if anyone else is on the island. No one replies and he accepts that no one else on the island. He climbs back down and begins to search the jungle, finds a tree with fruit and begins to eat it. He also finds a little pond.

He is going along pretty well when he decides to build a raft to get of this island he is stranded on. He gathers bamboo to build the raft and, once he gets it done, he sets of to sea. A bit into the journey, his raft starts shaking and breaks apart. He does not find the source of his raft breaking and swims back to the island where he faces troubles and has to problem solve many times.

This film has a way of drawing you in and getting you emotionally connected to the characters, so you get worried when they are hurt or something bad happens. I believe that is a good thing to see in a movie because it means the people who made this film made it seem real. That is a good trait that films should have.

There is one thing that is not realistic, and that is the animation. Even though it does not look real, it is beautiful because of its amazing colors and the movement of the trees, water and animals. I also enjoyed the music which is lovely and shows the emotions that the characters are feeling which is definitely a good thing since there is no dialogue.

The Red Turtle is a wonderful movie that I would recommend for ages 7 to 18 and 4 � out of 5 stars because of its beauty.

KIDS FIRST! Reporter, Nathaniel B., age 10

The latest Studio Ghibli release, The Red Turtle is a quiet, visually stunning film that represents a new direction for the Japanese film studio. Directed by Dudok de Wit, the animated film is the first time the studio has commissioned a director from outside Japan.

The Red Turtle is a desert island, castaway story that morphs into a charming fairytale. A man is stranded on a desert island. He tries to leave by building a raft, but each time he gets shipwrecked by a red turtle. The rest of the story is magical, so I don't want to be a spoiler. The story is completely told through imagery. There is no real dialogue in the film.

The animation is quite beautiful. It appears to be hand-painted with water colors. It does not have a saturated, south seas palette as one would expect, but rather a more subtle use of color. Some of it monochromatic. The music helps tell the story as well. All the music goes well with the scenes, rising in intensity when needed.

This is a very contemplative film. At first, I thought it didn't fit into the Studio Ghibli oeuvre. But after thinking about the last few films from the studio, I see why they commissioned it. I'm thinking of the later Ghibli films from 2011 and onward - From Up on Poppy Hill, The Wind Rises, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There. They are all of a much softer palette and slower pace than earlier Ghibli films.

The other aspect that this film has in common with other Studio Ghibli films is its inventiveness. There are cute, charming creatures in The Red Turtle, which help move the story along and provide comic relief. Another is the Ghibli respect for nature and for dealing with important subjects, such as life and death, survival and ecology.

The Red Turtle is the complete opposite of today's fast-paced entertainment and, for that reason I think the film is appropriate for more mature kids, ages 13 to 18. Seen in context with other Ghibli films, it's a satisfying entertainment experience. I give the film 4 out of 5 stars.

Review by Clayton Pickard, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

A massive sea turtle destroys a stranded man's raft every time he tries to sail away from a tropical island.
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