Review: Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2009)

Director: Nick Stringer | 81 minutes | documentary | Dutch voice cast: Georgina Verbaan

Nature films are timeless, just think of Jacques Cousteau’s underwater films. Sometimes that produces gems such as ‘Microcosmos’ or ‘Earth’. And sometimes it is impressive, as with ‘March of the Penguins’, not because it is visually stunning, but it is nature itself that amazes you. ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ falls into the latter category.

Turtles are cute and it’s fun to watch them survive in the Pacific. Although fun, it is actually a lonely existence full of danger that lurks. From birth they have to survive on their own and that is not easy. If it is not natural enemies that make this almost impossible, then it is humans who are a serious threat from line fishing from fishing boats. Just like in ‘Earth’, in ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ a message is conveyed that we bear the responsibility, must have more respect for nature and must act consciously so that turtles will soon have a beach where they can lay their eggs on. can breed. Because for millions (!) Of years, even in the time of the dinosaur,

It is almost magical how these turtles have lived and managed to survive for so long and it makes a nice story for a documentary. What is disappointing about ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is that it is not always beautifully executed. It can be clearly seen that blue screen technology has been used regularly, for example at the meeting between Turtle and the shark Finn. This comes across as very unnatural, something that is extra disappointing in a nature film. It also seems as if images are sometimes colored so that it looks ‘more beautiful’ than it really is. The sunlight that shines through the water really looks different underwater, something that avid snorkelers and divers will immediately recognize. The latter may also be due to the fact that the first part of the film in which the newborn Turtle is transported by the Gulf Stream to the North Pole, was shot in a large aquarium. A handy solution for something that would otherwise have probably taken too long – or was too expensive – to film.

Besides the fact that ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is visually a bit disappointing, it will also disappoint for some that it is really a children’s film. The simple commentary is clearly written for the small audience, which is further emphasized by the somewhat childish voice of Georgina Verbaan. Apparently this was deliberately chosen because in the original English version the film is voiced by the actress Miranda Richardson, also known for her role as Rita Skeeter in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ (2005). You know exactly when the remark “ah how sweet” and the screams will come from the more exciting scenes from the children’s mouths. That is clearly aimed at in ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’. This is of course no reason not to see the film about the turtle,

It is striking that ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is packed with music. In a nature film, too little music is a better choice than too much. It’s all about the images and nature has its own sound, you don’t want to drown that out. With a nature film for children it is a different story, there are also fewer sounds under water (that we can hear?) Than above water. Predictable yet funny is that when the sharks come into the picture, the well-known ‘Jaws’ tune is incorporated into the music. A strange and unexpected choice of music is the theme song of the BBC television series “Miss Marple” from the 80s and 90s (with Joan Hickson as Jane Marple) by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley.

All in all, ‘Turtle: The Incredible Journey’ is a nice nature film for (grand) parents who want to let their (grand) children watch an educational film for a change. Although the makers have done their best to make it a visually beautiful film, the adult viewer should watch ‘Planet Earth: Ocean Deep’ from the well-known BBC television series to be impressed.

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