Grind­ing Nemo

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reviews -

CU­RI­OUSER AND cu­ri­ouser. There’s a mo­ment dur­ing this un­evenly an­i­mated ad­ven­ture when our chelonian hero finds him­self in the care of anti-Viet­nam War pro­test­ers. We’re still not en­tirely sure why these es­tu­ary­ac­cented(!) eco hip­pies are rounded up on what looks like an Aus­tralian beach.

But this dubbed Bel­gian ex­port isn’t aw­fully good on ge­og­ra­phy. How else might one ac­count for a UK ver­sion fea­tur­ing the voices of

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John Hurt, Do­minic Cooper and Robert Shee­han? US au­di­ences get to hear Stacy Keach, Me­lanie Grif­fith and Ed Be­g­ley Jr in the same film. What gives? No­body re­leases two An­glo­phone ver­sions un­less they’re sell­ing Toi­let Duck or Kinder Sur­prise. We smell Euro-Pud­ding.

We smell cor­rectly. There’s hardly any­thing about A Turtle’s Tale to sug­gest it was writ­ten in any known mod­ern lan­guage, let alone English. In this episodic trawl, Sammy al­most gets eaten by a seag­ull and spends decades hop­ing to run into the girl hatch­ling he met when he was born. Mostly, though, he drifts about on a raft en­coun­ter­ing neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal de­vel­op­ments.

The film’s clunky eco themes can’t dis­guise its true mean­ing. This is tod­dler fod­der, plain and sim­ple. The plot and di­a­logue lack co­her­ence. But when they say “eye-pop­ping 3D”, they re­ally mean it. Ten years on, co-pro­duced con­ti­nen­tal an­i­ma­tion is still not fluid enough to com­pete with Pixar’s Find­ing Nemo, but it can make merry with the tech­nol­ogy.

This is dayglo daz­zle un­til your eyes cross over. It’s a dig­i­tal cot mo­bile. A loudly coloured an­ti­dote to the dull im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence, A Turtle’s Tale is for all the tots who start fid­get­ing once the open­ing cred­its have stopped float­ing in front of your nose. So never mind the film’s strange cross-cul­tural ori­gins. In the end, it knows right where it wants to be: in your face.

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