As is the case with all of Studio Ghibli’s hand-drawn animated dramas, including “Ponyo” and “The Wind Rises”, their latest, “The Red Turtle”, is incredibly picturesque. The scenery, consisting of landscapes, seascapes, sunrises and shots of the glowing moon, is absolutely gorgeous. However, even though it’s never uninteresting and presents challenges in its interpretation, “The Red Turtle” is not on the same level as the studio’s finest work.
This film has practically no dialogue – a technique that works and is appropriate considering the circumstances of the story. The premise is simple: a sailor gets washed ashore on a deserted island during a storm at sea. In his attempts to leave, he comes in contact with a giant red turtle, and eventually, a woman and a boy.
Oscar-winning co-writer and director Michael Dudok de Wit has crafted a visually stunning allegory on life and time through the small handful of human and animal characters that come and go throughout the film. Yet, even in this context, some of the elements don’t flow together well (or make sense), and the power of the heavy symbolism is muted due to a climax that’s far from unexpected.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “The Red Turtle” gets a B-.
Running Time: 81 min.