Tea & Review: The Red Turtle (2016)

The Red Turtle is an animated film about a man stranded on an island who later meets a large red turtle, hence the title. It is also a Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch film. This is the first film for Studio Ghibli since 2014. While this is the first feature film for animator director Michaël Dudok de Wit.

There is no dialogue in the film, except for a few yells or screams. It is a near-silent movie if not for the abundance of background noises. It creates the realization that the world is not silent and words are not needed. In a way, this is a complete action movie. With the lack of dialogue, it is the characters actions and movements are what drive this story along.
It is a very simple but interesting movie to watch. The main character is stranded on an island away from civilization. It can be counted as a movie where the man gets acquainted with nature again. With the added fantasy element with a red turtle. But for myself, it is more than that.
Rather the island, the turtle, the fantasy of it is extra, and this is a story of a person’s life. When we first see the main character, we don’t know anything about him. We continuously don’t know his background because it is not important who he used to be. All we know is something as happened, and he’s thrown into a situation where he did not think he would be in. Then he has to figure out how to live his life after this moment.
This can be any person that has gone through a situation no matter how big or small. Then continue living after that moment. A simple example is moving to somewhere new, it doesn’t even have to be a different country or state even. Even moving from one part of a city or town to another. A person’s schedule and habits have to change in the new environment. And the period of figuring things out. It is not so different from the main character’s situation. His situation is a more dramatic version.
Lastly, there is always something, about a Studio Ghibli film that brings something extra to an animated film.   It could be the fact that everything looks hand drawn and animated.  Giving it a smoothness and extra breath of life, that is sometimes missing with other animated films.  The Red Turtle fits comfortably in that position. The film combines what looks like watercolor and fine ink pen lines. It creates a soft but sharp look to the animation, giving it a storybook quality that fits this fantasy story.  The scene would not look out-of-place in a children’s storybook.  The movie is truly beautiful to watch.
In general, The Red Turtle is worth a viewer’s time. It is beautiful in the animation and in the storyline. It is hard to describe this movie because it is so simple.  That in a way, watching the movie is the only way to understand and experience it.   Plus if you are a studio Ghibli fan this is a movie worth two-year waiting time.

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