The Red Turtle
A quick, amateurish review
If you were expecting a bubbly yet tear-jerking Miyazaki film you might come away disappointed. This is definitely not something most kids would enjoy, it features literally no dialogue, and the plot is only explored symbolically.
This is the director’s first feature film, despite an illustrious animation career, and it shows. I’m really glad I went to see it at the cinema, I really don’t think I could ever muster the willpower to watch it all in one sitting in any other setting. The pacing is actually really great, and the film is very gripping, but the narrative style would be easily disrupted by any distraction.
It really shines in the graphics department, this film is incredibly pretty. First of all, it has this wonderful paper-like texture, which reminds me of those illustrated travel albums popular in the 50s and 60s. The eyes of the human characters are very reminiscent of Tintin, while the rest of the graphic style is a wonderful mix of adventure comics, like Tintin itself and the always wonderful Corto Maltese.
It manages to be both calm and suspenseful, without ever quitting its detached magical realism, it weaves a tale of survival and family rich with symbolism.
Pretty much every single frame looks wonderful enough to print it out and hang it on a wall, so do yourself a favour, and either watch it in a cinema or buy the Blu Ray. I’m not sure how rewatchable it is, but do not let yourself be tempted by the 720p version floating around the net.