11 August 2017

STUDIO GHIBLI PRESENTS: THE RED TURTLE. (2016) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE RED TURTLE. (2016) DIRECTED AND CO-WRITTEN BY MICHAEL DUDOK DE WIT FOR STUDIO GHIBLI. PRODUCED BY TOSHIO SUZUKI. MUSIC BY LAURENT PEREZ DEL MAR. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This one isn't out on home entertainment release until September, but I wasn't able to resist having a peek when it landed on my to-watch pile during the week. It's as visually stunning a production as you might expect, given that it's a Studio Ghibli film. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation film studio founded in 1985, based in Tokyo, Japan, and famous mainly for its ravishingly beautiful animé feature films.

They're the guys who brought us films like GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO, SPIRITED AWAY, GIOVANNI'S ISLAND, UP ON POPPY HILL, PRINCESS MONONOKE, MY NEIGHBOURS THE YAMADAS, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, THE CAT RETURNS, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, ARRIETTY, PONYO and THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA, amongst others.

Studio Ghibli is famous worldwide for the incredible beauty of its movies and the gorgeous animation that goes into them. In this respect, THE RED TURTLE is certainly able to take its place with pride amongst the Studio Ghibli creations that have preceded it.

There's no dialogue in it at all, quite an innovative and daring step for any studio to take. Without words to back them up, the action and visuals have pretty much got to be superlative. They've almost got to speak for themselves, as it were. In THE RED TURTLE, I think they do.

It's the story of a man who gets shipwrecked on a tropical island. It's a beautiful tropical island, the kind you'd pay good money to go to on your holliers, but it's completely deserted. No nightclubs, no Malibu, no fast foods, no lovely little exotic drinkies with cocktail umbrellas in 'em, no Wi-fi, no Bluetooth, no taxis and absolutely no Sheilas. No broads, no dames, no gals, no chicks, no nuthin.' None of the things that go to make a good holiday. 'Tis a shocking state of affairs altogether for a bloke on his own.

This is why he attempts, several times, to leave the island. It's got lots of delicious fresh fish and tropical fruits for him to eat and plenty of amusing little crabs (the darling little crabs are the comic relief), turtles and birds for company, but he just wants to get back to civilisation, presumably to check his emails and download some movies for the weekend, as is the way with these modern fellas. His attempts, however, aren't exactly an overwhelming success.

In fact (spoiler alert!), he never does leave this glorious but isolated island paradise, as an unexpected encounter with the titular 'red turtle' changes everything for our hero (well, he's not really a hero just because he got himself washed up on a desert island, is he? He didn't exactly find a cure for cancer...!) in ways you couldn't even imagine.

There's a bit of a twist in the film which I won't reveal, but let's just say that a rather shocking and distasteful act of violence perpetrated on a helpless animal turns out to be the start of a marvellous new existence for the Man. He gets to basically re-enact all the fun bits of THE BLUE LAGOON without any reprisals or consequences whatsoever to bring him down or harsh his groovy desert island buzz. 

I'm not exactly thrilled skinny about this. I love turtles, goddammit, even the gigantic ones which are actually a tiny bit scary because of their size. And the cute little baby turtles who try to flap their way clumsily from the sand, where they hatched out of the eggs their mothers laid, to the sea are so adorable you just want to take one home with you and keep it in your pocket. NB, this would probably lead to an uncomfortable death for the baby turtle so don't try that one at home.

But even Homer Simpson, in the episode of THE SIMPSONS in which the consumption of several Guatemalan insanity peppers leads to his taking a spiritual journey culminating in a visit to a lighthouse, didn't kill the turtle who pissed him off. He just gave him a boot in the rump. To this day, anyone in my family who's being too slow at getting ready to go out or whatever, is gently threatened with what we laughingly call 'a turtle boot.' 

This act of violence in THE RED TURTLE is why I wouldn't exactly recommend showing the film to small kiddies, and in fact the film does have a PG rating. It's also why I can't bring myself to be altogether happy for the Man's delightful new existence, but hey, boys and girls, it's a movie.

Maybe I shouldn't take it so seriously. I should just chill out a bit. Live a little. Turn a blind eye to things I find hard to stomach like everyone else does, haha. Oooops. Have I accidentally recorded a searing indictment on today's laissez-faire society? Nah. Hardly. I'm a natural blonde, you know. My brain doesn't go all the way to the top floor, obviously...!

Anyway, life goes on, the circle of life and nature's ballet continue unabated and our Man has quite a few more upheavals to endure before he can peacefully shuffle off his mortal coil under the stars of a magnificent tropical sky. It's a gorgeously watery film. If you like endless blue seascapes expertly drawn by a guy who really, really knows his stuff (check out the extra feature 'THE SECRETS OF THE RED TURTLE'), then this is surely the film for you.

Just to say also that the friend of mine with whom I watched THE RED TURTLE has her own theory about what's really going on in the film. There are a lot of dream sequences in the
movie and she says that everything that happens in the film after the Man meets the Red Turtle is an hallucination of his deranged mind and he's gonna wake up to find himself having sex with the Turtle's rotting corpse but, if you don't dig this rather bleak interpretation, you can always come up with your own. There doesn't always have to be bestiality. Time and a place and all that, haha. Enjoy the film. If you can, that is, now that I've put that nasty image into your head...!

STUDIOCANAL is pleased to announce that the Oscar-nominated and highly acclaimed THE RED TURTLE – a deeply moving and uplifting story about the power of the human spirit – arrives on Digital Download on 18th September 2017 and on DVD and Double Play (Blu-ray and DVD) on 25th September 2017. Pre-order now: http://scnl.co/RedTurtleDVD .

ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD 18th SEPTEMBER 2017
 ON DVD AND DOUBLE PLAY (BLU-RAY & DVD) 25th SEPTEMBER 2017
Courtesy of STUDIOCANAL and ORGANIC PUBLICITY.


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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