There’s something intrinsically fun about cartoon turtles — from the surfer crew in Finding Nemo to the karate-kicking mutant gang from the ’80s.
We had never seen the original Sammy film, A Turtle’s Tale, but that didn’t stop us enjoying the brand new adventure, Sammy’s Great Escape.
The Belgian animated film features leatherback turtles Sammy and Ray, along with two hatchlings Ricky and Ella, who get snatched by poachers and transported thousands of miles from home.
Sammy and Ray wind up as part of the main attraction in a gigantic aquarium surrounding an underwater restaurant in Dubai. Meanwhile, the hatchlings get lost at sea.
Ricky and Ella have to find their way back to their grandparents and then help them make a daring escape from their aquatic prison.
Most of the action is set in the aquarium where Sammy and Ray are trying to get out, but keep finding their plans thwarted by the crusty who runs things — a seahorse with a bit of a Napoleon complex.
There’s some witty banter throughout although the plot doesn’t crackle along as much as a typical Dreamworks or Disney Pixar flick.
I also thought there were rather a lot of narrative strands for young ones to follow. But this didn’t seem to bother my 7-year-old who sat transfixed by the stunning graphics and non-stop action on-screen.
The film is recommended for ages 4+ and there are some pretty intense scenes — especially when the little turtles are being chased by some very snappy sharks (Jed, almost 4, was on my lap holding on for dear life).
But overall this is a light, colourful and upbeat film with a heartwarming message about family and friendship and never giving up on the ones you care for. One week after we saw it, Ezra’s still talking about how ‘Sammy’s Great Escape was totally awesome’.
Sammy’s Great Escape opens at cinemas nationwide on Feb 15