A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Turtle's Tale 2 is the sequel to the Belgian animated adventure A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures and includes some scary scenes and characters, a villainous (albeit small) bully, and a lot more alcohol than is usually depicted in kids' movies. The alcohol is courtesy of the setting: an upscale underwater restaurant/aquarium, where bartenders make lots of cocktails for adult diners. There's also some romance between animal mates, as with the hogfish and the protagonist turtles when they reunite with their wives. Young kids will learn about various sea animals and their life cycles.
What's the story?
Sage old green sea turtle Sammy (Billy Unger) and his best friend, leatherback turtle Ray (Carlos McCullers II), are protecting their hatchling grandturtles as they make their way to the sea when out of nowhere a group of poachers captures them and two of the baby turtles, Ricky (Carter Hastings) and Ella. The older turtles land in a huge tank that's part of an upscale restaurant's underwater aquarium. They immediately want to find a way to break out, but the tank is "run" by a mob boss-like seahorse, Big D. Meanwhile, Ricky and Ella manage to escape and are left on their own to attempt to save their grandpas.
Is it any good?
This isn't a Pixar-level animated film, but, for a preschool-friendly streaming rental, it has just the right mix of adventure, humor, and a good message. Although the animals are sometimes strangely anthropomorphized (the adult turtles look a bit like bald elderly humans with shells, and the hogfish have overly stereotypical Spanish accents), the story is easy for kids to understand and allows for intergenerational saving of the day. The two grandfather turtles are on a mission to escape their aquarium prison and get back to their hatchlings, and the juvenile turtles are desperate to help free their grandfathers.
The aquarium story line provides a good starting point for discussing bullies -- the one in the movie being a wee but fierce little seahorse, who sounds like a New York City mafia don -- and stressing the idea that, with the right amount of teamwork and persistence, even the very difficult seems doable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages about friendship, family, and even dealing with bullies. How do Sammy and Ray stand up to Big D? What is their motivation for getting out of the aquarium?
What did you learn about the various sea animals? Which human characteristics or traits did they have?
How does the movie compare to the original? Does the sequel stand on its own, or do you need to be familiar with the first film to appreciate this one?
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