Parents' Guide to

A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Ocean tale should amuse, educate young kids about sea life.

Movie NR 2012 85 minutes
A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 4+

Constantly Tense 4 YO. Check

This movie seems like it was made for 3D, as there are several unnecessary foreground cameos. It's a little like watching the old 3D movies where a guy is suddenly and inexplicably shooting a yo-yo at the camera. I can't imagine that the 3D would've justified this movie, but without the 3D, it's thoroughly pointless. There are 2 main focuses of this movie: mating, and the destruction of the ocean by humans. The destruction of the ocean is constant, with oil spills, whale fishing, garbage dumping, etc. and it's heavy handed enough for any adults to get eyestrain from constant rolling. My 4 YO was crying during portions of this movie and required calming down. Sammy, the main character is constantly being chased by sharks, snakes, piranha, and people. He is in a constant state of loneliness because he is constantly being separated from his mate and friends. The movie ends with the turtles meeting up in an old ship where turtles are getting together in dark corners. It goes over the kids' heads, but it's a little creepy for a kids movie. If the grandkids are over and you have have just woken up from a 60 year coma and have never seen a 3D movie before, maybe this will be good for you. For everyone else, you can safely pass.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 5+

Pretty but dystopian

Visually, this movie is well-produced. We enjoyed the soundtrack and we found the turtles’ swimming realistic and effective. Beyond that, real understanding of sea turtle behavior and the ocean environment is traded for a heavy-handed odyssey through as many human-created threats and obstacles as could fit in the time allotment. The thin narrative zips from one near miss to another, intent on a worldwide tour of environmental destruction barely strung together with the desire of our lovelorn turtle hero to see his intended again. Even 20 minutes in, the overwhelming message of the film is that humans have made the world a horrible place for turtles and the turtles’ own persistence, hope and random luck keep them alive. We parents were pretty overwhelmed with the intensity of the action and pressed pause to check in with our kiddo: What do we think so far? What is something humans can do to help protect and preserve ocean habitat and wildlife? —Our little one had ready and helpful answers, which helped us endure the remainder of the film. That the old turtle starts the movie telling the story offers assurance that he gets out alive—but barely, the movie shows, time and time again. Yeah, this is just a movie, but I’m a firm believer in a balanced presentation of issues to kids. By repeatedly presenting destruction and threats (even the wildlife rescue) no space is left for wonder or responsible stewardship. A few incidental seconds of a couple of snorkelers saying, “Look, a turtle! Let’s stay out of his way” would have added buoyancy to this otherwise sinking raft.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (3 ):

A TURTLE'S TALE is a noticeable improvement to Ben Stassen's other historical drama Fly Me to the Moon. The story is considerably more accessible to kids, the characters are better developed, and the messages aren't as preachy. Kids familiar with Finding Nemo (and loved the segment with Crush the sea turtle and his family) will be particularly interested in a movie dedicated to the life of a sea turtle, one of the ocean's longest-living animals.

Part coming-of-age tale, part environmental lesson, the movie should teach children about the importance of ocean preservation and the life of sea turtles while also entertain them with silly characters (Ray is the classic goofball best friend) and a series of adventures that teach Sammy about being a responsible citizen of the sea as well as a good friend. It may not be Pixar, but it's a surprisingly educational pick for younger kids with a curiosity about the sea.

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