Trailer Round-Up

While the Oscar-nominated films may already be out or due for imminent release, there are plenty of films still to look forward to this year…


Following 2010’s immensely tense 127 Hours, Danny Boyle returns with Trance. The film is a psychological thriller featuring an art auctioneer, a missing painting, a hypnotherapist and a criminal gang. Starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson, Trance is released in UK cinemas on 27th March 2013.

To The Wonder

As the above trailer exhibits, To The Wonder is teeming with the kind of beautiful images we have come to expect from director Terrence Malick. Starring Ben Affleck as a man torn between Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams, To The Wonder is released on 22nd February 2013.

Sammy’s Great Escape

Sammy does not seem to have aged a day! Sammy’s Great Escape appears to be the sequel to A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures. The first film had a definite environmentalist angle, so it will be interesting to see the spin of this new film. Sammy’s Great Escape is in UK cinemas from 15th February 2013.

The Place Beyond The Pines

Ryan Gosling reunites with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance in The Place Beyond The Pines. The crime drama features an all-star cast including Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper and Ray Liotta. The Place Beyond The Pines is released in UK cinemas on 12th April 2013.

Film Review: A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures

Even the youngest of cinemagoers need some semblance of a plot to keep them entertained. While A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures’ use of 3D may be alluring, the film is let down by poor writing.

Sammy’s first encounter with danger occurs minutes after he hatches. Sammy survives the incident, but goes on to face further danger on his fifty-year long journey across the seas. During this time, the turtle meets new friends, encounters humans, and sees the world change…

A Turtle’s Tale screenwriter Domonic Paris seems to have made no attempt to create an engaging narrative. The film covers the fifty years in the life of a turtle, yet nothing particularly remarkable happens. There is no real sense of danger in the scenes that are meant to be dramatic, and the only comedy is the unintentional humour derived from the accompanying soundtrack. Instead of score, A Turtle’s Tale features a number of well-known tunes; their inclusion seems at odds with the nature of the film.

The bland writing is exacerbated by the complete lack of character development. All the characters in the film are one-dimensional. Even protagonist Sammy, who may be cute but is given very little personality. There is even less of an effort with the supporting characters. Sammy and Ray are supposed to be friends who have spent years together, but there is nothing that particularly conveys their closeness. None of the characters have any rapport with each other, thanks to the lazy writing.

Instead of an interesting narrative with the purpose of entertaining, the filmmakers noticeably push their agenda. A Turtle’s Tale is a warning on the implications of pollution and the harm humans do to animals and the environment. There is nothing wrong with this message, but there is zero subtlety in the delivery. Instead of feeding this message into the plot, A Turtle’s Tale takes every opportunity to harp on about the damage created by humans. The entire film is geared to endorse this message. As a result, it feels as if director Ben Stassen is preaching rather than attempting to entertain.

The animation is fine, but not exceptional. Where A Turtle’s Tale excels is in its use of 3D. The images look fantastic, particularly on a big screen. It is a pity that the film was not engineered as a documentary; it may have worked better in this format. A Turtle’s Tale is likely to leave even young children frustrated with its lack of ideas.

A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures was shown at the BFI IMAX as a special British Film Institute members screening.