Opinions, Reviews, Studio Ghibli, Studios

Studio Ghibli Countdown: ‘The Red Turtle’

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The Red Turtle is Studio Ghibli’s most recent theatrical release, which made its debut last year. The film is a co-production with Prima Linea Productions and is the studio’s first film not produced in Japan. It tells the story of a shipwrecked man on a deserted island whose encounter with a red turtle changes his life forever.

The Red Turtle is very different than any other Studio Ghibli film I’ve ever seen and, if I didn’t know it was a Studio Ghibli film, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell, so it’s not what we’re used to from the studio. This is the very first Studio Ghibli film I ever saw in theaters and it was a wonderful experience. I had not seen anything, besides one still image and a poster, or head anything about the film. I didn’t know anything about the plot and went into it completely blind, which left me pleasantly surprised.

Don’t go into this film expecting crazy worlds, ridiculous characters, and other things you expect from Studio Ghibli at this point because that’s not what you will get. The Red Turtle is a rather simple film and its beauty lies in its simplicity.


This film has no dialogue and no anime influences, just some gorgeous animation, a ridiculously beautiful score, and a fantastic story; everything you need to keep me captivated for 80 minutes. The animation is beautifully done and design-wise very different from what you would expect from a Ghibli film. It’s simple, but it works in the context of the film. It has a powerful story that clearly has some environmental themes, but even more so is very human and different from a lot of animation nowadays. Because the film has no dialogue the score adds a lot to the overall experience and this film truly has a gorgeous score that adds so much to the film (why was it not nominated for Best Score, Academy?).

If you haven’t seen The Red Turtle yet, seriously, what are you waiting for? It’s a breath of fresh air for Studio Ghibli. It’s a beautifully crafted, special film you simply can’t miss out on. It’s not only very different from what you’d expect from Studio Ghibli, but also very unique when it comes to film and animation in general nowadays, which is always exciting.

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Max

Max is an animation addict from The Netherlands. His favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille, and he is a big fan of everything Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks related. He loves reading and collecting art books and one day he hopes to work for a major animation studio. Follow his art blog: http://maxdenhartog.tumblr.com