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A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D(2012)
Animated sequel following aging turtle Sammy as he is swept away on an adventure to Dubai. When Sammy and his lifelong friend Ray are caught by poachers they find themselves destined to become part of an aquarium display in Dubai. As the duo plan an escape, along with their new acquaintances which include a blob fish, a lobster, an octopus and a group of penguins, their young grandchildren Ricky and Ella go off on an adventure of their own in an effort to save their grandpas.
For more about A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D and the A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray release, see A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on July 18, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Director: Ben Stassen
Starring: Pat Carroll
» See full cast & crew
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray Review
Slow and plodding. The film, not the turtles.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, July 18, 2013
Disney often gets brickbats thrown its way for its straight to video sequels meant to cash in on audience love for whatever first feature spawned these nascent would be "franchises". Anyone who has sat through The Hunchback of Notre Dame II or Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World or any of the countless other "II"'s (and "III"'s and beyond) that Disney has churned out through the years will more than likely agree that seldom if ever do these putative sequels have any of the charm of their originals. They're typically quickie knockoffs with less fulsome animation styles and often much less enjoyable song scores (obviously for the musicals). Oddly, one of the few Disney megahits not to suffer in this regard has been Finding Nemo, a Disney title that had yet to be released on Blu-ray when I reviewed A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures over a year ago. As I mentioned in that review, this Belgian animated piece was obviously cut from the same cloth as Finding Nemo, with some surprisingly nice looking animation but little of Finding Nemo's well constructed story or memorable characters. That old adage states something like "fools rush in where angels fear to tread", and though wags may want to change that slightly to "where fish fear to wade", the result is much the same: the Belgian animation team that foisted A Turtle's Tale off on Nemo deprived audiences has returned with a pretty lackluster sequel, one which, like its progenitor, has been released with an almost hilarious surfeit of different titles. Another adage goes something like "a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet", which in this case might be slightly amended to "a turd by any other name would still smell". Period.
As with the first film, turtle buddies Sammy and Ray are the focal points, though this film seems to forget that the first film posited these guys as pretty aged beings looking back on their long lives and remembering how they met and became friends. While they're still elder members of their turtle society in this outing, they seem to have discovered some magic elixir of relative youth, for they both are getting around with relative ease. Once again those nasty seagulls are on hand trying to make snack food out of new hatchlings (the same way that Sammy set out on his childhood adventures in the first film), but in this case those shenanigans are interrupted by human poachers who make off with Sammy and Ray and a couple of their "grandkids", to unknown purpose.
Sammy and Ray and their little charges find themselves in a fetid tank aboard a trawler, along with an apparently crazy lobster, and things do not look good for them, to say the least. They try to bargain with a seagull who has also been captured to at least get the kids to safety, which then devolves into a long sequence with birds pooping all over the humans in an air raid of sorts. This is about as sophisticated as the humor gets in A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise, so forewarned is forearmed (or foreflippered, as the case may be). However, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, Sammy and Ray and their grand-turtles are eventually deposited in very tony surroundings, a high end aquarium in a resort in Dubai where high rollers come to eat and drink while gazing at creatures who live "under the sea".
The four turtles are then introduced to even more goofy characters who are also "prisoners" in the aquarium, including a tough guy seahorse and his (literally) slimy eel henchmen. There's some decent enough voice characterizations going on here, but the plot is so hackneyed and the dialogue so risible that anyone over the age of five or so is probably going to want to get topside as quickly as possible. Needless to say, a happy ending is in store, for anyone who was ever in doubt. But getting there is a fairly interminable process, especially bad news since the film is not all that long to begin with.
Though this evidently had a theatrical release in several foreign markets (and with several alternate titles), A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise has all the hallmarks of those long derided straight to video offerings from Disney itself. The animation is decidedly lackluster (something notably at odds with the original film, which had at least a little style to help buoy it), the story is completely predictable, and there's an emphasis on manic characters rather than any real humor in an effort to convince the audience that there's more here than merely pretty pink coral reefs. It's a losing argument.
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise is presented on Blu-ray with AVC (2D) and MVC (3D) encoded 1080p transfers in 1.78:1. This follow up has decent sharpness and clarity, but it's a good deal blander than the original film. Character designs, especially with regard to Sammy and Ray, are often featureless. Some of the supporting characters fare better, especially the crazy lobster and gangster seahorse, as well as a weird little blowfish. The baby turtles suffer from being little other than blobs with eyes. As with the original film, there are some bright and bold colors here, but even those are less well exploited than in the first outing. Some of the aquarium settings feature some nice touches, from coral reefs to scary "jail bars".
The 3D presentation here is kind of middling. Some of the more subtle effects are actually the most winning, as in the opening sequence when the older turtles are trying to get the hatchlings to the ocean. One of the grandmothers is covered in lotus flower petals, and as she moves, some of those fly up in the air and waft toward the viewer rather convincingly. Since so much of this film ultimately takes place underwater, there simply isn't that much opportunity to really exploit depth of field. What the means is dimensionality is therefore established with foreground objects like seaweed or even flippers of the turtles which poke out into the foreground.
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise features lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixes in both English and Spanish (I personally have a feeling that at least some of the crew, while ostensibly Belgian, tended to match the lip movements of the characters more toward Spanish than English, as toggling between the two languages shows that the Spanish language track matches the animation much more completely). Both of these tracks offer a fair amount of immersion (no pun intended), with good surround activity that's especially fulsome in the film's ubiquitous use of source cues (as with the first film, the production must have spent some considerable dough on licensing a number of well known hits by artists like Jimi Hendrix). The film's cover touts the music of Darius Rucker, and while I'm the last to denigrate the erstwhile Hootie, his onetime aggregation The Blowfish may be about the only reason his music was ported over to this release. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is rather wide.
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
No supplements are offered on this Blu-ray disc.
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise will probably delight (or at least slightly amuse) kids under the age of five or so, but even older kids are going to be bored silly after a while by a well meaning but ultimately pointless follow up that has a too predictable storyline and less of the beautiful animation that recommended the first film. When the first film came out, we didn't yet have Finding Nemo on Blu-ray, and so A Turtle's Tale was at least a generally affable time killer if ultimately no great shakes. That "excuse" is no longer relevant. Stick with Disney if you want adventures of lost undersea creatures.
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A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise Blu-ray - May 30, 2013
Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment has announced the 3D/2D Blu-ray release of A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise, the animated sequel to A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventure. Sammy's Escape streets on July 9th via a 3D/BD/DVD Combo Pack.
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